You are sitting in your office skimming through the 100 emails that appeared in your inbox overnight – triaging which fires to put out first, while simultaneously trying to figure out how to attend two different networking functions this evening and meet the deadline for your report tomorrow.
You take a deep breath while staring at the ceiling and ask, “Is this it? Is this why I went to school? Is this why I work so hard? How did I get to this point of frustration, exhaustion, and feeling like I’m not meeting my potential? What does all of this have to do with living my dreams? Wait! What are my dreams?”
We all have dreams. At least we used to. Unfortunately, sometimes life sucks the dream right out of us. We don’t know how it happens. Sometimes we make the safe and responsible decisions that move us further from our dreams. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and the monotony of every day makes those dreams fade. Often times to the point of not even being able to remember what those dreams were. We are jealous of those who appear to be living their dreams. But we are afraid to admit that we lost our dreams along the way and don’t know how to get back to them.
Here are three short questions to help guide you to finding or rediscovering your dreams. And each question begins with a quick fill in the blank exercise.
1. “I wish I could…”
After you fill in the blank for “I wish I could…” take a look at what you write down. What does your longing say to you?
Generally, your longings are clues into what you are missing or seeking. What do you desire to be, do, have, or create that is not currently in your life? Do you wish you had more independence to pursue a hobby? Do you wish you could have a certain impact on people, the community, the world? Do you wish you could be more creative?
Longings often seem distant or unattainable. However, understanding what you long for will shed light on your dreams, even if it only uncovers characteristics of your dreams at this point.
2. “I wish I didn’t…”
Next determine what you “wish you didn’t…” What does your discontent say to you?
Discontent is feeling dissatisfied with a situation or circumstance. Are there things in your life that make you unhappy or make you feel dissatisfied? Do you wish you didn’t work the hours that you work? Do you wish you didn’t choose the profession you chose?
List an example of a situation or circumstance in your life that is causing you to feel frustrated, restricted, or unhappy? What does this realization say to you?
3. “If I gain my longing and dissolve my discontent, I would have…”
In other words, what would you love? If you had a magic wand and could be, do, have, and give anything that you desire, what would you love? What would it feel like if you could attain this?
Challenge yourself to be very specific here. The more specific you are in your answer to this question the clearer your dreams become. Good quality questions and answers lead to greater understanding.
Instead of calling your feelings of longing and discontent “negative” and ones that you shouldn’t have or you should ignore, consider embracing them as signs from the Universe that it’s time to start moving toward a life that you love living.
The Universe really does work to guide us away from what’s out of alignment with our highest purpose and potential and move us toward joy, peace, love, and fulfillment. Use your longing and discontent as a sign that it’s time for growth and expansion. That it’s time to rediscover your dreams.