When the Dream Becomes a Drag
You dream and hope and wish and plan and work. Your sights are set on one thing and one thing only.
You're fired up.
You're on FIRE.
Then one day you look up, and you realize: you are still working.
You are working really hard.
But... something has shifted.
You don't feel passionate.
You aren't fired up.
Your sights are foggy and unclear.
What happened to the dream? The hope? The wish?
Did it die?
Or did something inside you die?
You begin to feel guilty. You've worked so hard. You told so many people you wanted it. All of your efforts and resources were going toward this one thing for so very long.
How can the dream have just... shriveled up?
There's some shame. There's some continued pursuit of the dream, but...
it doesn't feel like a dream anymore.
It feels like a total drag.
Oh man... have I been there. I have totally been there.
Once upon a time, I wanted nothing more than to be valedictorian of life. I learned the word "valedictorian" on the school bus, and my six year old self proclaimed to my mother, after dumping my backpack unceremoniously on the floor, "I'm going to be valedictorian of school". She told me I couldn't be valedictorian of school and that I would have to wait until high school because 1st grade didn't have that. Not to fear, I was completely willing to hold out for a few years! I could barely say the word, but I didn't let that stop me. I had my sights set on a goal, and I made sure to be top of my class every single year after that.
I knew it would make me feel proud, prove I was as smart as my sister, and make my parents BEAM.
Did I do it? Hell yes I did. Was it everything I dreamt it to be?
Um... kinda. After a solid 12 years of work, I got a nice gold tassel and got to make a speech.
So... that was fun.
Once upon a time, I wanted nothing more than to be an interior designer in New York City. I wanted a pale pink suit with cream piping and a cream briefcase to match (I didn't have the best fashion sense at the time). I fancied myself the next HGTV interior design star, and nothing was going to stop me.
The Interior Design program at Louisiana State University was highly competitive to get into, but I wasn't afraid. Never had I ever set my sights on a goal that I did not achieve (see previously stated valedictorian goal).
I knew it would make me feel empowered, successful, and make my parents BEAM.
Was it everything I dreamt it to be?
By my sophomore year, I realized I'd made a huge mistake. I didn't want to be an interior designer. But... I'd already put two years into the program, and switching majors meant tacking another two years onto getting my bachelor's degree. So I persevered, got an internship at an architectural lighting design firm in New York City, and... despite the fact that I'd achieved exactly what I set out to do... I completely lost the dream.
Sure, I loved the New York City part of it. The high speed life. The hustle. The bustle. The subway commute. My tiny, un-air conditioned room that I split with 2 other girls. But... it didn't take me long to realize that all I truly wanted was to be an actress. Bright lights. Big City. The limelight.
I ditched the interior design dream like a wet sock.
Once upon a time, I wanted nothing more than to be a Broadway actress.
I knew it would make me feel creative, successful, and it would prove my parents wrong about having a successful career as an artist, and ultimately they would BEAM.
I got my interior design degree and immediately enrolled in a musical theatre BFA program in Missouri. I wanted to wait tables and struggle and pinch my pennies and live the Bohemian artist life in NYC. I graduated with my second bachelor's degree, and I got some profesh acting gigs... and for a minute, it was everything I thought it would be.
But then, after moving to New York and doing the whole struggling Bohemian artist thing for about a year... I realized... all I wanted was to have stability and a normal life and pay my bills without mega anxiety.
While I easily let go of all of my other "once upon a time"s... this one... this one I couldn't shake.
I felt shame that I didn't want it anymore. Even though the goal was no longer serving me. Lighting me up. Feeling like a dream.
I couldn't shake it.
Don't get me wrong... I wasn't tired of the audition ordeal or the constant rejection. It wasn't fatigue.
I simply didn't feel any sort of excitement about what I was doing.
In fact, I was at a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese commercial audition when I realized... I was faking the whole thing. The script was not at all in alignment with any of my beliefs (I was in school for Integrative Nutrition at the time, and promoting Kraft Macaroni and Cheese felt all kinds of oogie), but admitting that I didn't want to act anymore felt like... quitting.
I didn't want to be a quitter.
So for years I persevered. Not living fully.
I finally did take off my acting hat, though. And it was the best decision I ever made.
I'd been ignoring the road signals for far too long, living a life that I didn't love... and I was numbing myself out with food and alcohol.
I'd easily given up all the other "once upon a time"s because I instinctively knew they were simply part of the journey. I learned what I needed to learn and moved on.
The acting one, though? I'd put so much time into it. So many resources. There was so much expectation. I couldn't go back home for a visit without someone asking me, "so--when are you going to be on Broadway?"
I kept going out of shame. I didn't want to let anyone else down.
So what am I saying?
Here's the thing... dreams are fab. Goals are GREAT.
A goal can make you achieve the things you totally 100% imagined for yourself.
But what I've come to realize is... there's something that matters WAY more than achieving the goal.
(Note that in all the previous goals, the feelings I thought they would give me did NOT come to fruition upon achieving or being on the way to achieving the goal.)
Feeling the way I want to feel is more important than achieving any goal under the sun that past-Brittany set for herself.
Past Brittany is a smart cookie, but she isn't psychic. She doesn't know what she's going to encounter down the road.
Setting a goal can be a great way to guide a vision... but it's not necessarily where you'll end up.
How I want to feel, though? That will guide my journey far better than any end game.
So... now... my once upon a time is different.
Once upon a time, I wanted nothing more than to...
feel divine love for myself.
feel feminine empowerment.
feel independently free.
Now the goal is more of an intention...
and it's all about feeling the way I want to feel.
That, my friend, is...
the things that make you feel the way you want to feel are the things that ultimately feed your soul.
I stumbled into this way of thinking when I discovered Danielle Laporte's book The Desire Map. It was this book that lead me to ask myself this question:
How do you want to feel?
I'm inviting you to explore that in my latest offering...
Based on the best-selling book The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
Go ahead and dive in to your desires. Let go of the expectations and the goals and the stuff that's dragging you down, and gift yourself with the freedom to explore...
How you want to feel.