Can’t Dream? Ponder These 3 Questions

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A few of my friends have been fired lately – some of them from jobs they have had for many years.

It’s a sad indicator that the economy is still unstable.

dream bird at the pacific ocean

I’ve also noticed that being “let go” has a funny way of messing with one’s joy.

Back in 2007,  I was fired from a consulting company I worked for 11 years.  It was my absolute dream job. So when that happened, I had lots of emotions –

Anger at them for not valuing me, and mad at myself for not working harder
Fear of running out of money, and
Insecurity about my own strengths and talents that was so strong I felt like a fraud in my own life.

In the days that followed, I would like to say that I was fine, and started to dream about all the wonderful things that could now be possible for me.


I started flailing around, trying to get hired anywhere that would take me.

After about a month I was offered a semi-decent paying sales job in an industry I knew nothing about, and didn’t really care about, either.

Tempting – yes.

But you know in your gut what it’s like to take a job for the wrong reasons.  To go to work every day with that pit in your stomach, wrestling with the logic of staying employed cause at least you have a job, and the integrity struggle of  “I’m a liar every day I go to the office.”

So I said no, and walked away.

Almost 3 years later, I’m on my own as a business coach and consultant.  Not initially the vision I had in mind, but it’s slowly taking shape.  Its’ the most challenging time I’ve had financially – but I’m spending time working with business clients I love, and investing in my future as a photographer.

sunset in bodega bay california

And it’s all a reflection of what I love to do, and what I’ve dreamed my life to be about.

But to be honest, I’m not a natural dreamer – meaning, to dream about the future, to wonder about “what if” and to know exactly what I want and find a way to get it no matter what – that doesn’t come natural to me.

I have to consciously force myself to do it until it becomes natural for me. And I’m confident that it will happen, one day.

But this, I do know:  We can’t accomplish goals we don’t set, and we can’t follow our dreams unless we actually allow ourselves to dream about stuff.

I also it’s hard to get started and to know what to do next.  So I’ll suggest a place to start.

Here are 3 questions that can help you begin to dream:

1.  What are my biggest dreams – and do they have anything to do with what I’m doing right now in my life?  If so, why?  If not, how come?

2.  What would my life look like if I could do exactly what I wanted?

3.  If I had that life, what would it mean to me and to those around me?

If you are still stuck, go to the 8 Women Dream Steps To Find Your Dream Page and work through the exercises there.

I’ll invite you to ponder for a while.  Then WRITE.

You are now dreaming.

Let us know what ends up on the paper.

Until next photo –


Remy’s dream is creating opportunities for photography showings and public displays of her work.

  • Rachel

    I realized that the answer I posted to the first (er second) question didn’t actually answer what was asked (I answered something like what would it be like if I had exactly what I wanted):

    What would my life look like if I could do exactly what I wanted?

    Some brainstorming to the actual question:
    I would dance more.
    I would play more games with the kids.
    I would do the journaling with my son, but more slowly, with less pressure on him.
    I’d go out with my husband more.
    I’d be learning a foreign language… or sign language.
    I’d do a fun thing each week, individually with each child.
    I’d kidnap that nice woman I just met at my husband’s Christmas party and go out with her.
    I’d work fewer hours, and only on the fun projects. Really that means I’d mostly help the newer people with their project, and do the little bug fixes and support work.
    I’d have time to go to a pool with my kids more.
    I’d spend a lot of time doing what I’m doing now with the on-line thing. Hopefully helping others, and being amazed at how much that helps me.
    I’d ski again.
    I’d sit in a cozy living room, by a fire, with my husband, and maybe read.
    I’d go out and see my parents, so I could assure myself they’re okay, or make sure they get more help if they need it.
    I’d go sledding with the kids.
    I’d make a snowman.
    I’d give my husband’s grandparents so much money that his grandmother would quit worrying about money.
    I’d work on getting my voice into performance shape.

    Some of these things are unrealistic. I won’t ski, because it’s not important enough to risk my knees for. But I can play in the snow with the kids. I don’t have a ton of money to give to the grand-P’s. But I can help them out here and there when there’s something they want and can’t afford, or a bill they can’t quite pay. I’m not in a position, unless it’s a dire emergency, to fly out and check on my parents. But I can call them every week, and encourage my brothers to do the same. I can write to the woman they’ve hired as day help, and get her take on how they’re doing.

    It’s also made me realize some things I didn’t know about what’s important to me — and remind me in a really effective way of things I knew, but sometimes forget. I have one item about wanting to dance more. I have a bunch of items about spending more time with family. I realize that it’s okay if I don’t dance more, because there’s so much else worthwhile in my life. The idea of learning a new language doesn’t give me the same warm fuzzies as most of the others. I started to write “play the fiddle again”, but realized I don’t really care about that any more.

    And regarding the upcoming knee surgery:
    1) It looks like pool therapy could be really good for me. Maybe we could get a family membership at the ‘Y’, and I could go regularly to do exercise, and bring kids with me whenever I could schedule it during times they’re allowed.
    2) There will likely come a time when I can no longer dance because of the knee. If bad things happen with the surgery, that time could come soon. But knee problems won’t keep me from singing. I don’t have time to work on both my dance, and my voice, but I realize I don’t need good knees to sing, so I have a great fall-back in that.

