I know people in my life who when asked how are things going, will reply, “I’m living the dream.” Can you say the same? If you could, what would it mean?
As far back as Sigmund Freud, psychologists have been saying that there are two major areas in a person’s life—love and work. When you are “living the dream,” you will be able to say that you have found satisfying work and are fulfilled in the relationships you share with the important people in your life.
Now, I ask again, “Are you living the dream?” Let’s talk about work first. When you wake up in the morning are you filled with a sense of excitement and anticipation for what your day at work has in store for you or do you have a sense of dread about what lies ahead? Of course, these are two opposite ends of the spectrum and more than likely you fall somewhere in between.
As a parent, I always advised my children to choose a profession that they love because they will be spending a lot of their time doing it. I don’t want them to be one of many who hates their job and dreads going to work every day. That is a terrible burden to bear.
So, what can you do if you are one of those people?
Have you discovered your definite purpose in life? We were all placed here on earth with a variety of gifts that will help us make the world a better place to live. We all have unique skills, interests and abilities that will add to the good of mankind and fulfill our own inner desires, as well. What is your unique, definite purpose?
I believe mine is to help people learn to lead more satisfying lives and to get along better with the important people in them. That’s what I do. I love to do it. I am energized when I do it. And although I generally get paid for the things I do, I love doing them so much, I would do them for free! This is what I wish for everyone in the area of work.
Many of us are living the dream but it is someone else’s dream. Are you working for the “man” without any pay off? What do I mean by a pay off? Why do you get up and go to work everyday? What motivates you? If it is only the paycheck, then you are living someone else’s dream.
Your work should be something that motivates you, gives you pleasure, provides something valuable to others and is in line with your definite purpose. If that doesn’t describe your work, you may want to take some time to reevaluate. You may think you are too old to change careers now or to go out on your own. However, in ten, fifteen or twenty years you are still going to be the same age whether you invest in your own dream or not. So what’s stopping you?
Now, let’s look at your relationships. What is the state of your current relationships with the important people in your life? I suppose I should start with the question: Do you have important people in your life? Hopefully, the answer to that question is yes, but if not, there is help available. You can improve your relationship skills and learn to make new friends and develop those relationships to their fullest. Everyone needs to have human contact in order to survive.
Some of us have companionship but we are unhappy in these relationships. How can you live the dream when you feel miserable around the people who are supposed to be supporting and encouraging you? Getting our relationships in order is a critical task that too many ignore. We look around us and see lots of other people in unhappy or mediocre relationships and we tell ourselves that is just the way it is. No one is truly happy. That is not true.
Creating healthy relationships is a matter of choice. You are not destined to be in a miserable relationship. Do you remember what it was like when you first got together? It was more than chemistry. There was something between you that made you know each other was special. You can regain that feeling.
Most of us never learn healthy relationship skills. We think it is something we are just supposed to know how to do but how good were our teachers? Shouldn’t you learn relationship skills from someone who has strong relationships and who knows how to maintain them?
Living the dream is not just for a few select individuals. Every single one of us is entitled to live our dream. It is possible and we have a right to be happy and satisfied. Here are some steps you can take:
1. You must clearly examine whether or not you are happy and satisfied with your current life’s work and your relationships with the important people in your life. If you are, then congratulations are in order and you need to read no further.
2. If you are not satisfied, then you must clearly delineate what the problems are and the source of your unhappiness.
3. Next, you must identify a solution over which you, yourself, are in control. That means you must formulate a solution that doesn’t involve someone else doing something differently. You know what I mean. “I could be happy if my wife would just cook dinner every night”. “I would love this job if only the boss would get off of my case.”
4. If you are unable to think of a solution that is solely up to you, then daydream about what the perfect job or the perfect relationship would look like. How would you be, what would you have and what would you be doing? Assess your interests, skills and abilities to uncover your definite purpose. What is it you were destined to do?
5. Once you have your ideal picture in your mind, ask yourself what is stopping you? What would you have to give up to move in the direction of your dream? What obstacles do you face? What do you fear?
6. Now you must formulate a plan that has a reasonable chance of success. I’m not suggesting that you file for divorce or quit your job. What I am saying is come up with a plan that will move you forward in the direction you want to go. You can take small, baby steps as long as you do something each day that will move you along the path of living your dream.
7. The final step is to develop the strength to actually take the action you planned in Step 6. Making a plan is great but it will never accomplish anything if you don’t take action. Les Brown tells us, “You don’t have to be great to get started; but you have to get started to be great.” Do something.
If you are having difficulty with any of these steps, then perhaps coaching would help you. Coaching provides just the right balance of support and encouragement with challenge and accountability. You decide. Do you want to live your dream or someone else’s?
About The Author
Kim Olver has a degree in counseling, is a certified and licensed counselor. She is a certified reality therapy instructor. Kim is an expert in relationship, parenting and personal empowerment, working with individuals who want to gain more effective control of their lives and relationships. Visit The Relationship Center.