Are you chasing your dream or following your dream?
At want point to do you stop, look around and realize that going after your dream has created a lifeless life?
I live in Los Angeles where everybody has a dream. People flock here from all over the world (like myself) to build themselves a brighter future.
In the last few years there have been a wave of people pushing you to “live your dream” and that accepting the mundane, rigmarole of a desk job is beneath you. Often labelled as the ‘creative few,’ these people see that there is another way, the way of the entrepreneur where you can make our own lifestyle, have oodles of money and love what you do.
Millions of books are written on the topic with titles like Manifest your Destiny and the 4 Hour Work Week, all to suck you in to the great big idea of ‘following your dream’.
People devour these books, I know because I was one of them. I, like many people saw that there was a chance to love what you do. Happy people love what they do, and successful people achieve their goals. I wanted to be successful. I wanted to prove to myself and the world that I could go out there and be a leading example for those who wanted to live their dreams. I wanted to show people it was possible. And it is.
I am every day, living my dream. But not until I stopped and realized that for many years I was chasing my dream.
There is a big difference between chasing your dream and living your dream. Chasing your dream involves a lot of work, whereas living your dream feels almost effortless.
To get to this stage, you have to ask yourself- What is the essence of your dream? How much of your ‘dream’ is ego and how much of it is purpose?
I remember once reading that all things that we want boil down to three humanly factors- love, power and survival- and this I think is very true.
When I began realizing that I had begun chasing and running and sprinting and hopping and jumping through hoops to get to where I wanted to go, I sat myself down and really asked myself- why? Why was I doing all this? Why was I struggling so hard to try to be this dream go-getter?
It dawned on me that my original goal of motivating people to go after their own dreams and live life to the fullest was not what I myself was doing at all.
I, like everyone else just wanted to be happy. I just wanted to have happy, fulfilling life with family, good friends, a healthy lifestyle and a job that inspired, helped and motivated people.
I realized that this quintessential dream was not what I had created at all, instead I had gone after the smoke and mirrors of what a dream and ‘successful’ life was all about. I stopped living, and starting chasing all these ideals. I was sold on the great dream. And I no longer wanted to be a buyer.
I sat, pondered for a while, and the short version goes that I decided to simply follow my bliss. I decided to stop chasing. I stopped chasing love, I stopped chasing success, I stopped chasing money, I stopped chasing everything that I associated with my dream.
I just started doing.
Piece by piece, little things that I thought were a good idea, things that I felt inspired to do, things that made me happy, I did.
Slowly, over time, these ‘things’ grew and before I knew it I no longer felt I was struggling. I no longer felt trapped in the hamster wheel, I felt free and for the first time, I was floating.
Let me be honest, I hate floating. I am a Capricorn, I like order, structure, plans, goals, a 10 step program. But I had to let go. I decided to set myself one very simple goal for the year (2013)- to have fun, and to travel.
And somehow, somewhere I was lucky enough to do just that. I got a well paying job where I could work from home in my own hours and I worked and travelled and paid my way to my favorite destinations.
Then my workload became so big (as a writer) that I started paying my friends to help me. Before I knew it, I had a registered business.
Being a writer is not what I came to LA for. This is not what I ever dreamed, visualized or put on my goal list. I never once asked, prayed or went after this. It just happened. And I liked it.
Perhaps I was laying the groundwork all this time and I didn’t even know it? Perhaps my hard work simply manifested to this?
I am not trying to paint a romantic picture that I just sat here in my bliss and all this fell on my lap, I worked damn hard, I just didn’t turn out the way that I had planned- at all. Not even in the slightest. But that’s ok, and that is where the magic is.
Slowly I am learning that it is MUCH more fulfilling to just go with the flow. Sure it feels unstable, and I don’t know how long this will all last, but somewhere along the way, we have to build trust.
Trust in ourselves and trust in our work.
The universe works in magic and mysterious ways, but it simply reacts to our vibrations. You can control it’s ebb and it’s flow and sure, we have our ups and downs and our trials and tribulations but stop chasing that dream!
The dream is already there, you just have to navigate it. You just have to allow it. Stop running in circles and start listening and doing.
Dreams are great, but don’t fall into the trap of chasing them instead of living them.