Dr Peggy Marshall

Living Into Your Dreams
By Dr. Peggy Marshall

Photo by Jodie WilsonI flew back from Atlanta to Phoenix last week.  During the flight I struck up a conversation with our flight attendant.  She was telling us that she was going to school to become a wildlife conservationist.  She has a dream to go to Sumatra to save endangered tigers on that island.  I was struck by how dedicated she was in going after her dream-her energy was infectious!  It caused me to pause and think about the fact that we all have dreams yet sometimes these dreams take the back seat to our daily demands.  What steps can we take to make sure that we are living into our dreams?

The first essential ingredient to realizing your dream is to have clarity about your dream.  When did you first start thinking about this dream?  Does this dream connect you to what matters most?  Does your dream call to you?   For example, I have a dream of writing several books which began with my love of reading.  A great exercise would be to write down the answers to these initial questions.

Next, can you envision yourself accomplishing this dream?  What would your life look like if you accomplished your dream?  Breakdown the steps you need to accomplish in order to realize your dream?  We have to ground our dreams in reality which means that we have to think both strategically and tactically about the dream.  Making space for your dream and organizing your life so that you can accomplish your dream jump starts the process.   Outlining the process can give you and the friend, family member or coach you will engage with clarity for next steps.

Something we often forget to factor in when dreaming is the identification of potential negativity or roadblocks that can be encountered on the journey of your dream.  Could anyone in your life present obstacles that you need to get out of the way early in your journey?  Sometimes you may hear that your dream is just too big, or that no one has done it before, or it has already been done, or you really don’t have the skills to accomplish your dream.  Write down anything that you think people may say or have said about your dream.  Reframe these negative statements into positive statements and make a conscious decision to avoid future discussions with these individuals.  My cousin gave me a great ritual that I now exercise with negative people.  When the negativity starts I imagine crime scene tape around them.  This tape doesn’t judge the person it just tells me that if I cross the tape, I will potentially be jeopardizing my balance and grounding.

Thinking about how others will see us as we work towards our dream and then as we accomplish our dream can also help surface any obstacles we may encounter along the journey.  This concept seems counterintuitive-however, many times moving towards our dream can cause changes in our lives and relationship.  For example, to manifest my dream of my book, I need to schedule time to focus on writing.  This could result in taking time away from people and events which could create discordance in my relationships.  Preparing them ahead of time and engaging them as partners in your dream can reduce this potential source of conflict.

Speaking of change, sometimes we let go of our dreams because we are not prepared for how our lives will change when we accomplish our dream.  For example, in conversation with the flight attendant about her dream, she has to move from Phoenix to Florida to attend a University with the specific program she needs.  She was excited about the opportunity, despite the changes that will occur for her in relationships. Many times our dreams will ask us to give us some things in order to gain others.  The more honest you are with yourself about the changes that will occur in your life, the more likely you can move through these changes with the least amount of angst.

Clarity about your dream, outlining steps towards accomplishing your dream, working on your dream everyday and minimizing obstacles to your dream can move you quickly in the direction of your dream.  My wish for you is to continue to live in the direction of your dreams!

To your success!

Dr. Peggy