The Unexpected Path to Finding Your Dream

It's the one question that plagues us, the apparition that haunts our most daring pursuits. We are consumed with it: this insecurity, this fear, this questioning of ourselves.

Beach Photo
Photo credit: Eduardo Unda

What is it?

One simple phrase. A seemingly harmless question that keeps us in the Valley of Amateurs when we should be climbing Professional's Peak:

What am I supposed to do?

What should I write about? Or sing about or talk about or just plain create? Where do I begin?

The answer, my friends, is ANYWHERE. Start here, start there. Just begin. This truly, verily, is indeed the hardest part. I promise you that.

“I could never do that.”

This week, I had a great phone conversation with my friend Bryan Allain, who's doing some really amazing stuff right now.

Of particular note, he's on his way to launching a passion business, something he's wanted to do for 10 years (ever since he started blogging).

As he steps out into a dream, people tell Bryan, “I could never do that.” Or they say they'd like to but aren't quite sure whereto start.

Really, at the heart of it, they're afraid. They want a map and instead they've been given a globe.

Maps and globes

Maps are easy. They're flat and predictable, easy to use to chart out a course. Maps are about points: starting points and destination points.

But maps are also unrealistic. Because the world isn't flat; it's not color-coded and foldable. The world is complex, which is why a globe is a better picture of how we navigate through life.

A globe spins. Really nice globes are topographical, raised in areas where there are mountains. Globes are not the easiest tools in the world to use, but they're a good picture of our lives.

You use a map to travel from state to state, but you use a globe to travel the world. Which would you rather use for your life?

We're not in Kansas anymore

Back to Bryan. When people ask him the specifics of how he's pursuing his dream, he's honest.

He doesn't have a map. He's not even sure what the destination is. All he cares about is moving forward. And that's all you should care about, too.

The analogy Bryan draws is this: Say you live in Kansas. It's not a bad place to live, but you long for the beach. You dream of the waves and sand and sunsets. But you never leave home, because you're not quite sure exactly where on the beach you want to go.

What Bryan would say, and I would echo, is this: Get out of Kansas. That's your first step. Begin to head towards water. As you move, you'll find the beach, and once you're there, you can pick whatever spot you like.

The path to your dream is more about direction than destination.
—Bryan Allain (Tweet this)

Your dream is bigger than you think

Most dreams aren't small. They're big; that's why they're called “dreams.” When you start moving towards yours, you may find it's wider than you first thought.

That's because your dream may not be just one thing. It may be many things, and that's okay.

The point is to not sit still and wait. To not squander your days and nights and weekends, holding out for some gatekeeper to give you permission. To not wait for someone to pick you.

Your beach is waiting. There's an entire waterfront ready to be explored. Go find it.

And if you need help, check out The Art of Work.

Are you waiting for perfection before you begin to pursue your dream? Share in the comments.