"Don't die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul." ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Perhaps in the course of raising your children or earning a living, your own dreams have gotten lost in the shuffle. You're not alone if you've been diverted from the path toward pursuing your dreams or even figuring out what you want to be when you grow up. It's easy to get drawn into "life-as-usual." But, this may actually be the ideal time to figure out what your bliss will be for the next chapter of your life and to follow it.
A commonly held perception is that dreaming and following our dreams are for the young. However, logic points to the contrary. After we've had life experience, raised our family, or worked in the career of our calling when we were younger, we often have a much better idea about what we would now find fulfilling and what gifts we have to offer -- or at least a gut feeling that there's something more.
Why We Need to Follow Our Dreams
In his book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks refers to the time when we are in the flow of following our true calling, as being in our "Zone of Genius." When we're in our Zone of Genius, writes Hendricks, we feel excited, fulfilled, and that our life has meaning. For many of us, we have tuned out our call to this Zone of Genius by age 40, but we end up "getting loud, repeated alarms when we do this, in the form of depression, illness, injuries, and relationship conflict," says Hendricks.
"When we start to live our own story, that's when we really come alive, that's when we really start living," stated Kathy Sparrow, Founder of Writing at Your Edge, when she appeared on my radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years . "Embracing Your Edge is being willing to step outside of your comfort zone or that familiarity zone, that place where we just kind of settle with 'Well, this is as good as it gets,' even though our hearts are yearning for more."
Once we start to "lean into it," as Kathy puts it, then we begin to really live and to feel excited about life. "The edge is that place where we become bigger than who we have been and where we can embrace life in a bigger way. If we can just lean into it, take one little step at a time, and embrace it, it can become quite an adventure." The journey, with all its twists, turns, surprises, achievements, lessons, growth, and what we do to improve life for those around us is really what makes it all worthwhile.
How To Find Out What Our Dream Is
Sparrow suggests, "I often write down what I want to do, what makes me happy, and then I look at my life and ask, 'Ok. Am I doing that?' If not, then I take action. That's where a lot of people stop. We often have to be brave enough to take those risks and say, 'This is what I need right now.'"
To discover what we want or what makes us happy, we need to take some time to enjoy exploring new things. Be "curious," as Jihan Barakah, Founder of Global Quantum Shift, recommended on the radio show. Read books, take some classes, speak to people who are involved in various pursuits, or volunteer to help people in different ways. By jumping in and getting involved, we can find new meaning and purpose to our life and our "dream" may be revealed.
Make It A Priority
One of the biggest challenges on this path is what Gay Hendricks refers to as getting stuck in the Zone of Excellence. "In the Zone of Excellence are the activities you do extremely well ... For successful people, this zone is a seductive and even dangerous trap ... The temptation is strong to remain in the Zone of Excellence; it's where your own addiction to comfort wants to stay. It's also where your family, friends, and organization want you to stay. You're reliable there, and you provide a steady supply of all things that family, friends, and organizations thrive on."
Kathy Sparrow spoke about this. "It's important for each of us to recognize that we all have a right to live our own lives based on what we believe is true for us. I spent a good bit of my life running around, trying to make everyone happy. And when we do that, we're people-pleasing, and don't take into account our own needs. That creates an imbalance and we experience disharmony with everybody with whom we relate. We need to take care of ourselves first. Put our own oxygen mask on and then we can help the people around us. We really need to make ourselves a priority and, when we do that, we show up better for everybody." Sparrow shared that her daily mantra is: Allow me to be present for everyone, including myself.
Ebb & Flow
Remember that there will be obstacles along the path, and we need not be discouraged. Sometimes, an obstacle is a sign that we need to step back and be patient. The nature of life is that it always ebbs and flows. The time of ebb can be the time to rest and re-energize.
Set Your Intention
Barakah suggests that having clear intentions throughout each and every day is essential to remain optimistic and to reach our full potential. Keep in mind that every day is an opportunity to begin anew on our path toward fulfilling our dreams.
"Liberating and expressing your natural genius is your ultimate path to success and life satisfaction," writes Gay Hendricks.
Let's follow our dreams and create more magic in our own lives and in the world!