What is your dream? Do you have one?
If you said “no,” don’t feel bad – many people have trouble identifying and articulating their dreams, much less achieving them. According to Whitney Johnson, author of the new book Dare, Dream, Do, one of her motivations for writing the book came from women telling her they didn’t have any dreams.
“When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street in 2005, I was so excited to be talking to women about dreams,” she said. “But when I asked what their dream was, I’d often hear, I don’t have a dream, or I don’t know how to achieve my dream. That saddened me deeply.”
Whitney talked with a motivated group of women in The Motherhood this afternoon about her book, daring to dream and making things happen. She was joined by co-hosts Melanie of Modern Mami; Jenna of A Mom’s Balancing Act; Amanda of Parenting by Dummies; Amie of Mamma Loves; and Morra of Women Online.
“In my experience, women are actually pretty good at the do, the executing of a dream, and even know what that secret place, is — it’s really the daring that is tremendously difficult, because we’ve forgotten it is our privilege to dream,” Whitney said.
“I think our daughters, especially, need to see us daring to do. So often, girls hold back on challenging themselves,” added Melanie of Modern Mami.
Several people noted that fear of failure held them back from daring to dream, but as Whitney pointed out, failure gives you information – not a bad thing. “It does seem that we learn from our mistakes and failures,” said Jenna of A Mom’s Balancing Act. “An important thing for us to understand and to help our children understand as well.”
“Sometimes we can’t articulate a dream because we don’t know what it is… but more frequently, we are afraid to say what we really want for fear of the social cost,” Whitney revealed. “Anna Fels, a Cornell psychiatrist, discovered that women don’t lack ambition. But because we are only considered feminine when we are giving up resources, whether time, money, or praise, then we are in a double bind if we want to dream.”
“I think I am still trying to figure out what my dream is,” said Amanda of Parenting by Dummies, expressing a popular sentiment. “I have a good idea of where I want to be in my life, but not a lot of certainty about how I plan to get there. My birthday is tomorrow though so I’ve been doing a lot of that so-another-year-has-passed thinking lately!”
“Birthdays are great milestones to take stock, I find. You can set intentions for you next year- even little ones!” replied Morra of Women Online.
So how can you effectively discover your dream? Whitney suggests “mining your innate talents (what you do reflexively well), acquired competencies (you’re good at because you’ve practiced), feminine strengths (how do your relational skills and emotional attunement inform your dreams), and deeply-held beliefs (what do you believe about the world).”
“My favorite thing about the book, is that it provides a pattern to follow. That way, when we work and make dreams come true, we start again with the process,” said macyrobinson.
It never hurts to write it down, too. As thienkim said, “2012 is the first year I’ve made a list of things I want to do. Just writing it down puts it out there in the universe. It’s encouraged me to ASK (my word for the year) for things. I’ve accomplished many things from my list already.”
“I think once you figure out what your dream is, figuring out the next steps on how to achieve it, is the hardest part,” said Melanie of Modern Mami.
Amie of Mamma Loves pointed out that it’s especially tough for moms “to balance our dreams and our responsibilities. There is that constant battle between doing what we can to provide for our children v. doing what we love.” And Amanda at Parenting by Dummies agreed, “I always am afraid of making a time commitment or a financial commitment b/c that takes away from my family.”
“It wasn’t that I didn’t have dreams, as much as it was that I didn’t know how to go about reaching them,” agreed CGKoens. “They seemed so huge and the steps to get there were blurry. What I discovered was that sometimes, all it takes is encouragement from one person.”
And Becki pointed out, “I am willing to work harder and persist longer if I believe I have a chance of success. That’s why encouragement (not just empty praise) is so valuable.”
We wish you well in achieving your dreams and leave you with this beautiful sentiment Whitney expressed during the live chat:
“We dream so our children can dream. 1) By dreaming we model for our children how to dream; 2) By dreaming, we avoid foisting our own ambitions on our children because of our unlived life. Paraphrasing, psychologist Carl Jung said, ‘one of the largest influences on a child is the unlived life of a parent.’ When we dream our own dreams, we can let our children dream theirs, and simply bear witness to the lives they will live.”