Henry David Thoreau once said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” But what if you don’t know what your dreams are and can’t imagine it?
When we were children, dreaming was the one thing that we didn’t need to learn how to do—we were born knowing how to dream. We dreamed of being astronauts or princesses, pop stars or movie stars. We dreamed of traveling the world, seeing exotic locations and big cities. And then along the way, we started to learn. We learned the “3 Rs”: realistic, reasonable and responsible. And our dreams started to fade, replaced by the burdens of what we should do, limited by beliefs of what is possible.
Our ability to dream is still in us, and here are some simple steps to help tap into it:
1. Challenge what you’ve learned. Throughout history, things that have been taught have also been disproven. We once thought that the earth was flat and that the sun was the center of the universe. We now know this is not true.
2. Find evidence to support that your dreams are possible. John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong—all astronauts. Grace Kelly, Kate Middleton, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence—princesses, pop stars and movie stars. Oprah, JK Rowling—“against all odds” personalities who went from poverty to billionaire status.
3. Embrace failure. When Thomas Edison was young, his teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He ended up being home schooled and had over 1,000 patents to his name in his lifetime. His most famous quote was: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
4. Stop trying to figure out the “how.” Strategy and action steps are important but not before dreaming. If your dreaming muscle has atrophied, build it up first. A strong vision will not only help you keep focus but will also support you in coming up with creative strategies to power through inevitable challenges.
Beth is a former corporate executive turned freedom-loving entrepreneur. She is a certified Law of Attraction Success Coach and co-owner of Savor Spa Woodstock, seen here in the “Dream” treatment room. PHOTO BY DION OGUST