One of my favourite fantasies is that I can eat my own body weight in chocolate and not only not gain weight, but actually lose it! Sadly, even my delusional self knows that fantasy just ain't gonna happen. Especially, when these days it seems like I look at cake and immediately gain 5lbs (okay, some may have actually passed my lips). When it comes to maintaining good health, I think we all have a fairly good idea of what we have to give up or at least moderate, in order to stay well.
However, it's not something we grasp so easily, when it comes to dreams other than weight loss. When we talk to our friends or family or all round cheerleaders about our dreams, we tend to focus mainly on what we stand to gain, rather than what we have to give up in order to achieve our dreams. When I work with clients, to set a goal for our work together, I often ask how the goal we set will affect other parts of their lives and what they are prepared to give up, in order to achieve it (all credit to Julie Starr for her very helpful framework in The Coaching Manual). As the year starts to wind down, we start to take stock of what we've achieved and what we want to achieve next year. As we do this, I thought it would be good to think about what pursuing our dreams could cost us.
The first thing that pursuing our dream might cost us is the approval of other people. Most of us have worked out that we don't need the approval of everyone in our lives, to do what we want to do. But what do you do, when someone you trust and admire and look up to disapproves of your dream or what you are planning to do in pursuit of it? Do you go go ahead, or do you start to doubt yourself? Deciding to go ahead can feel quite scary. We start wondering: "are they right?" "Am I making a huge mistake here?" We start questioning who we are to shine so brightly. Everyone remembers Peter the disciple as the one who almost drowned, when he tried to walk on water. Here's the thing though: he didn't just try to walk on water. For a period of time- even if it was just for a few seconds, he defied nature and actually walked on water. I don't know about you, but I think that was actually quite epic. At least he tried. Can you imagine him trying to explain to the other disciples what it felt like? Isn't it better to try and 'fail', rather than not try at all and look back in regret later? I think about telling my grandkids about my adventures, including my failures and I never want to tell them, that I missed out on something, because I was afraid to try. We worry so much about failing, that we often aren't prepared for success when it comes. When I decided to train as a coach, there was a fair amount of scepticism and possibly some bemusement as to what a coach actually does. There was also a fair amount of advice about how I should stick to what I trained as, or at least something pretty close. But you know what? I'm on that journey right now and although it's been a bit scary at times, I wouldn't trade my experiences for the sake of safety and security.
And that leads me to my second point. Pursuing your dreams will probably cost you the certainty of knowing exactly where you're going and how to get there. I'm not talking about heading off without any kind of plan or goals. What I am saying, is that because these are likely to be uncharted waters for you, you'll be trying to find your way on a day by day basis (on a bad day, hour by hour!). Sometimes, I miss the simplicity of being able to tell someone that I am a lawyer. I mean, whether you like them or not, everyone knows what a lawyer does. Being a coach, involves several things, so sometimes a short sweet answer just isn't possible. However, the joys and challenges of working with different people, definitely keeps me on my toes and is all part of this new adventure.
Finally, pursuing your dreams usually means that you will have to give up your previous definition of success and how to achieve it. When I worked as a lawyer, my measure of success was clear- a conviction. I knew what I had to do, to get the result I wanted and most of the time it worked. Working as a coach, means rethinking my ideas of success. Because really, it's not about whether or not I have succeeded. It's about my client's definition of success and how I can contribute to them achieving that success. It's about the number of women who find the strength to make a change in their lives, after we have worked together. It's not better or worse, it's just different.
I hope that as you continue to pursue your dreams for the rest of the year or start to think about your dreams for 2015, that you will think about what it will cost you. Not so that you shrink back, but so that you have a clear idea of the cost; what the rewards are and whether or not you are prepared to pay the price.
If you'd like some help, identifying your dreams or working out the cost, then perhaps coaching can help. Contact us through the website or on +234 706 335 0864
Until next week, go well.