Dig Below Your Dreams to Discover Your Vision
Your vision arises from your hopes and dreams. If you’re not clear about what you really want, you are likely to set goals that will not be truly satisfying once accomplished.
Look below the surface to find the roots of your dreams. You might find that what you thought you wanted is actually a symbol of what you truly desire.
Chris said he dreamed of owning a Porsche. Being a “high potential” in the company, he was well on his way to achieving his goal.
In response to questions like “If you had that, then what would you have?” and “Why do you really want that?” Chris responded,
“We didn’t have much money when I was growing up. My dad left when I was really young, and my grandparents helped raise us kids. We didn’t have a lot of things, but there was a lot of love, and they really wanted the best for us kids. My whole life I heard how important getting an education was so I would be able to get a good job. They scrimped to save money to help us with college. If I can afford a Porsche, it will be proof I’m doing well and that everything they did was worth the effort.”
The “light bulb” moment. A few minutes later Chris said, “It just hit me that I don’t really care that much about cars. My grandfather is a mechanic. He’s the one who cares.”
Upon reflection, Chris realized that a better way to demonstrate to his family that their efforts had paid off was through who he was and how he lived his life, not by what he owned. He also became clear that he did want to make money – but not to buy a car. He wanted to be financially successful so as his grandparents aged, he would be able to help them if they needed it.
What do your dreams signify?
The more clear you are about what your dreams signify, the more easily you will recognize opportunities when they arise. When you are able to clearly describe your dreams, others will think of you when they see opportunities. Even if people want to help you, they can’t if you are vague about what you want.
It’s easier to access our dreams when we are younger.
When he was little, my son loved trucks. Our home was filled with toys and books of fire trucks, construction trucks, and moving trucks. At the age of five he became enchanted with the local garbage truck. Each week he would ask me to take him down to the curb so he could watch up close. While the truck slowly drove by, a man standing on the back would jump off, grab our trash, dump it into the back of the truck and then hop back on the truck. We would say hello as they rolled by.
One day my son told the man that he wanted to be a trash collector when he grew up. The man’s response was, “Stay in school, kid.” Fortunately his dreams were not dashed. At the age of 24, he is in graduate school. But he is also certified as a volunteer fire fighter, spending 50 hours a month at the station where he frequently rides on the fire trucks.
As we grow older our dreams often get squashed, and we must re-discover them.
To create a vision, you must first connect with what you care most deeply about. Suspend your internal judge and critic. Dig below the surface and see what arises. This is the stuff vision is made of.
Don’t limit your yourself by what you think is possible. A vision can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. If you have any doubts about this, consider the story of Terry Fox.
Be proactive, not reactive. Create a vision for what you truly desire, not what you want to move away from. Focus on where you want to go, not what you want to leave behind.