Posts In: dream

Don’t “Just Do It”

January 18, 2020

I’m guessing you’ve heard of the “Just do it” slogan. Who hasn’t? Sure seems to work well for Nike. After all they’ve been using it since 1988.

But I don’t think it works well as an approach to change. In fact, I think it’s one of the common mistakes we make when facing a transition.

I’m not saying you don’t need to take action to live your purpose. You do. But we’re told as we plan and dream for the future that moving into action is key. I hear people say things like “massive action,” “fast action,” or we need to “jump into action.” More and quicker activity seems to be the focus.

To everything there is a season

But there’s a time for rest, for a pause. To regroup.

Look at nature. I don’t stand on my deck in the rain yelling at the deciduous trees in my woods to get their leaves on.  Those oaks and maples are in resting phase right now.

Sometimes you need a resting phase too.

Sometimes “just doing it” is inappropriate for where you are in your process.  Jumping into action, especially random action, often causes more harm than good.

If you’ve been putting off working on your dreams because you’re afraid or you don’t know where to start you may think I just gave you permission to rest, to do nothing. Not so.

Discernment

Can you see how useful it would be to know when you should move into action and when you should pause? Is that a skill you’ve honed?

Can you also feel how important it is to know how to spend that precious pause? You might think it’s solely for Netflix binging, but it’s not.

Your thoughts?

Dreaming as Self-care

June 13, 2016

During my final months of college I read What Color’s Your  Parachute?  In case you’re not familiar with this classic it’s a subtitled “A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers.”

That book changed my life. It gave me permission to find work that fit my values, my interests, and my skills. Up until then I knew I wanted to be a social worker and help others. I knew I liked working with kids, but beyond that I didn’t have many specifics.

Wishlist

When I finished the book I had a long wishlist for my dream job. Here’s part of my list:

  • Time in nature, including hiking
  • Opportunity to do crafts
  • Able to dress casually
  • Not a 9-5 job
  • Working with kids
  • Non-traditional program
  • Opportunity to grow
  • Chance to travel
  • Vacation time
  • Place where my skills of teaching and counseling would be helpful

Let Your Dream Find You

Now with the list I had clarity Unfortunately I didn’t have any job prospects or any ideas of how to find my dream job. But clarity, focus on what I wanted, and trust paid off. (And maybe a healthy dose of 20-something naivety didn’t hurt.) Through a series of serendipities my dream job found me.

I had worked at a summer Girl Scout residence camp between my junior and senior years of college. I loved working with the kids and planned on returning for one more summer after graduation. M

 

y parents, who had been supporting me during college, strongly suggested I get on with a “real job” hunt instead. I agr

 

eed.

 

 

One morning in the late spring I woke up from a dream that told me I needed to work at camp again. I don’t have any memory of the dream, but I remember that I “knew” I must return to that summer job. I called the camp director to tell her I had decided to work at camp. I knew I had missed the deadline for signing my contract. Would a position still be available? Turns out she thought I HAD decided to work at camp and already

 

had me on her list. Yeah!

That summer, in between s’mores, hiking, and swimming, I sent off resumes for all the job listings my mom sent me. I scoured the want ads in alternative magazines like Mother Earth News and applied for jobs that sounded like they might match my wishlist. But with only a few weeks of summer left I hadn’t lined up any job interviews.

One day the camp director invited me to ride with her to the Girl Scout council office about 30-minutes away. They had offered her a temporary job as director with a day camp for a new program. She wasn’t interested, but thought I should apply. So I put on my cleanest jeans and headed to Bloomington with her.

That position had been filled, but they hired me on the spot as a counselor for a three-week stint with the day camp for that new program. I was glad to have a job, even if it was temporary and I didn’t know where I’d stay.

After returning to the resident camp I told my friend and tent mate, Thumper (we all had camp names) and she invited me to housesit for her and her boyfriend Jim as they headed out of town. They’d be gone a week, but I could stay for the three weeks.

That temporary position led to a full-time position as a youthworker/trainer with that new program. It was the start of my coaching and truly my dream job. It ticked every box on my wishlist and then some.

How Do You Dream?

Some of my clients automatically bypass the dreaming phase. You might relate if you’ve ever gotten in trouble for daydreaming. Or if you’ve taken a risk going after your dreams only to be disappointed. Who wants to risk that again?

Maybe you’re a detail person who hasn’t learned how to go big with your vision. (Hint: your vision is made of details.) Or you’re afraid of getting caught in airy, fairy, fantasyland, never taking action toward your dream.

Like some of my clients you might be choosing the known, afraid to admit what you REALLY want. Or maybe you’re not even sure what you want.

Allowing yourself to dream does have risk. You could get your hopes up and be disappointed. But by going for what is safe and known, you risk not living your dream.

