Dreamers – it comes to this:
Don’t ignore the wake-up call your dreams are trying to give you.
I can say this to you, cause it almost happened to me.
In last weeks post, “Are You Afraid that Your Dreams Are Not What They Seem?” I described my own photography dreams as they were when I started blogging with 8 Women Dream 2 years ago.
Back then I was confident that I wanted to take the path of becoming a top photographer in my area.
I did every thing I was supposed to do – I had specific goals outlined, and time-lines set. Â I told my friends and family about my dreams, and they got right behind me. Â I started printing images, outlining future coffee table books, and signing up for art fairs.
In the beginning, I thought that becoming “a top photographer” was about was taking amazing photos and challenging myself Â technically with my camera equipment — my belief being that after a lot of hard work, photo outings, and money spent, I would finally ‘make it.’
I knew my dreams would challenge my comfort zones, I was prepared for that. Â Every dreamer encounters obstacles along the way, but about a year ago, I started to feel disconnected to the passion I had for my love of photography — and even in my most challenging moments, this had never happened before.
I did two things to try to find out what was at the heart of my indifference:
I Â started re-reading all of my posts on www.8womendream.com for clues. Â Writing something every week for 2 years gave me a lot of material to review. At first, Â I wasn’t sure at first why I was doing that, but when I was finished it was very clear to me Â — I was able to see it right there in front of me, in my own handwriting.
I went to a workshop in San Francisco lead by master photographer Jerry Ghionis. Â I was there to learn anything I could from one of the worlds’ best. Â It was amazing but not in the way I assumed it would be. Â Â Near the end of the workshop, someone in the crowd asked him,
“Jerry, what is the best way to become a better photographer?” Â He smiled, and simply said,
“To become a better photographer, become a better person.”
And then, something happened.
Some would call it their “ah-ha” moment. Â Their intuition whispered something to them. Â I got the shivers up my back and it felt like someone had literally kicked me in the gut. Â So I decided to pay attention and figure out why.
I realized that I had to totally re-define “top photographer” and what that meant to me – Â because the dream I started with has changed for me.
I love taking photos, but my real passion is helping others explore their dreams – in photography, small business, and education. Â I am driven to want to create space for people to try and fail and learn so that they can carve their own dream path. Â I want to mentor, create, challenge and support – whatever it takes to make it happen for them.
How did I figure it out?
By reviewing my own posts!
I was able to realize when things started to shift. Â The topics of my posts seemed to be less about me, and more about what I could do for others. Â There were weeks that I felt I had nothing of interest or relevance to write about – and that showed the struggle and the indifference I was feeling at the time.
I could read my own excitement when I would talk about group photo outings, sharing my knowledge and experiences with others, and planning events for our photo group that revolved around giving back to the local community and special causes. Â I’ve paid attention to what feels right, and I keep saying yes in that direction.
If you think you are stuck, or that your dreams are not as they seem, follow these suggestions before you take another step:
1. Â Write in a journal.
I had 2 years of blog posts to read. Â It was important to see my own words and the changes I was going through – If you don’t write for a blog, get a blank journal and start writing about your dreams. Â Your goals and what you want to accomplish, and any perceived obstacles int he way of getting what you want. Â Don’t think too much about structure or if it makes sense, just write.
2. Â Review your words often.
Without getting to ‘psycho’ look for words that are passionate, complete, in wonder, or unknown. Â What are you reading in between the lines? Â Can you be honest enough with yourself to know if you are living your own dreams or living someone else’s?
3. Â Don’t Ignore the Wake Up Call
There are signs everywhere to let you know if you are on the right path. Â Don’t ignore them. Â If you feel in your gut that you need to make a change, but you have no idea why, or to what…just commit to the change anyway. Â Your re-defined dreams will start to show themselves eventually.
4. Â Perform a Dream Modification if needed
Set some new goals. Let others close to you know what you are changing and why. Â You will need allies and support to make the shift. Â Don’t hang on to a dream that isn’t yours for the sake of not knowing what yours should be.
Have you ever had a dream wake-up call?