Dreams are a tricky thing. They can be cryptic and confusing or the very essence of one’s motivation and clarity. Maybe your dream job is to star in a Hollywood movie or captain a charter boat on a Caribbean island. Maybe you want to jump-rope with the Dalai Lama! But while you dream about these life goals, you’re still spending weeks sitting in a cubicle or chauffeuring your kids to soccer practice.
Perhaps in the back of your head you are envying those risk-takers you hear about who drop it all to start a sheep farm in Montana, tutor kids in South America, or even take a pilgrimage to, you guessed it, jump-rope with the Dalai Lama. Plenty of people juggle family and business responsibilities while they write their novel at night or complete their MBA online. You don’t have to choose. You can do it too. It’s time to dream big.
Whether you take the fast track or a slower route, you can live out your dream job.
And for those of you looking for a less drastic change than running away to join the circus, consider these ideas for pursuing your passions without giving up your day job.
Making the Most of Your Day Job
Enjoy financial security. A steady paycheck is probably the most obvious advantage to holding off on submitting your resignation. It’s easier to think clearly when your material needs are covered.
Plan your strategy. Stable employment also give you time to map out your future. Figure out what training and networking you need to get from point A to point B.
Maintain structure. Depending on your personality, a wide-open schedule could feel liberating or overwhelming. Your routine may keep you prompt and punctual.
Build motivation. The upside of low job satisfaction is that it could drive you to explore other career paths. Think about what you’d rather be doing,
Operate part time. On the other hand, you may just want to supplement a job you love. Your passion project could remain a side venture. A hospital administrator or hardware store clerk can build birdhouses on weekends.
Scale back. Of course, if your job consumes your time and energy like a black hole, you may need to switch gears. Find balance by moving into a less demanding position.
Look for areas of overlap. Whatever you do for a living, you can probably identify your favorite tasks. Leveraging your strengths at work will lay a foundation for your own endeavors.
- Schedule downtime. Adding more activities into a busy week can be challenging. Avoid burnout by taking regular breaks and getting adequate sleep.
- Surround yourself with support. Let your family and friends know what they can do to help you succeed. Give each other encouragement and practical assistance.
Trim your budget. Create more flexibility by living simply. Cut back on monthly expenses like cable TV or expensive car payments if you want to free up funds for college tuition or international travel.
Research your options. Maybe you’ve wanted to become a stand-up comedian since you were in the third grade or maybe you’re still searching for what you want to do. Talk with others about their experiences and read interesting memoirs. Dive in to a few experiments of your own.
Set long and short-term goals. Stay focused by establishing clear goals. Immediate targets will give you a game plan for what you need to do each day. Longer-term objectives will help you define what a meaningful life means for you. While you’re at it, write out your plans and review them frequently.
Hang in there. Commit yourself for the long haul. Give yourself credit for making the effort and enjoy the journey regardless of the results.
You can dream big while you work 9 to 5. Turn your current position into a resource that will help you learn to love what you do and do what you love. With focus and dedication, even you can jump-rope with the Dalai Lama.