Got a dream? Not just any old dream; a dream about yourself in the future where you are successfully employed or self-employed? Fantastic. It is likely that the you of your future is different in a number of ways from the present you. So how are you going to achieve that dream?
I’m willing to bet that the you of your future has enhanced skills; some newly acquired skills that put you in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Without the new qualifications or enhanced skill set, it is unlikely that the vision you have for yourself will materialize, otherwise why couldn’t you walk out the door today and into that dream occupation?
By way of illustration, suppose your dream job is to be a Rodeo Clown. They can laugh all they want, but that’s your dream and you are entitled to it. If the extent of your exposure to horses and bulls is seeing them on television, or going on a trail ride once a year, it is unlikely you will be offered a job at the next Wild West show. In this case, you’re going to need more exposure to riding, learn the tricks of the trade, how to protect bull riders when they are rejected by the bull, and of course how to protect yourself. Without this additional learning and experience, you must scale down or drop your dream of being a Rodeo Clown because it’s just never going to happen.
Modifying your dream in the above illustration doesn’t necessarily mean you have to completely remove yourself from the proximity of it however. So instead of resigning yourself to working in a dingy office with your Business and Economics degree, perhaps you could find a way to get employed working for a Wild West company as their Business Manager, Accountant, etc. In other words, among the occupations that have a Rodeo Clown at the centre of a circle, are there jobs you could apply for that would in some way offer fulfillment for you. So you either modify your dream (Rodeo Clown no more, Rodeo Clown’s Business Manager moving forward), or you magnify your skills (Rodeo Clown school sign me up).
The major difficulty for many is they hold on to their original dream but fail to take the training, education, and gain the experience necessary to one day realize their career dream. Looking from the outside in, maybe you and I can see it’s never going to happen unless something changes in the person, but the person fails to see things objectively.
Perhaps the reason for holding on to a dream but doing nothing to bring it about is fear. After all, if you actually went and got required education, you couldn’t use that as an excuse anymore could you? Of if you took the time to try to get the education and failed, you’d have to admit your dream is over, and some people just want to have a dream to hold onto.
By the way, did you scoff at the example of a Rodeo Clown? Why didn’t I make it more believable, common place or realistic you ask? Well too often, a person is truly reluctant to share their dream because they fear ridicule and being dismissed. A person has the right to dream of being and doing whatever they find joy and happiness in. Just because that occupation may seem remote to you, or unattainable, I think it serves us well to give a person a chance to talk about what would really make them happiest. When they do, you might see passion, excitement and energy that has been lacking as they talked about jobs and occupations that were what they thought you wanted to hear from them but that they have little interest in. If you are in a position to help them succeed, or help them do the necessary research they need to get going, that’s the help you should provide.
The encouragement you offer another may be to listen, to ask questions, find out why that is appealing, how long that dream has been had, and challenge them to do a few things to find out more about making that dream a few steps closer. If in the research, the person realizes that the dream is actually unrealistic, such as in the case of needing 7 years of school to become a Dentist, that may help them move forward in another direction. On the other hand, if your words help them realize that their dream job is within their ability to make come true, you may have been the one person in their life that actually helped move them along. One day, they might retire from being a Rodeo Clown and at their retirement dinner, speak your name as the one person who encouraged them and helped make their dream come true.