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Monday, 13 November 2017

Living The Dream, The How To

So hands up if you've ever done something you didn't want to do... I'm not talking about eating spinach, or worse. I mean have you ever worked a job that made you miserable? Have you ever gone home thinking "There's got to be more to life!".

I don't have the technology to see if all 12 readers raised their hands, but I suspect few could honestly say they have thoroughly enjoyed every job they have ever done. It is a fact of life, that no matter what you do, it is never always perfect. Some find careers that are rich and meaningful, and help make the world a better place, and I'm sure they are satisfied. I suspect that even those lucky souls have dreams? What about those who finish high school and have no idea what they want to be. Before they know it they have a 'good job' down at the local factory, or steel mill. In the blink of an eye they've turned 40, raised kids, and are left wondering now what?

Myself, I was a sales manager, making my way in a lucrative career, and doing pretty good. I held the title of Sales Manager, Canada, and Eastern US. I enjoyed significant success and kept getting rewarded with more challenge, more responsibility. Before I knew it, I was spending more time at airports, and less time with my teenage kids, and new wife. I started to reflect on what I call 'my moment of motivation' which I've used to inspire me throughout my life.

'My moment of motivation' was actually more than a moment. It was a time in my life, between high school and college, a break year, when I had landed a 'good job' as a labourer at a local auto parts manufacturer. I was instantly making really good money for a 19 year old of the time, and everyone thought I would settle into that life. Only, I was less than inspired by the grind of factory life. The heat, sweat, getting burnt consistently by welding splash. With each burn I would smile and say "I'm going back to college". It was 'my moment of motivation'. It has inspired me, throughout my life, to seek out what I desire, and pursue it. During all the hours I spent at airports, away from family, I would reflect on my moment of motivation, with a goal to getting to where I wanted to be. I wanted to see the world from more than a plane window, or hotel room... and I wanted to do it with family.

So next question is "what do YOU want from life?". It's not a question you have to answer to me. This, you need to answer to yourself. To your family. If they think you're crazy, it's PROBABLY a good thing. Any dream worth doing is usually considered crazy by some. If it is something that inspires you, makes your skin tingle when you think about it, you're probably onto something. If you think you may have found just the thing to make your life meaningful again, write it down on a piece of paper. Show it to that one person who matters most to you and see what they think. Did the person in the mirror feel the same way? Put the paper in your sock drawer and leave it there for a week, a month, a year, then look at it again. Does it still make your skin tingle? If so, you're almost definitely onto something.

So let's assume you've found it, and defined your dream. You know exactly what you want to do with your life, what is going to bring meaning. If the dream is to become a doctor, you are probably best off signing out of this blog and going to med school. But if you dream to take a break and go sailing, or RV'ing, backpacking, travelling or something similarly adventurous, I think our experience can shed some light on what you can expect. The biggest thing, FEAR!

Once you commit that you are going to leave your 'safe life' you will become VERY busy trying to convince yourself that the idea is crazy. Add to that, the fact that the world is full of people who think that the 'safe life' is a pretty good thing. Many of those people are parents, neighbors, co-workers, or bosses! People who care about you. They will work feverishly to convince you that you're about to lose your last marble. Consider how safe their life is, and how happy they are living it. Typically this is where you need to listen to two things; your heart, and your spouse(if applicable). If your heart tells you that your dream is (somewhat) realistic, and very important to you, and your spouse is onboard, tune the rest out. Thank them for their input , and offer that you will encourage them to be the first to say "I told you so" if things don't work out. My experience is that loved ones rarely want to jump on "I told you so".

Personally, I believe that failure only comes in not trying. To try, and not reach the goal, still leaves you closer to the goal. It is important thing is to remember that those who express doubt are people who don't get that 'tingly' feeling when they think about your dream. Also, they are usually people who have never mustered the courage to go outside the safe zone of their lives.

So once you make the decision, and silence the critics, I would love to tell you that it will be smooth sailing from there... but lying is wrong. You will have lingering doubts about things like selling the house, quitting a job, or not seeing your family and friends as often. There are logical responses to every concern that will pop up, but the most important thing to realize is that these emotions are natural. They are like gag reflexes... they happen naturally, as a means of yourself, protecting self from self. Living the safe life is what we are conditioned to do, from a very early age. Typically they doubts will creep up on you in the middle of the night, and wake you in a cold sweat. The thought will scream into your head "what am I doing!?". This is natural, and should be expected. You should address these doubts like a negotiation with yourself. While I encourage you to not do something completely irresponsible, many consider that not living your life is also irresponsible. So listen to the concerns. Write them down if needed. Park that note in a drawer, and go back to sleep, with the promise that you'll review the concerns later, with a clearer head. At that later point, take a long, hard, rational look at each concern that has come up. Consider whether it's a deal breaker. If the concern is selling the house, ask yourself if you should rent it out instead. Ask if you can buy another house if things don't work out? Work through each concern with a goal to establishing how important it is, and how insurmountable it is. Always be honest with yourself, but remember that not ALL of yourself is going to be honest with you. There will always be a part of you that simply wants to stay in the safe zone. Try to envision the 'worst case scenario' and compare it the regret that will come from not having tried. Which is worse?

The more you work through each objection, the more you will become more convinced that the dream is meant to be, and the more it will strengthen your resolve. As you build your plan, your concerns will continue to seem less significant, less frightening. The more you solidify the plan, the more you will gain comfort that things will be alright. So, I can't stree enough, BUILD A SOLID PLAN.

Next week, and beyond, we will share our insights on the following:

1) Make a plan!
2) Make a backup plan
3) Plan an Out and/or 'Whats Next"
4) Set a Specific Target

It is our goal to inspire people to stop existing and start LIVING. So please borrow what you find useful and apply it to your life, to make your dream happen. If you are one of the many who are currently living the dream, or have done so, we welcome your input. We want to share as many stories as possible, to inspire those who are still simply dreaming.

Cheers
Shawn & Leanne

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