We think that pursuing our dreams mean we have to quit our day job, give up everything else, do that one thing, and one thing only.
When I hear people talk about quitting their day job, and going to pursue their passion, calling, or dream, it’s always followed by mixed messages from others. Some will give their most heart felt congratulations, because this quitting-your-job-for-your-dream thing is now the highest rung on the corporate ladder. Some will give a half hearted congratulations, followed by involuntarily sharing their bitterness because this is also their dream and they really wish they have the courage to follow it. And then there’s the group of people who are worried, they are genuinely concerned about how the bills will be paid and whether you will be ok.
I used to ignore this last group of people. I thought they just didn’t understand the passion I had behind my dream, and how excruciating that burning desire felt. At the same time, I felt bad for them to not have the opportunity to experience that burning desire, because isn’t that what we live for?
After actually quitting my job and following my dreams, I think this group of people may be onto something. Not because I can’t pay my bills, one day it occurred to me that maybe my dream isn’t here to pay bills, just maybe.
Our dreams are like our unborn babies. We know we want to create it, but we don’t know why. We know we want to give birth to it, even if the path is not smooth sailing.
And we love it to death, before it’s even born.
Our dreams are also like our secret lover. We have been seeing each other on the side for a while, whether we have a job or not, we make time for each other. We enjoy every moment of our time together, even if it’s hard work with blood, sweat and tears. We sometimes meet up in secret, not on purpose, it just so happened that we enjoy the sacred bond that nobody else can quite understand.
If my dream is my unborn child or secret lover, or a magnificent sacred blend of both, would I do everything I can to nurture and protect it? You bet I will!
But that’s not exactly the way we treat our dreams.
More often than not, we now define pursing our dream means we have to be successful at it, we have to make money from it, or we have to make an impact and change the world through it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a dream.
If it’s not big enough, or we aren’t successful at it, or it doesn’t suck up all our time and energy, then it doesn’t count.
We decided to put our dreams to work for us, sometimes demanding it to make money for us. After toiling away for a few months or years, and we can’t quite make it into a profitable business, then we give up and say “Hey Dream, you can’t feed me and pay my bills, maybe you aren’t the right dream for me.” Maybe it isn’t the right business for you. But why does your dream have to go out the window with it?
Just because my child will not the most profitable and successful endeavor I’ve created, does that mean I shouldn’t love it anymore? Just because it’s not a viable business, does that mean now I have to abandon it?
If my dream is my unborn child or secret lover, I would do everything I can to protect and nurture it. And I learned that it looks like not putting the financial burden of my life on my dream, and stop demanding that it makes money to support me.
If it makes money, great. But if it doesn’t, I promise never to abandon it, and never to declare it an unlovable child.
Instead, I promise to take care of it. I can always find other jobs to pay my bills, but my dream is not here to pay my bills. My dream promised to feed my soul, and I promise to never give up on it, no matter how much I suck at it. Why? Because of love, because that is the kind of love I have for my dream. As long as it holds up its end of the deal to feed my soul, I will hold up my end of the deal to love it, nurture it, and never give up on it.
Whatever your dream may be, what do you promise?