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Making your dreams come true: where the rubber meets the road

[ 10 ] January 14, 2011 |
Time to make the leap

Time to make the leap. Image by jhf, via Flickr

What is your most important dream? The first step is knowing what you want. Even if it’s not a final answer, give us your best guess with what you know right now: what would make your life something to savor? What would make you feel like a genius of life-rocking awesomeness? What do you really want to do?

Now, if you only had a year left to live, how could you make sure that happened and you got to enjoy it while you were still here? If you knew you were dying, you would do whatever it took to make it happen. (If not, go back to step 1: what is so awesome that you would make damn sure it happened?)

Well, guess what? We’re all dying. If you make this year the awesome year when your dream comes true and then you’re still around next year, how lucky is that? You have the chance to do your next most awesome thing! Most people never live one year that good, and you get to do it twice!

Living your dreams has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe it’s because it’s the new year and everybody is talking about how last year went and where they want to go this year. Maybe it’s because my life countdown is getting close to a round number: it’s 16,705 today. Somehow turning over those 100s has way more mental impact than, say, going from 16,752 to 16,751. Gah! Life is fleeting!

Or maybe it’s because an acquaintance of mine was in a motorcycle wreck and has been struggling to stay alive for the past month or so. We think we control our lives, because most days go about how we expect, but you never know when that will change, and you can’t stop it. All you can do is make the most of today.

I’ve already mentioned my dreams and my plan. Actually, the dream has expanded since that post: I was originally just going to take the summer off, but since my trial run, I’m all the more determined not to go back in the fall. Why settle for doing something that’s ok when you could be living your dream?

I happen to work at the school where the bio professor went nuts and shot up a department meeting last year, and what amazed me is that most of the people who were at that meeting were back at work as soon as possible, determined to carry on and rebuild. Three people were killed and three others seriously wounded, and more would have been if the gun hadn’t jammed. After watching their friends die and facing down death themselves, their reaction was, “this isn’t going to stop me, I’m doing to carry on my important work,” so they went back to teaching.

What can you say but holy shit! I have never had a job that I’ve felt that way about. Any near-death experience, and my job would be the first thing on the chopping block, sacrificed on the altar of “I’ve got to stop wasting my time!”

Well, I’ve got to stop wasting my time. The world has aligned itself to make it more possible than ever for me to follow my dream and support myself, right now when I’m ready to do it. Thank you, world–I accept your invitation.

I’ve been working on this for a few months now, but I’ve been kind of half-assed about it and not making much progress. It’s come to the point where it’s time to fish or cut bait. I can either keep messing around and babbling about “someday,” “my dream,” blah blah blah, or I can go all out and make it happen. August 29, I’m back at work or gone forever to do my own thing.

These thoughts were rattling around in my brain when I stumbled upon this: the Illuminated Mind 6-month “Quit your job and do what you love” Coaching program. He’s taking on six clients for individual coaching, and if you’re accepted into the program, he guarantees you will have built a successful small business and quit your job by the end of six months.

What? What?@! Yes. It costs $3000, and normally I’m the type to hesitate and dilemma-ize all over the map about spending $50 for The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself, let alone three-fricking-thousand dollars!!

But you know what? I really want this. I’m determined to make it happen, and I don’t think I could do it by myself in six months, so then I’d have to worry about what if my job didn’t want me back after taking the summer off, or what if they wouldn’t approve my leave of absence in the first place, and I’d probably mess around for another year and keep breaking my promises to myself. (I’ve said every year since I got this job, “next summer, we’re not rotting in that office!” So far, every summer has been spent, you guessed it, rotting in that office.)

Would I pay $3000 to ensure my success in my desired time frame? Hell yeah. So I applied. Right after that, Corbett Barr posted about investing in your success, and although he was talking about a specific product that’s he’s recommending, the things he said are exactly what I’m thinking with this coaching program. If you invest in something that will teach you, help you grow, and help you bring in way more money than it cost, that’s the smartest thing you can do.

And… I got accepted! I’m one of the six! Yeehaw! I’m totally psyched to be working with Jonathan Mead, whose book just inspired me so much. Bring it on! Let’s do this thing!

So that’s me. What awesome dream are you going to pursue, and what are you going to do to make it happen? Go for it!

About Cara Stein: I'm a writer and dreamer with a PhD in self-reinvention. (Or was that computer science?) Whether you're stuck, lost, or just looking to enjoy your life more, I want to help because I've been there!

Comments (10)

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  1. Corbett Barr says:

    Awesome Cara! Big congrats on the huge step you decided to take here. I can’t wait to see the transformation and progress you go through. Jonathan is the perfect guy to take you through it. Best of luck over the next six months!

    • Cara Stein says:

      Thanks, Corbett! I appreciate the good wishes and all the inspiration you’ve given me these past months on your blogs!

  2. Lach says:

    Woohoo! Rock and roll, Cara! So stoked for you right now. That’s awesome. And you’re totally right—you have to put these things in perspective. Think of the money (and time) you would spend on a college degree or any other business. That’s peanuts in the scheme of things. You are so going to change your life. Hope you’re ready for all the awesome that’s going to rain down on you.

    • Cara Stein says:

      Thanks, Lach! I’m psyched to be getting off the sidelines and taking a leap.

      I am thinking of it like grad school. The next six months are going to be hardcore. I feel like I’m at the top of a mountain, about to start the most awesome ski run ever. Yeehaw! :D

  3. Cordelia says:

    I am so excited for you (and so horribly jealous)! I read this just as I was having an “I should really just quit right now” moment at the office. But rather than flip off the boss and leave my poor husband and dog in dire financial straights, I think I’ll wait it out a little longer and live vicariously through you while continuing to plot my own escape.

    Although that escape might be expedited after reading of your own fabulous and life-changing adventures.

    Can’t wait to hear what comes next for you!!

    ~Cordelia

    • Cara Stein says:

      Although that escape might be expedited after reading of your own fabulous and life-changing adventures.

      Yeah! Nothing would please me more!

      Hang in there, and keep working toward your escape. You and I will join the ranks of the free and awesome–it’s only a matter of time.

      Cara

  4. Jess says:

    LOL! I read your blog, know of your adventures, then read of others’ comments and plots to escape. It makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me that I’m not remotely interested in leaving my current position. I know that’s not the case…I have the perfect job for my family, even if it gets a little extra time-consuming in the evenings, and I really don’t have a huge wanderlust…so I’m content with less? Anyway, good luck and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help out!

    • Cara Stein says:

      You’re already where the rest of us want to be, that’s all. Whether it takes the form of teaching kids to play music or working for yourself, we all want to be doing something we value and enjoy. Once you’ve got that, why would you want to leave it?

  5. [...] I thought I was small, I was small. I thought small, and I acted small. But my awesome coach Jonathan pointed out to me that successful people can tell who is on track to become successful, and they [...]

  6. [...] particular, the package includes a homestudy version of Trailblazer by Jonathan Mead, the awesome coach who helped me quit my job back in July. Trailblazer itself is an unbelievable value–you get [...]

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