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Live Your Dreams

January 20, 2011 on 11:21 am | In Dream Types | No Comments

Live Your Dreams.


‘Live your dreams’ are the words often used by companies trying to entice you to buy an exclusive holiday or car. But can living our dreams be more than just an advertising slogan?

When you dream about how your life could be, do you knock it down by uttering one those blocking beliefs such as; ‘Stop day dreaming’ or ‘there’s no point, it’s just a dream’ or do you just  go out and live it?  Unfortunately many of us take these blocking beliefs as support structures against the possibility of failing or as an easy excuse for not making the effort to do it. But is there another way?

Coaching believes that dreams are good. At one level dreaming of summer on a dark, cold November evening can give us the inspiration and energy to continue on through winter. At another those dreams can take us as far as we want.

‘We all dream. Dreams give us hints, whispers and clues about our lives, where we are now and where we want to go …. when we dream we use our imagination, we soar beyond the confines of our lives into a wider world where many things are possible … every change in our life starts as a dream – we use our imaginations to project ourselves into the best of all futures.’ Joseph O’Connor

Coaching links the world of dreams with reality by seeking understanding and awareness of what they really mean and identifying the goals and steps needed to achieve them. Dreams shape our goals and goals shape our life. Coaching is about defining your goals and helping you achieve them.

‘A goal is a dream with legs and goals are what drive us forward. Coaching helps you to articulate what you really want, to dream good dreams and to give those dreams legs and run with them.’ Joseph O’Connor

Recently I met Ragnar, a departmental manager of a bank in Oslo, to do, as he explained, ‘some career coaching’. He felt his career had stumbled and he was in a deep rut. The option as he saw it was to find a new dynamic role somewhere else which would give his career back the energy and direction. He wanted a coach to help him find that new role.

I asked him to look at himself as he went about his daily work and describe it to me.

His shoulders became more rounded and after some further prompting he described himself trapped behind his desk looking out at the energy and focus of others in the office. They looked as if they were going somewhere but he didn’t.

I invited Ragnar to walk over to the window with me and we stood taking a short break looking out at the busy street some floors before I asked him:

 ‘If you were to dream about how you really want to look and feel in the office, how would it be? Describe how you look and feel. How would others see the new you?’

 I had to repeat this several times and ask the same questions again until eventually his head started to nod gently and a dream started to emerge. He was walking about in a large office. He felt confident. There was a buzz in the air and best of all he looked good.

 ‘What makes you look good’? I asked.

Ragnar: ‘I have lost weight. I am wearing that suit I used to like; it stopped fitting me about a year ago. But it looks good on me. I feel confident and I look healthy. My hair looks better too.’ He turned to me, smiled and added, ‘and you know what, it’s my old office.’

I challenged Ragnar by asking, ‘What is your real dream here? Is it to change jobs or change you?’

Clearly Ragnar’s dream was to change himself. He acknowledged this with a broad smile and nod.

‘So Ragnar we have a goal of changing you. How do you feel about that?’

Ragnar: ‘A bit daunted because I don’t really know where to start.’

‘Where would be a good place for you?’ I asked.

Ragnar: ‘Well maybe I should start jogging in the mornings again. It’s just that I can’t wake up early enough to do it.’

 ‘What causes you to be so tired in the morning?’ I asked.

I could feel that ‘AHHHA’ moment coming as his mind got to grips with what had happened. After a crisis at work he had got into the habit of working late on his computer every night. He wasn’t eating healthily & fell asleep late, if at all. He was simply too tired in the morning to run and this also led to another problem. It was when running that Ragnar would plan his day so he became even more ineffective.

‘It was just a vicious circle, the less effective I was, the less I ran, the more weight I put on, the worse I felt until ….’

‘Until you couldn’t fit into your suits.’ I added with a smile.

We both now had a clear understanding of this vicious circle.  I asked Ragnar to describe again his dream and we started discussing what specific goals he could have.

There were many but the central aspect of his dream was walking around his office feeling good himself and of course wearing that suit, so it seemed we needed a positive spiral of eating better, training more and losing weight.

‘That’s great and how will you know when you are starting to achieve this dream?’ I asked.

Obviously going for his run would show progress, but he had a friend who could give him monthly weight loss targets if he changed his diet and kept to a strict exercise routine. This was an excellent way to get encouragement, support and those necessary performance milestones. These monthly goals and more importantly achieving them would give Ragnar the needed encouragement to move toward his dream.

‘But what is the first step?’ I asked.

Ragnar: ‘Not being tired in the morning.’

The discussion now switched to more effectively dealing with his work during the day. He already knew he should prioritise and delegate better but he realised now that unless he did that he would not be able to break the circle and take time in evenings to eat well, relax and sleep.

The specific goals were now being formalised with clear measurable success factors to measure success.

‘So how will you keep this dream alive?’ I asked as our session was finishing.

Ragnar: ‘I will hang that suit up in the hall so when I walk past I will remember the dream.  

‘And what is the first achievable step that you can make tonight?’

Ragnar: ‘Not working late.’

‘Define late’ I said.

Ragnar: ‘Ok I get it.’ He said smiling. ‘No computer after dinner and dinner before 8pm!’

Ragnar had come with a goal of making a career change but by exploring and understanding his dreams this was challenged. The coaching process helped Ragnar discover how he really wanted his life to be and also helped identify the need for better daily routines, diet and exercise. He realised the stop in his career was not a ‘job’ issue but a ‘him’ issue and he established measurable goals at each step to provide the needed focus and encouragement. Hanging that suit in the hall anchored his dream to the present.

When I talked again to Ragnar after 6 weeks he was clearly achieving his goals. His suit still didn’t fit but his appearance had changed markedly. He was losing weight and he had a new hair style but he was walking and talking with much greater confidence and energy. He no longer hid behind his desk and his downward vicious circle had been transformed to a positive spiral upward!

 Self Coaching Session

1. Find some space and let your mind really go into the future and dream about how you want things to be. Using the questions below to prompt you write down this dream in detail.

What is different?
What are you doing?
How do you feel?

2. After a few hours at least return to this dream and read what you have written.

Should anything be added or changed?
Do you still feel or see that this is the dream for you?

Make any changes needed to this written description and then walk to other side of room and place it on the floor.

3. Take several steps back and stop. Look at that dream on the floor. You are now half way to the future of achieving that dream. Ask yourself the following and write it down on a second sheet of paper;

What changes have occurred?
What achievements have been made?
How does it feel to be at the mid-point of achieving that dream?

4. Take both pieces of paper back to your original seat and read them. Take a clean sheet of paper and answer the following

List the key steps you need to take to reach the mid-point.
Chose the first step.
Identify any help or support you will need to achieve this step.
Reflect on the first step and 0n a 0-10 scale and write down how committed you are to achieving it.
If lower than 9 ask yourself what you need to do to get that commitment to 9 or 10.

5. Keep these pages always accessible or visible to you as you make this journey.

By: Ken Coey


Ken Coey, ex CEO, is a Life & Business Coach. He coaches his clients to take those steps toward a better life balance and really living their dreams. Ken maintains his column at: http://livelookbetter.com/eng/
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