We each have a wonderful capacity for imagination that helps us to envision what we want and see new possibilities for our lives. The tricky part is knowing when to use this skill and when to tuck it away. Here are two common scenarios that I see relating to dreaming.
Forgetting to Dream
When I’m out speaking I try to give my audiences at least a few minutes to connect to the creative impulse of imagination. I know that life can get busy and we can get so caught up in the day to day tasks of life and work that we forget to dream.
If we never step out of the hustle and bustle of life we forfeit our ability to influence our life’s direction. Our life starts running us instead of the other way around.
Is your life feeling like a perpetual to-do list without any breathing room? Are you jumping from task to task without any space to pause and reflect on where you’re going? If so, block off a luxurious 30 to 60 minutes on your calendar this week to imagine something you’d like to have in your life in the future. It could be a vacation, a clarification of what you’d like to be doing with your free time, or even a mental picture of what you’re looking for in your next career step. Don’t try to force a dream. Find an area of your life where your creativity is naturally firing. Go dream a little.
Dreaming Yourself Crazy
Many people fall into the first category, but others have the inverse problem. They’re staying in their imagination too long.
For example, I have a sticky note on my computer that says “Dreamtime”. I love stepping out of my normal action taking mode to reflect and imagine what I want to be doing next in my life. Mostly it’s a restorative and helpful practice. Occasionally it goes south.
The signs my time dreaming is becoming unproductive are a fuzzy head, a more obsessive quality of trying to imagine things perfectly (going over the same territory again and again), and a bit of grumpiness. When these signs crop up it’s time to step away from imagination, look at reality, and get to work on accomplishing that very next to-do list item on my list.
Are you spending too much time dreaming and getting into a funny head space from it? Are you checking into your imagination as an avoidance mechanism? If so, press pause on your dreams. Look around at what’s actually happening in your life and take real world actions ASAP.
It’s important to exercise the skill of popping your head up from day to day life to see if you like where you’re going and to more actively direct your future. It’s equally important to balance those dreams with getting back to work. Happy dreaming and happy working!
Which side of the dreaming spectrum do you fall on? Too little dreaming or too much dreaming or somewhere in between? Share your thoughts below!