Tuesday night is date night with my wife and last night we decided to go see “Up In the Air” the latest George Clooney movie. It was a great movie and got me thinking about life, purpose and what if. I don’t know if it is true but my thought is that most people don’t live their dream, they stop striving toward their ideal and settle for bringing home a paycheck.
I started thinking about my future when I was very young, I dreamed about traveling across the country in a big rig, when I hit high school I dreamed of becoming a chef and by my senior year I had caught a creative bug and planned to spend my life in graphic communications. In 1983 my dreams changed to making a difference worldwide and wanted to become a missionary so I went to bible college and have spent the last two decades serving in a variety of ministry capacities. All have been fulfilling because I decided to invest in my personal growth and to seek change.
This brings me to my current thought. Why aren’t you pursuing your dreams? Somewhere along the line you stopped dreaming and gave into the routine of living from paycheck to paycheck. While I can’t prove it most have fallen into this routine because they have spent themselves into a corner. Most have established a lifestyle that is dependent on that job you can’t stand and feel trapped. You have a million excuses as to why you can’t do anything else and you are stuck.
Most of those who are stuck in life are stuck in cement called fear. In the movie you have the opportunity to see the responses of people who have spent their lives giving themselves to a job only to find out that after all that sacrifice they are losing that career. Their fear is played out for all of us to see. “What will I do now, how will I pay my mortgage, what will I tell my kids, what will they think of me, I’m too old to start looking for a new job, my life is over.” Condensed the fear is “who am I” and “how will I survive”
So let’s go there, what is standing in the way of your dream, what is keeping you shackled to an unfulfilled life?
What would happen if you lost your job today? It might make it worth it if it was really George Clooney setting across the table but it won’t be. Imagine that today the HR department calls you in and tells you that your job is no longer available or that big contract goes away. What would you do after you freaked out, got angry and pissed off and spent the next weeks or months wiping the depression droll from your mouth? First back up, think about how you could respond in a positive way that wouldn’t rob you of your creativity and love of life and family. What are the new options and possibilities?
One way to discover these new options and possibilities is to face the fear front on. A way of doing this is to think about the worst case scenario, what is the worst that could happen. My worst case would be to lose everything, my house, my cars, and my savings. At the end of the movie you have the opportunity to see and listen to people as they discover that the sum total of their lives was not their jobs but that they still had their family.
Now my worst case is no longer the worst that could happen. In this exercise you discover that the consequences are not as bad as the cloud of fear that surrounds it. All of a sudden you are able to discover alternatives. If I lost everything I have family that would take me in and the basics of my survival could be managed, food, housing and clothing so that I could start all over again. Even if I didn’t have family I could go to a temporary shelter and find help for the basics while I rebuilt my life; we discovered this in “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
I would be free to dream again, what would I do with my life if I could start over? Would I take some classes, start my own business and become my own boss, get additional training for a different career or maybe find a career in the area I originally trained for in college.
Now, instead of having this forced upon you through a layoff or firing why not choose. Why not choose to leave the situation you feel trapped in. When you accomplish this mentally you will have such an empowering sense of freedom. Your mind will now be free to imagine the possibilities God has placed in front of you. Begin writing down some of the steps that come to mind and start putting them into action. You don’t have to know every single step; you just need to get started. If you are ready to pursue a dream and that will require you to leave your current position then some of those steps might be to create an emergency fund by cutting your spending and putting money aside for your dream every paycheck.
Remember no matter how tough things are there is always a solution, what are yours?