In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the ways we lose our dream and aspirations in life and reveal to you how to get back your dreams, aspirations and inspiration.
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Now, let’s talk about losing your dream and how to get it back.
Recently, two similar cases with clients revealed that it is easy to lose your dream – your goals, aspirations and desires.
Peter, a business man, last year, left his job of six years and then stayed only a short while at the next job because he realized it was not a fit for him. Some months had passed and now Peter told me that he had lost his self-confidence, felt lost, confused and doubtful of his talents and whether or not he even wanted to do the same job again.
Jenny had been ill for many years and was now back and healthy and strong. But the bills for doctors and hospital coverage had been exorbitant and her husband was forced to work for long hours six and seven days a week with almost no time off for vacation. Jenny told me she was feeling lost, confused and generally down with no motivation or excitement for life.
Peter and Jenny shared common challenges.
We all start out with a dream or many dreams – something we want to do, be or have. It might be a longing to be an artist or a performer, to travel, to have a family and raise children, to live in a particular place or country, to live a certain lifestyle, to start a company or create a product, to succeed in a particular field, and so forth.
Along the way, though, come the obstacles and challenges to our dream: stress, life changes, responsibilities, failures, illness, etc. Sometimes, we also find ourselves switching our priorities – even unconsciously – and we are left doubting ourselves, with a feeling that something is amiss because we are not longing for what was our original dream or passion. (For example, one actress told me she was tired of the auditioning and traveling and now wanted security and a family but felt guilty that maybe she was giving up her passion.)
Peter told me that he went to a career counselor who gave him personality tests to complete and said the tests accurately described him but he said he didn’t fit the types of careers the tests suggested for his personality type.
I reassured Peter that there was nothing wrong with him and his confusion, self-doubt and lack of self-confidence simply stemmed from not being clear about what he wanted and, from not realizing that he was simply stuck in a habit – in a new program.
The same principle applied to Jenny who told me she wanted to spend more time with her husband but couldn’t imagine how that could happen since he needed to work every day to cover bills. Jenny also complained that staying positive didn’t help and affirmations were useless for her – they hadn’t worked.
For both Peter and Jenny the answer was the same – it was the new habit – the mental program that led them to new beliefs that everything was hopeless, and in turn, that feeling of hopelessness was taking over their lives and preventing them from finding a solution.
It is critical to recognize that everything we do every day either reinforces or leads to and develops a new belief and a new dominant emotion. In turn, that emotion either energizes our dreams and aspirations or it kills them. Both Peter and Jenny could not now imagine anything other than what they were presently experiencing. In other words, they couldn’t see and feel their dream anymore.
I told Peter about the Walt Disney company which established a design and development division in the 1950s to create and construct its theme parks worldwide – it’s now known as Imagineering (or WDI.) The intention is to combine the skills of imagination and engineering to create something truly special. There is a joke within that division:
“How many Imagineers does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is: Does it have to be a light bulb?”
Thus, these Imagineers place no limit, flowing with a wide-open mind. What also makes Imagineers different from other theme park designers is the story. For example, haunted houses are common at Halloween but Disney’s “The Haunted Mansion” is unique because it is much more than just a series of scares around each corner; it’s the story of being on a tour of the haunted place, with 999 ghosts, and then room for one more.
The lesson for us from these Imagineers is to combine imagination and engineering to create a story – a story for your life – for what you now want to create.
Peter and Jenny had become stuck in their new belief that nothing would change – that everything was hopeless. Thus all they could see and feel was more of the same; more of what they were already experiencing. They had lost their dream.
This is not unusual as everything counts in large amounts. The daily events and our responses to them along with our daily action and habits combine to form a new habit, a new emotion and a new belief. One day we awaken to find that we cannot imagine anything else because we have become so accustomed to the same pattern of events and all we can envisage is the same bleak picture.
The solution is action: practical steps to change your situation and a plan to ‘imagineer’ the desired goal.
I also pointed out to Peter that we all have more than one passion and it is also okay for our priorities, goals and dreams to evolve. Janet and Chris Attwood who teach the passion test believe we have about 5 top passions. Have you written out yours?
For Peter and Jenny there were practical actionable steps, plus one important key.
Intuitively, I suggested to Peter that he also consider becoming a consultant – and he replied that he had thought about it but had held back acting on it out of fear and doubt. Now though, Peter had an opportunity to take his dream in a new direction; he had a plan and a strategy.
For Jenny, action was also critical, evaluating ways that might create more time for her and her husband – a job for her and reducing overhead as much as possible.
The key to reviving your dreams and aspirations is to first become aware that you have become stuck, feeling hopeless, helpless, frustrated, doubtful and so forth; those emotions prevent you from taking action to make your dream a reality.
To change those dominant emotions, you need to deliberately visualize what you want and emotionalize that visualization. (And it is okay if you decide to evolve from old goals and dreams to new ones.)
This is the key to motivation and inspiration; our subconscious mind works in pictures, symbols and imagery. When we find it hard to get started, it is not simply because we do not feel like it; it is because of the pictures we see in our mind. If you want to get motivated to do something visualize the positive end result – the benefits and feel them. This can be a simple daily exercise of just a few minutes a couple of times a day – preferably in the morning and at night. The more you see and feel what you want to create the faster you transform those old negative feelings and the sooner you take meaningful action to bring to life your dream, to create a new reality and a new story.
You too can become like Disney’s Imagineers – Imagining by visualizing with emotion, and engineering by taking action!
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist