Dream or Get Real?
Your Current Reality
We were introduced when Dennis1 was offered a coaching scholarship through a unique program at his bank. After being unemployed for over ten months, he still didn't have a job. Admittedly, a major factor was his ambivalence about whether to continue in the same industry. We talked about how he could vet organizations to ensure he wasn't walking into any familiar fires, yet it was clear that Dennis was more interested in exploring his ideal work and long-term career goals than in examining his current job search strategy.
After two coaching sessions, however, Dennis informed me that in ten days he'd need to make tough decisions about which bills to pay first. We had a frank conversation about doing what he needed to do in the short term to bring some money in.
Even when it's not a layoff situation and it’s a proactive career change, many of my clients grapple with the same dilemma that challenged Dennis. They’ll describe an element of a dream job and then immediately squelch it with: But I also need to eat.
And therein lies the question: How do you address your current reality while simultaneously feeling the tug toward something else? And how do you do that when the something else that is nudging you is not yet clear, feels unrealistic or like it's just a dream?
I’ve had clients put it to me this way: Should I dream or get real?
Look Beyond Your Back Yard
Returning to Dennis’ story, you might be wondering what business he had thinking about his ideal career when his circumstances dictated that he take A-JOB-ANY-JOB.
Interestingly, just as he accepted his situation and opened to taking any job on a temporary basis, a more substantial offer came through that matched his prior salary. Though it was in the same industry (the one he had doubts about staying in), it relocated him to a geographic area that was closer to family, something he and his wife had on their wish list. He decided to view the job as "the same industry but a new opportunity." We also identified specific ways to stay motivated while exploring his long-term career aspirations.
In Dennis' case, he simply needed a little time to identify a few elements of his future vision in order to improve his current reality. Something in him needed to know that he wouldn't ignore the part of him that wanted more. Once that inner voice was heard and acknowledged, he was able to see beyond the problem to the potential.
Problems Point To Potential
It was six weeks from our first meeting to Dennis' phone call to inform me he was doing his happy dance, job offer in hand. Actually, he had planted the seeds for that job offer prior to our work together. According to Dennis, what occurred during our coaching was that he was able to get above the problem and glimpse the potential the situation was offering.
Should you dream or get real? The answer is both. Dream and get real. Dream to get real.
Dreams exist to influence our actions in the real world. Even if your vision seems wildly unattainable, its immediate value may be to move you in a certain direction and to inspire you with what is possible.
When hyper focusing on solving the problem isn’t working, change the question from: How can I fix this problem? to: What is the potential here?
Address your current needs with an eye toward your ultimate direction.
This Week’s Call To Action:
- What current reality feels like a problem? What is it showing you?
- What would an ideal scenario be? Bring that perspective to the current situation and ask: What is the potential?
- Partner with someone who’ll help you expand your thinking.
Dream to get real.
See you in the current,
¹Name changed for privacy.
²Here’s what Dennis described as most useful in our coaching work:
"I felt my perspective shifting... changing… out of a narrower view to a broader view. You lift someone up to look around. The analogy is that I was in my back yard and only saw the trees. You brought me up higher so I could see a broader perspective: the whole neighborhood and what’s outside the back yard.
The financial walls and stress walls were closing in. You helped me take away some of the stress and pressure and get away from the circular thinking so that I could sustain a broader perspective. After 10+ months of looking for a job, it shook my confidence. You helped me move forward."