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Nothing defines the new millennium more than the change in how people view work. Gone, for many, are the days when working to pay the bills was enough. The word job, which was once applauded, is now looked at somewhat disdainfully by those with a career or a calling. A new consciousness has emerged, and with it, a need to live a meaningful life that compels people to follow their dreams.
This new way of thinking is often looked upon as both unrealistic and idealistic by those who don’t understand, but for dreamers, it’s how they create the life they want to live. If you fall into this category, sometimes it can feel overwhelming to figure out how you can have it all – financial security and the life of your dreams. With a plan, patience and perspective, you can live a life of purpose and meaning. Here are five ways to get you there.
Begin with Clarity
Often you can identify what you don’t want: “I don’t want to spend my life doing a job I hate to pay bills” or “I don’t want to make money for a company whose values don’t match my own.” Not wanting something is a wonderful place to begin, but in order to move forward, you need a clear goal or dream.
The book Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life is a good starting point. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans are two Stanford professors who have researched the importance of having a well-designed life. The exercises in the book can help clarify your dreams, beginning with a focus on who you are.
Tend the Fire
Sometimes you know exactly what you want to do, and the problem is the slow build. Pursuing dreams can be similar to making a fire. You start with a spark of an idea. This is usually followed by fanning the flames for quite a long time. Occasionally, you may have a quick burn, but if you want your fire to last, it needs tending.
During the fire-tending period of creating a job and life you love, you may be required to rely on the job you currently have to keep financially afloat. Of course, this isn’t ideal. It’s not your perfect vision of your dream, but if you take away the life preserver, you might just sink. Trust that a little of what you love is better than none at all.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Start thinking of your rent paying gig as a gift. This hack was mentioned on Side Hustle School, a podcast hosted by writer Chris Guillebeau, who podcasts daily on how to have a side hustle, something he defines as an income earning project that uses the skills you already have without quitting your day job. For many dreamers, this is the way to begin. You get to pursue your passion and maintain your financial stability.
You have probably heard the stories about companies like Spanx that were run from a living room until Oprah discovered them, and – BAM! – they become a billion-dollar company. The part most people forget are the years of hard work before the “overnight” success. If you can create a pattern of consistent effort toward actualizing your dreams, you are doing better than everyone who is still just dreaming. Consistent action is a key to living your dream life.
Behave as Your Dream Self
This is a little edit on the common advice: “Dress for the job you want.” When you begin to behave as though you are what you dream of being, there is an energetic shift that happens both internally and externally. You start to attract opportunities and like-minded people, and soon you are surrounded by others who help keep the momentum of moving you toward your goals.
In the words of Marie Forleo, an expert on making money while changing the world who works with Oprah, Tony Robbins, and many other top entrepreneurs, “Every pro was once an amateur. Start your dream now.”
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