Do you have a dream?
Of course you do. We all dream — it’s part of the human condition. But for some reason, when it comes to our careers, many of us think we don’t have it in us to turn our dreams into reality.
I see it all the time with my clients, and I get it. Because I was once in the same place.
For over a decade of my working life, I believed my dream career was out of reach. Sometimes, I allowed myself to think — and daydream! — about it, and I’d let my thoughts run away from me for a while. But then my logical brain would kick in, and I’d push the thoughts and dreams away and return to the humdrum of daily life. I’d tell myself: Don’t be so bloody stupid! Dreams like that don’t come true — or at least they can’t come true for me.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? The truth was: I had no idea how to make my dream happen, so I just tried to get on with my life. And the problem was: I had a hard time articulating my dream at the time, so I was already starting off on the back foot. I know that now!
The turning point for me
As I inched closer to my 40s, that burning desire to change my career grew stronger and stronger. The daydreams became bigger and more real until it got to the point where I couldn’t ignore them anymore. I couldn’t — no, wouldn’t — put off my dream any longer.
I deserved more than that!
I thought: Would I rather live a life of regret or try giving my dream a go?
As you’ve probably guessed, I chose option #2.
I decided to explore my beautiful career dreams in more detail.
I decided to buckle down and think about how I could make them a reality.
My thought process was all about the possibility. I thought that even if some of my dreams came true, that would be better than staying stuck and forever thinking “what if.” That’s no way to live! And if nothing else, I thought it would be fun to let myself imagine living my dreams, and even if they didn’t work out, I’d know I tried.
I decided I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror at 40 when I hadn’t tried something I’d been thinking about for YEARS.
And I certainly couldn’t look at myself in the mirror at 50 and still be in the same situation. There was no way!
It was clear I needed a career plan that aligned with my dreams, my values, who I was today and who I wanted to become.
So my current career started as a dream — which FYI, is where I ask all my clients to begin. If we can’t dream, we can’t have it.
The actions I took to turn my dreams into reality
After dreaming, there is some work to do both internally and externally — but that’s a blog for another day.
Let me paint you a picture of where I was when I decided to take action on my dream:
I was 38, single and living in Melbourne, Australia running a recruitment agency.
I was successful.
I was earning six figures, but more than that, I enjoyed my job, loved my team, and felt like the work I was doing was purposeful.
I pretty much did what I wanted — other than having to rock up to the office by 9am and sticking to a set number of holiday days.
I was fairly happy with my situation, but I had these niggling thoughts in the back of my mind. Was this it? Would I be tied to an office and commute for the next 25+ years? I really, really didn’t want the answers to those questions to be “yes.” It scared the bejesus out of me.
I needed more.
And this was the action plan I laid out for myself.
Define exactly what I wanted. What was my vision of success for my career and personal future?
Research how I could make it happen. This involves seeking out other people who had done something similar, and asking them for advice and insider tips.
Evolve my personal development and brand. After speaking to those successful people, it was clear I had a few things to learn. Studying never came naturally to me, and the thought of going back to my school at that stage of my life was pretty daunting. But here’s a spoiler alert: It turns out that I never liked studying because I wasn’t passionate about what I was studying! Once I started studying career coaching, I couldn’t stop! To this day, I can’t get enough.
Action! Now that I had my roadmap, I had to plan the smaller, bite-sized steps that would help me to reach my goals. Since I had total clarity on my dream, the steps I needed to take suddenly became obvious to me.
Make a move. My game plan was BIG. It was quite dramatic, if I’m honest. Yours might not like this, and that’s okay! Every dream is different, and every person is different.
As I said, I was single and living in Melbourne (I’m originally from the UK) while I was going through all of this career dream development.
During a flight to Italy for a friend’s wedding, I realised two things: I wanted to start my own business, and I wanted to be location-free. I wanted to be able to travel and see the world while I was working.
That was plan A: business ownership. Plan B was finding a role that would allow me to work remotely. I was a dreamer, but I was also a logical person!
This was all happening at the beginning of 2015, and little did I know how much that flight would change my life…
On that trip to Italy, I met a man! And he encouraged me to dream big and spur into action.
Fast-forward five years, and I’m now living in Italy with said man and my business is in full swing. And I truly don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t started dreaming and strategising before that fateful trip.
Bringing it back to reality
This all sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, it is and it isn’t.
My plan didn’t fall into place the minute I made the decision to start a business, and it definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing since.
Running a business is hard. It took me longer than expected to set everything up, and the business didn’t grow as quickly as I’d imagined it would. There was a lot more I needed to learn to create the business I wanted, and to bring it to where it is today.
I had to invest a lot more time and money than I initially thought. Was it worth it? HELL YES!
There were tears, very long days and late nights where I wanted to give up and throw my laptop out of the window. But still: I had a clear vision, a dream, and I knew I had to put in the hard yards to get there.
Real talk: Career changes aren’t always easy, but they are possible. If you’re changing your path to chase your dream, they’re bloody worth all the time, effort and energy to make them happen.
The dreaming and development doesn’t stop, either. Though these days, my dream is much more focused and I know how to create a plan to get me there.
Now, it’s your turn.
There’s no timeline on your dreams. It doesn't matter if you didn't get to your goals in January. You don't have to give up for the year!
If you’re ready to make your career dream a reality, I’m here to help you. With my signature Dream Career Coaching Program, we can start diving into your dream together.
Over the course of 12 weeks, you’ll get:
Your dream career can be yours. You just have to be dedicated, focused, and willing to put in the work.