  • Great post Remy, and perfect for this time of year when we are reflecting on the year past, and on our dreams…

    Like Rachel, I am going to answer these now and see what I come up with! (and will also reflect more on them in the coming week…).

    1. What are my biggest dreams – and do they have anything to do with what I’m doing right now in my life? If so, why? If not, how come?

    Having my own family (children of my own) with a loving partner and creating a fun, supportive, loving environment for growth and adventures together… Living the most full and fun life I can every day… Writing and publishing best-selling books and doing a lot of public speaking around my books and other inspirational topics… Making a difference in the lives of other women globally… and dancing often. :-) That’s a start!

    I am actually in motion on most of these… we’ll see when it’s the right time for kids but I am dating someone wonderful and we’ll see where that leads us… I DO lead a fun and adventurous life full of travel and joy… I am writing my first book… Have done some public speaking in the past year… And am HERE hopefully making a difference for women. Went out dancing last night! So, a step at a time…

    2. What would my life look like if I could do exactly what I wanted?

    Ah love this question… A short answer here, I will write it as if it’s already happened… and write more on this later! I live in a beautiful cosmopolitan city on the water with my family… We live fun and full lives, enjoying every day and each other… I am doing work that I love which generates great income (writing, speaking, coaching, teaching) and makes a difference, inspiring others to live their best lives… My work really is all about helping others to find their joy and share it. Love is at the center of my life. I have a fun life full of friends and time with family and activities in the city where we live, as well as lots of travels… And am still dancing regularly and often, lots of styles, including my favorites, lindy hop and bellydancing. Also it’s thrilling to have so many best-selling books on the market… Am so happy to have such a big readership! Life is grand and magical. :-)

    3. If I had that life, what would it mean to me and to those around me?

    SO MUCH – to live every day full of love, joy, adventure… To give that gift to my family and friends… To inspire others to live this way… To help others to give themselves permission to live their fullest most fun lives… To help move the world in the direction of more love, peace, fun, joy… Shining our light. :-)

  • Remy G

    Rachel – excellent! Your point is so important. Your dreams should have meaning and significance to you – regardless of how exciting, fun or eccentric it may be to others. What would your life look like if you could do whatever you wanted…..expand on that one…beyond wealth…What activities, who is there, what are you doing – what kinds of things about being a good wife and mother are important to you…what feelings to you get when you think about that? Now you are dreaming more!!!! Thanks for your response! And congratulations to you – happy 2010. Remy

  • Rachel

    I love this post, and I’ve been meaning to come back to it and use it as inspiration for a post on PT ( Here’s a copy of what I finally got around to writing (I quoted, but re-numbered your questions, because my emphasis was a bit different there.)

    1) What would my life look like if I could do exactly what I wanted?
    2) If I had that life, what would it mean to me and to those around me?
    3) What are my biggest dreams – and do they have anything to do with what I’m doing right now in my life? If so, why? If not, how come?

    Answering questions like these can be a great way to drive goal setting. And remember, it doesn’t matter whether your goals are big and exciting. The key is to figure out what YOU want from life. I’m going to try answering them here.

    1) I would be healthy, surrounded by friends and family, and loved.
    2) To me, it would mean contentment. To others, it would mean I was available to help in any way they needed.
    3) Maybe it sounds boring, but my most common childhood dream was always to be a good mother and wife. As I went through some hard times in my young life, I dreamed of stability and security.

    From a goal setting point of view, the thing out of these I most need to work on, is my health. Woo-hoo for me, that’s what I already figured out anyway. Maybe this thing really works!

  • Dana Gervais

    Rem another great blog! Once again I learn something from you – another perspective to “ponder”. I have always believed you are a natural dreamer….just a little more organized than most =)

    Can’t wait to spend time with you and Brian this Holiday Season. I miss you guys.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Oh and two more great photos dear!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Ah the symphony job I took was one of those panic positions and it was filled with people who worked there out of fear of the economy. They felt the job was “recession proof” and they could ride out the economic storm without fear of losing their jobs.

    The only problem was that they hated their jobs and it made for an incredibly unhappy work environment where everyone had something nasty to say about one another behind their backs and they all hated the director.

    It was one of the most toxic work environments I had ever seen. So much for job security. I couldn’t run away fast enough. I still find it fascinating that people were so unhappy working in a so called creative, secure job.

    But I think it has to do with ones own sense of power. I think many of them felt powerless in their positions and felt they had no say in their day to day operations.

    One thing I can say about working in Mortgage banking is that I was always always in control of my work environment and allowed freedom in making my positions what I wanted them to be, as long as the work got done. People really thrive in this kind of environment.

    And working with Heather and Ray, is well, heaven.

    • Remy G

      It can be one of the hardest things to do – to leave the perceived safe yet toxic work environment in search of something better…and to not settle for anything less than ‘heaven’. Its important that my son watches me struggle thru this – and hopefully he’ll have the courage to do it to, if he’s ever faced with it. I don’t regret those icky experiences, cause it gave me an opportunity to understand what I wanted. It was hell, but it was valuable too. And to be in charge of one’s own destiny? That is another blog entry, maybe two! But… later… coffee time now. Rem