Dream-mode

Staying in “dream-mode” all the time won’t get you a free ride. When you step onto the path of your dreams it’s helpful to pack some reality to help you make plans, to help you take action. I had to go to the interview when it was offered. I had to take a temporary job that felt right. There’s a time and place for both dream and “reality.” If you’ve been all action or living someone else’s dream then you’re overdo for some “dream time.” Here are a few ideas to get you going.

How to dream

  1. Pretend you’re a kid. Remember lying on your back under the clouds? Let your mind wander as you make up an “imaginary” tale about your life. What would super hero, super-model, or super-confident you do? What would you ask the genie in the bottle for? Which vision gets you excited? Which one seems to have a life of its own?
  2. Notice bits of other people’s lives that you’d love to copy. And yes, copying is allowed. Do you envy a friend who travels to exotic locations? Or melt when you see the woman down the street with her 3 kids? Are you in awe of your friend who’s set up her business so she only works 3 days a week?
    Do find yourself wondering how a friend published a book or landed a new job? Remember you don’t have to take their whole picture into your vision. The woman who travels might seem exhausted. You can incorporate the travel and leave the exhaustion out.
  3. Make your vision more tangible and present by recording it. Depending on your tastes and talents you might want to keep notes in a journal, paint a picture, or collage a dream board. Having a touchstone helps keep that dream alive as you take action.
  4. Hire a coach. I’m personally a fan of this one. : ) Hiring a coach provides wings to this process. A coach will hear things in what you say that you might not pick up on. A coach can lead you through the process guiding you when you get stuck and then helping you take that dream into action. Sometimes the other people in your life, like your partner or kids, have a vested interest in you staying the same. A coach can be a cheerleader for exploring change in your life when those around you feel unsure about that change.

When I hear someone say I’ve always wanted to… my ears perk up. If you think there might be a “dream” in you then you take the time to explore it. I believe that acknowledging and going for your dreams IS an overlooked and important piece of self-care. That’s gold on the path to a big life of joy.

Share a bit of your dream here.

For some time I’ve wanted to make a contribution to my community on Christmas day. I found offerings that happen around the holiday, but not on the 25th.

So I gave up.

One Woman

But this year my friend Kristel posted on Facebook that she was going to distribute stuff to the homeless on Christmas day. All by herself. She had the impulse and she was acting on it. A quick post to her page and I was in!

Kristel had decided to make something happen and that something quickly became bigger than just her. Even as we cleaned out our coat closets and shopped for food and personal items others offered to help.

Five of us put together 30 kits and organized bags of donated sweaters, coats, and personal care items. Lifesource the local health food store, gave me a gift card so I could get appropriate food. My friend Katherine bought food, sterno, and personal care items. Other friends of Kristel’s jumped on board. Her co-workers contributed.

 Project Burrito

I also learned of Kathy and her Project Burrito. She and her group of volunteers cook breakfast burritos and distribute clothes, hand warmers, and other needed items to the homeless on Christmas morning. Kristel’s posse, now seven people, joined up with about 15 other volunteers at 8 in the morning under the Marion Street bridge, a place near the local men’s mission and a park frequented by the homeless.

Since most of the volunteers stood behind the tables laden with donations helping to keep the tables neat, replenishing the items, or serving coffee or burritos I decided to mingle among the homeless.

After saying Merry Christmas I’d ask them if there was anything in particular that they were looking for and then help them find it. One man I spoke with was elated to find a belt. Another wanted candles (he was happy with the sterno) for heat and light. My partner saw a man setting on a bench in the adjacent park, a big smile on his face, putting on his pair of new socks. A gentleman with twinkly blue eyes simply smiled and said, “This IS Christmas.”

My Takeaway

I help people live their purpose. Sometimes that means getting clearer about what their purpose is. Sometimes it means helping people figure out how to take action, to get rid of what’s blocking them. And other times it’s about finding a way to take care of themselves in a way that supports their purpose rather than sabotages it.

For me the message in this experience was that one person, like my friend Kristel or Kathy the burrito lady, can make a huge difference by acting on their desire to help.

I’m taking that realization into the New Year as I plot my course for the coming year.

If you’re like a lot of people you’re at least thinking about how you want 2015 to be different. You might be putting together intentions or a plan for the coming year.

Your Dream?

I invite you to include something that you feel inspired to do as you look ahead. Maybe your idea has seemed too big. Maybe you hit a roadblock when you started. And maybe you worry about what others will think. I encourage you to move past the things that get in your way.

 

  1. First name and claim it. Share your idea with one of your cheerleaders. You can share it here. Wouldn’t that be a great, bold step? I’ll cheer you on.

 

  1. Next decide on a baby step. One little step. Commit to it here and you’ll be that much closer to your dream.

 

Kathy told me that the Christmas morning group served 75 burritos, 120 cups of coffee, and gave away 20-25 gift bags and backpacks with personal items, food, and/or clothing. One man told me there was nothing he needed. He was happy simply to have wandered into the event and been part of it.

So what about your idea? What can you accomplish?

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