According to Wikipedia, singer Josh Groban has sold nearly 20 million albums in his short career. The other evening he told his Twitter followers that he’d just finished a two hour voice lesson and  “think it’s time to turn pro.”

So why would a rich and famous performer keep taking lessons? More to the point, why would a would-be entrerpreneur or freelancer or traveler not be investing in their dreams?

It’s that second question that keeps me awake nights.

Brazen Careerist Penelope Trunk had a particularly interesting piece this week called Frugality is a Career Tool. She wrote “I have earned a lot of money in my life. But I have never had an extravagant life. I don’t own a house. I’ve never bought a new car. I’ve never bought a new piece of living room furniture, and I do not own a single piece of real jewelry. What I have spent money on was always intended to help me with my career. That was so I know that I can always earn money doing something I love.” 

If you want good things to happen, you’ve got to take the first step, ask for the date, risk being turned down. Otherwise you’re just practising wishful thinking, which is neither active nor useful. 

How do you notify your dreams that you mean business? Here are a few of my favorite ways.

Get equipped. In Making a Living Without a Job, I tell the story about how things changed for me when I splurged (or so it seemed at the time) on a passport. After years of failing to find a way to bring my travel dreams to life, I got serious and started getting ready for a trip. I bought guidebooks, I thought about my itinerary and wardrobe.

In less than a year, I was headed for the UK. Ever since, my passport has been called into service at least twice a year.

Get dressed. When my granddaugther  showed up at breakfast wearing a fancy dress and rainboots  before heading out to kiindergarten, her father took one look and said “Lose the boots.” 

Zoe was having none of it. “Dad,” she explained, “I’m an artist. I can wear what I want.” 

Costumes are essential to theater and they’re equally essential to building a dream. As they say in some circles, bring the outer into alignment with the inner.

Make space. In Eric Maisel’s The Creativity Book, he advises, “By designating a room as your writing study or rearranging your garage so your band can practice in it, you are setting up a sacred space and honoring your commitment to realize your creative potential.”  

A successful writer observed, “I don’t know where inspiration comes from, but I know that it shows up at my desk every morning when I sit down to write.”

Get connected. Transplant yourself into a dreambuilding environment as often as possible. Gather with others who are motivated and proactive. Make idea gathering your favorite hobby. Listen to inspiring speakers and read eloquent authors who have taken a higher path.

Refuse to believe that you aren’t a good investment because, quite simply, if you want your dreams to show up, you’ve got to show up first. So show ’em you mean business.

9 Responses to “Do Your Dreams Know You Mean Business?”

  1. suz


    Tom is reading Making a Living. Your insights and wisdom genuinely excite him. He’s now asked me out for a date tonight to share his newest ideas and plans…

  2. Jay

    Wow! Penelope Trunk and Eric Maisel in same post?

    And you, too?

    Nice work, Winter!

  3. Barbara Winter

    You’re so right. That is an interesting duo. And don’t forget, Josh Groban was thrown in there as well.

  4. Kathryn Lafond

    I need more that inspires me and less that fires me up. Thank you Barbara, for the inspiration!
    I’m ready to hear more!
    Kathryn Lafond

  5. Barbara Winter

    Kathy, I hear you. I still am perplexed by the “motivators” who gather large crowds, but only create an emotional response. I call it the Jack ’em Up and Glaze ’em Over. I’ll do my best to only give you the real thing.

  6. Regina Mize

    These are wonderful examples of the old adage “act as if” and “fake it ’til you make it”. You have really hit on the difference between merely wishful thinking and turning dreams into reality.

    I often hear clients tell me during our sessions that they couldn’t really do this or that for a living, or that nobody will me to do this. I often remind them that dreams, like any other goal, require action to accomplish. If you plan on having a dinner party, you don’t simply sit around and think about what food you want to serve, the type of centerpiece you want on the table, how you will set the table, or what food and wine you will serve. You perhaps make a grocery and guest list, you call or send invitations to let people know about your event, you might hire a caterer and plan the menu, you might order flowers or go to the store to buy a new outfit for the occasion. In otherwords, you don’t just sit around daydreaming about the event, you take lots of small action steps towards making your vision of your event turn into a reality.

  7. Barbara Winter

    Regina, thanks so much for all of your comments. I love it when people leave good ideas behind.

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