Visionaries: The Secret to Making Dreams Come True

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Visionaries: The Secret to Making Dreams Come True

There is a new term in the career jargon called, “portfolio career” used to describe people who juggle more than one job at a time — not necessarily for the financial considerations that you might think, but because they have an interest to learn, or participate in, something greater than themselves.

An example of this would be the wine server, who pours wine on the weekends because he loves wine and wants to share his passion with tourists, but spends his Monday – Friday working at a bank as a loan officer. Or, there’s the programmer, who during the week buries herself in a computer, then works as a hostess on Friday and Saturday nights just for the opportunity to meet new people and help them have a memorable night out.

Or, there’s the graphic designer working for a large corporation where she’d like to be creative director, yet spends her weekends at a local nursery because she’s addicted to helping people grow amazing roses.

Gone are the days where you could rely on one career to see you through your lifetime, and frankly, would you really want to?

Think of TV personality Anthony Bourdain, who has held every job in the restaurant profession, who is also a writer, world traveler, and food aficionado with his own TV show. Do you think that he wishes that he’d remained JUST a chef? JUST a waiter? JUST a bartender? His life shines because he is a visionary who looked at work as a “portfolio career.”

If you open yourself up to the possibility of being a “portfolio dreamer,” someone who works on their dream while experimenting with other lesser dreams, you might enjoy dream success beyond your wildest imagination, but you have to be a real visionary.

And there’s one slight problem with being a visionary … there’s a lot of people out there is the world who might not get you, or your vision.

When those around you don’t get what you are doing, or why you are even doing it, you can be perceived as “weird,” “out of touch,” or “one of those people.” You can end up either looking like Edison-the-brilliant, or Juan-Ponce-de-Leon-the-delusional.

It depends on how your vision turns out. If you become Anthony Bourdain, it’s great. If you become Jon Gosselin, then maybe, it’s not so great.

To my way of thinking 8 Women Dream is this amazing publication that grew out of Heather’s dining room into something read by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. I’ve done so much work on the back side of this blog that I could have built a bridge to Los Angeles from Northern California.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it sure feels that way.

But when the masses come to read this blog, are they thinking that I am the visionary, the “portfolio dreamer” that I see myself to be, or am I “Catherine-Ponce-de-Leon”? You know . . . “Catherine, the-delusional”? Does the fact that I am a “portfolio dreamer” make me a risk, or a benefit to others who might pay me to do what I do here?

Am I a visionary?

Or a nut?

In her book,The Visionary Leader; How To Inspire Success From The Top Down,Susan Bagyura believes that being a visionary is the most important factor to business success and tapping into creativity actually helps you achieve goals. I hear this all the time, except it has often been my experience that although the world may say that … people still look at me like I’m crazy to do what I do.

You’d think living so close to Silicon Valley, California that everyone around me would get the “visionary thing.”

But instead…

“Are you still doing that online thing?”

“8 Women Dream?”


“What is that again, exactly?”

Even a guy I once dated said, “Dating you is like being the person who is going to be left at the station after the train to Paris has left. You are already on that train. I am still standing on the station platform wondering what happend.”

I knew he meant that I was intended to do something big with my life, which meant that I was a risk to him.

At the time I thought he was the crazy one because I was involved in being a great mom to my son. When you love your child and he’s still in school, your big visions are often only as big as your backyard.  I didn’t have any visions beyond helping him do his homework.

Visionaries: The Secret to Making Dreams Come True

But once that precious boy was in bed each night . . .  I’d work on my mom blog and scan the Internet looking for answers on where I might make a difference in the world.  When I finally put up the 8 Women Dream blog and invited some of the most amazing women to write with me — it felt right. It felt like it was possible to make a difference —  I was that girl on a train heading out of town.

Day in, day out the dreamers on this site write some of the most compelling content found anywhere on the Internet on the subject of dreaming big.

Are we in Paris yet? No. But I sure see us there!

Okay … just call it a vision.

According to Donna Dunning of Dunning Personality Experts, the following list describes the typical characteristics and preferences of visionaries —

Visionaries are at their best when they can …

  • Work toward a long-term vision
  • Have time alone to process connections and possibilities
  • Think of new and different ways to interpret what is known
  • Be challenged intellectually
  • Question basic assumptions about what is known
  • Work on complex problems
  • Redefine questions or change the framework they are presented in
  • See many different ways of looking at the same ideas
  • Focus on lifelong learning
  • Avoid routine work
  • Learn about and create theory
  • Have in-depth, one-on-one conversations
  • Find new applications for existing information
  • Use metaphors, symbols, and other abstract figures of speech
  • Be independent and self-motivated
  • Take action and find ways to use their ideas
  • Make models and solve complex problems
  • Improve something or create something better in the world
  • Use planning and organizing
  • Reflect on their knowledge

I could have checked every one of these off with a “yes.”  Yeah, like you don’t already get that about me.  But what does it mean?  Is it a guarentee that my dreams will come true?

I don’t know.  Remember Juan-Ponce-de-Leon . . . ?

So I’ll just leave you with a quote from Bill Hybels

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.”

Which reminds me . . . I’ve got to go now… I’ve got some problems to solve.


  • Someone told me just last week I have a ‘portfolio career’ – I’d never heard the term before so thanks for putting it in such a good light :) 
    Definitely on that train to Paris…

  • Yep – nothing but visionaries over here! Great list… I love the “Work on complex problems” and “Avoid routine work”. Those I can really relate to.

    I’m on the train with you  – and we have definitely left the station!