Dreams. You have heard it mentioned in so many ways so many times throughout your life. "Follow your dreams!" "He's such a dreamer." "Oh, that was just a pipe-dream." "She's off to chase her dream." "Sure, we all have dreams." Even the famous "I have a dream" speech tells us something about what we think of dreams. But before we get into that too far, let’s think about the first time you heard the word dream. Or, perhaps you have children and you can remember the first time the discussion of dream came up in your household. What was the circumstance? What was the mood? What was the discussion?
If you were like me and my kids the first discussion of “dreams” went like this: It’s in the middle of the night; dark, cold, and extremely quiet. Then, suddenly a child’s cry of “mommy!” pierces that silence and parent is out of their warm bed and kneeling at the child’s bedside in the blink of an eye with the beseeching “what is it honey? What’s wrong?!”
The child then tells some bizarre tale of some crazy situation in which they are in danger in some ridiculous (or very scary) way. Mother’s tense body softens and perhaps even a little smile kinks the edges of her lips as she takes the child in her arms and says, “oh baby... that was only a dream…it is not real.”
She is likely to repeat this many times before her child is calmed, convinced, and can drift off to sleep. This scene may replay many times in the young person’s life until one day we no longer call for mom. We shake it off, get a glass of water and go back to sleep reminding ourselves “it’s only a dream – it is not real”.
Our brains are convinced from a very young age that this thing “dream” is not to be taken seriously. It is not to be concerned about and should basically be thrown out as soon as it’s conceived. Yet by the time we reach young adulthood we are bombarded with the concept of dreams being something we may want to follow, or would be foolish to follow. So what is the truth around following your dreams?
Well, whether or not you would actually enjoy riding a sea turtle through space in a wedding dress eating a cheese pizza or not, let dream go!
Does this shock you that a lifework coach would tell you such a horrendous thing? Fear not. There is a very good reason. Simply this: YOUR CALLING IS NOT A DREAM.
If you fail to follow your dream, no one blames you. If you work at a job you hate while your “dream” sits on the shelf, there are no interventions. It is normal to believe a person is unusual to pursue their dream, perhaps even foolish (even when secretly envied).
Your calling, however, is deep. It is irresistible, sacred, and desperately needed by the world around you. Once calling is understood - everything changes.
What we really mean when we speak of "dreams" in this way is actually aspiration; a hope or ambition of achieving something.
Aspiration stems from inspiration and is the root of motivation.
Motivation is the desire and willingness of someone to do or pursue something. And inspiration, the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, comes from an immeasurable place within each of us. The word "inspiration" itself means “divine guidance” or in short: in-spirit.
This is the cycle of "calling".
You are motivated to pursue something out of an aspiration to accomplish the inspiration that was breathed into you by the very creator himself.
When you reject that aspiration as foolish and "just a dream," we, the world around you, misses out on the best you have to offer us. Just as God created flowers to be particularly attractive to bees so that pollination will guarantee a future crop, your calling is particularly attractive to you so that you are motivated to live inspired.
My friend, your calling is not a dream, but an imperative. This isn't only for your feeling of fulfillment and contribution, but also perfectly fits some need around you.
So please, go where you are called, and go boldly. Pursue your aspirations with confidence!