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What dreams are hiding in your heart of hearts? Practical tips for the what to do about them! #124

I was talking to a client this past week and she let it slip that her dream job would be to be a full-time fiction writer. She works as a nurse in a very stressful clinic and currently writes in her journal. This reminded me of Sue Monk Kidd, the author who wrote The Secret Life of Bees. She was also a nurse before she followed her call to write (as chronicled in her fantastic book, When the Heart Waits). I asked my client if she'd told anyone she wanted to be a writer besides me.

Client: No, not really. I mean, I'm not very good.

Me: How do you know?

Client: I write, but only for fun. I guess it's not like I'm a real writer

Okay, let me pause and say that not all hobbies need to turn into careers. For some, the pressure of making a living doing what they love would take away the joy, for others, the idea of spending all day doing what they love would be a dream come true.

For my client, I asked her to write it down. You've heard the expression, "throw it out to the Universe" or, as my mom would say, "Ask God".

However you see it, there's power in writing something down and speaking it. You're claiming it. Owning it. Paulo Coehlo says in the Alchemist, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

I thought about starting a podcast for two years before I verbalized it. I told two friends about my dream. Once I spoke it, things started happening. There was a podcast I devoured and she happened to do an episode on how to start your own podcast. I decided it wouldn't hurt to peek at the equipment mentioned on Amazon. Another thing was that I'd signed up for a course unrelated to podcasting and got serendipitously placed in a group with 4 other women from other parts of the country and two of them had started a podcast in the last year.

My wanna-be writer client immediately started talking about there was no way she could quit her job and become a writer. I assured her I didn't think quitting her job was the answer to magically becoming a best-selling author. But, by speaking it out loud, she'd set something in motion. Writing down your dreams is even more powerful than speaking them. I also encouraged her to write it. There's a lot of power in writing something down.

Jim Carey, an unknown actor in 1985, had a dream of walking down the street and being recognized as a movie actor. He not only spoke his dream, he wrote himself a check for 10 million dollars and added "for acting services rendered". He kept the check folded in his wallet. Ten years later he received a check for his first big movie deal Dumb and Dumber. By writing himself that check, he was telling his subconscious that he believed it was possible. And if you believe something is possible, don't you think this changes your thoughts about whatever it is you're doing? And we know by changing your thoughts, you change your actions. Actions are what make up our lives!

  1. What do you really want? If you had unlimited resources and didn't care what anyone thought, what would you do?

  2. Why don't you think you deserve it? I see this a lot with clients and with myself. We have dreams, we don't mind speaking them, but we don't think we deserve to "have it all". Why should I get to do x, y, and z? Who do I think I am to become a _______ or try _____ ." I recommend doing a little work around it being safe to dream, safe to allow yourself to explore whatever it is. My daughter said she wanted to be president. If I had said, "Now Ollie, you can barely do your multiplication flash cards, who do you think you are wanting to become president?" she wouldn't have felt safe in sharing (or believing in) her dream.

  3. Remember, the how and why aren't up to you. It's your job to come up with the "what" and God's business to facilitate the How. You still have to put forth the effort, but getting too bogged down in HOW your dream will come to be is a guaranteed way to squash it.

  4. If you did know the next step, what would it be? We say, "I don't know" but deep down we DO know.

  5. Know that seeds were planted in you a long time ago, they're there for a reason, don't ignore the pulls and nudges. Here's another quote from Paulo Coelho in the Alchemist: … whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth."

  6. Remember YOU'RE the one driving the bus. You get to decide. How cool is that?! We give our power away by not taking action. Not taking action is the same as deciding. If my client doesn't write, she's ultimately telling the Universe "I know I have this deep desire to write, but no thank you, I pass"

  7. Our dreams are like gardens, they'll grow if we water and fertilize them. They're not going to accidentally happen. Americans have a habit of speaking as if life just suddenly happens. Have you ever heard someone say they suddenly realized they had an addiction to alcohol, or they found themselves suddenly in the middle of a divorce. You're the one driving the bus. Where do you want it to go? Don't be asleep behind the wheel. A perfect example of dream nourishing is from author Elizabeth Gilbert. She's said in interviews that she dates her creativity. She dresses up for it. She takes a shower for it. She shows up, and she seduces it. Sometimes she'll even put on lipstick to write. After I read this, I started making it a point to dress nicely when I write. I don't sit in a bean bag chair like I used to, I make a nice cup of something, I light a candle sometimes, I brush my teeth. I treat my writing like a real job.

  8. What are your excuses? Are you playing the blame game? For me, I blamed my southern accent on not starting a podcast. I blamed my imperfect grammar on not submitting my writing for publication. Then I realized these were excuses. Two big groups I see get blamed for clients not going after what they really want are their families (kids, spouse) and their bosses.

  9. Our dreams have expiration dates if we don't act on them, another favorite Liz-ism from Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic. Don't wait for one day. Liz had an idea for a book set in the amazon jungle. She kept imaging the characters and plot, but didn't write the book. Then, as she tells it, the idea, like a long-ignored lover, appeared in the brain of another famous writer, Ann Patchett. Ann wrote a book set in the Amazon jungle and it was eerily similar to the ideas Liz had imagined.

  10. Ask yourself what benefit you're getting by not taking action? In the case of my client, the benefit was she never has to hear if she's a bad writer if she doesn't put herself out there. Plus, she can stay in her comfort zone and play it safe financially by staying in her job. she seemed pretty pleased with her decision until we got to the final question

  11. The biggest question of all: What's it costing you not to take action? "I'll always wonder" my client said softly, "maybe I'll lose my chance. Maybe I'll regret it." Or, maybe she'll never get to share her awesome stories with others who would love to read them.

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