Aside

Living the Dream

An entrepreneur & CEO wrote me an email around the holidays that sounded just a bit desperate; enough for me to take time out of family time over the holidays to take a meeting. It took her nearly an hour to unveil her dilemma, slowly revealing what she no longer wanted and then, finally, sharing this particulary wild idea about the life she wanted. She was not unclear what she wanted, but she had never seen it done before.

And then she asked me, “Is it okay for me to have this dream”?
I started a recent lunch meeting, by asking “Are you living your dream” because this person embodies this for me. And he stopped and reflected for a second and said back: “If I’m not, what the heck AM I doing… living someone else’s dream?” But sometimes, he added, it is hard to see that I am.
If we don’t know our own dream; perhaps we are saying it’s not important. Or we’re not important enough.
If we ask for permission from others,we are really looking for permission from ourselves. And if we wait for someone else to give it, it might never come. But then, at least, we can blame someone else or the world as a whole.
And sometimes we aren’t present or respectful to our dreams as they are manifesting… in the question, in the process, in the muck and messiness of the unfolding. As Eckhart Tolle tweeted today: “You can’t wait for the end of your problems for you to be present. It has to be done wherever you are—which is now.”

To my friend, the entrepreneur, I simply pose this question: “Are you asking me if you are allowed to have a dream? Because that is not mine to give, only yours to take.

 

Reve

 

 

 

Rêve. In French, it is to dream.
May I ask you, to ask yourself: Are you living your dream?
<I invite you to share your dream aloud, here. >
And for those of you that haven’t already read chrisguillebeau‎’s guide to an unconventional life, there’s some inspiration there for the any one of us wanting to live the life we want. My friend is borrowing my marked up copy now.

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6 Responses:

  1. rgabe. January 13, 2011 at 4:10 am  |  

    Right On Nilofer!

    Reply
  2. JenniferSertl. January 14, 2011 at 3:46 am  |  

    Great post Nilofer!David Whyte’s Work as a Pilgrimage to Identify, Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak and Gregg Levoy’s Callings are also great resources. I think our depression & obesity rates are so high because people are afraid to be “judged” for living the life they imagine.

    Reply
  3. Nilofer Merchant. January 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm  |  

    Many thanks, Jennifer, and I’m a big fan of these resources. Parker Palmer’s “A Hidden Wholeness” is on my short list for reading …

    Reply
  4. thesethings (andy). January 17, 2011 at 2:11 am  |   Reply
  5. beafraid. January 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm  |  

    my dream is to create a webapp that many small businesses use to survive then thrive, be recognized for my efforts, enjoy doing it most days (i know there will be some bad days), make good money so i’m not worried about the future, and feel like i’m making a difference in the world.is it weird when you think about your dreams, they are mostly things that you see other people doing, and you say, I want that, or I want to AVOID that, then you try it, and you don’t know if your idea of the dream is really what you want until you try it. Then maybe you’ll have to adjust your dream to something else. Maybe many people are afraid to get started because they fear failure and embarrasment. i know I am many times. somedays it takes many beers to get past that fear to just try something. and my fears are always worse than the actual situation ever is.

    Reply
  6. Nilofer Merchant. January 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm  |  

    @beafraid – thanks for sharing your dream. Everyone has fear. The question is how we respond.

    Reply

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