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Are you ever without a dream?

Hey, Tami, I was wondering... have you ever been out of a dream? like, have you ever had a period of complete non-ambition or lack of dreams? awhile back you wrote about your talk with your dad and how he encouraged you to keep doing what you love... but have you ever not known what that is? and what happened then?

Dear you...
First of all, I just want to say that I LOVE your honesty. Thanks for being open and asking these questions...both of you and myself. :)

I think you could get as many different answers as you do the people you'd ask. But since you asked me, I'm going to give you my take!

If I answer your question the way I think we define "dreams" then yes, I've been without a dream probably more than I've been with one. However, if I answer your question in the new way I define dreams, then no, I can't say that I've been without one. And this is what I mean...

I think it's very important to make a distinction between your "goals" and your "dreams". Goals are just indicators, motivators, and markers that you are working towards your dreams. Sometimes those goals are accurate measurements...sometimes they're not.

What I mean by that is this...let's say your dream was to be an actress and win an Oscar someday. Don't laugh! ;)...I may or may not have written an acceptance speech or two in the shower. However, I would argue that winning an Oscar isn't a dream, but a goal. Because dreams = happiness in our minds, it's important to distinguish the two.  

If we were out to coffee and you told me this was your dream, I'd ask you a follow up question: How would you hope to feel by winning the Oscar? Why would winning the Oscar be significant to you? I'd imagine you answering by saying something like, "I'd feel accomplished. I'd feel respected by my collegues. Winning an Oscar would give me security as an actress. It would give me freedom to choose the roles I'd really want to take. I would make the income I want.

So then I would contend that your dreams are actually to feel validated, that you are proud of the work you do, that you have the freedom of options, that you can feel financially secure. Those are your dreams. Winning an Oscar could just be an indicator that you have worked towards those dreams.

That's one reason why I love the story of A Christmas Carol...because I imagine Ebeneezar Scrooge accomplished every goal he set his mind to...but lost every dream.

If you can make the distinction between goals and dreams, you can attain your dreams quicker than you think. It also makes you more grateful because you see you have so much more than you believed. Goals are amazing motivators...and I have goals for sure. They're crucial...but if you call them dreams, then I fear you'll be standing there holding your metaphorical Oscar and asking yourself why you don't feel all the things you hoped the statue of recognition would bring.

I say, chase your real dreams...and let your goals be your guides and motivators.

I get this question in relationships...my dream is to love and be loved. To feel valued...that I'm enough. Marriage or a relationship could be a goal...but that goal may be inaccurate indicator of my dream...and it is. The truth is, I have friends, family, and a whole host of people in my life who fulfill my dream of being loved. That's why, when I have friends who are married with little kids, and they're falling apart inside because they thought their "dream" would bring them happiness...I just say, don't panic. Just reallign your dreams from your goals...and focus on your dreams.

Does this make sense? I think that's why the lesson of finding contentment and joy wherever you are in life is so vital...I think maybe even ol' Paul said something about that. :)

So, if I were you, I'd ask myself, "How do I want to feel in a year? In 5 years? What words do I want to be used to describe myself at that stage?" Then set your goals in-line with the words you write. As for finding a passion that may help you reach your dreams...be open, flexible, and be willing to try new things...and fail...hard...in public, if needed. Sometimes you chase passion...sometimes passion finds you. In any case, I wouldn't put too much pressure on yourself to find it quickly...I'd put pressure on yourself to keep in pursuit of finding it.  

Even our passions often feel like work...it's not always going to feel like pleasure and playing...it's often difficult. But does it feel worth it? Is there something in it that excites you? That you lose track of time in a good way?

If you find yourself without ambition...I think another word for that could be feeling a little depressed. You don't have to be clinically depressed to feel sad...and yes, I've been there. I actually didn't realize I was sad until I wasn't anymore, and could look back and see that I was. A good way to pull yourself out of that would be to focus on others...to start serving. It could be as little as writing someone a note, buying a stranger coffee...or really investing in someone. I find that service often leads to passion.

Just know that I believe your dream is so much closer than you think...and it's not "if" you can have it...it's will I do the hard work and what it takes to get it. Whatever you do, please don't pay for your goals with your dreams.

If you're still reading this, I'm impressed...and I think you're really an inspiration, just for asking these questions!


I'm riding a train and this is my view...letting myself feel the moments...that's one dream of mine. So, one dream accomplished for today...many more to come. :)


Daniel & Kasey said...

Great thoughts Tam!

Kelly Knecht said...

I love this! :) That's on of my favorites from Paul. Also, I died laughing at the acceptance speeches you may have written in the shower. Such a great place for things like that. hah!

Rebekah said...

well said Tam

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