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Plan Your Career
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Make Your Dreams a Reality

Good things can happen if you let yourself dream. Successful people dream all the time. They call it visioning, and it helps them set goals so they can work toward living their dream. You can too.

Your dreams can give you clues about what excites or motivates you. They are what make you want to get going in the morning. If it’s been a while since you’ve felt like leaping out of bed, it may be time to figure out why.

Why are your dreams or vision so important?

If you think that dreaming is just for dreamers, think again. Most successful organizations spend a great deal of time creating a corporate vision. Why? Because creating a vision helps define the future the company really wants. It works the same way for people.

Your dream or vision is your big, bright, high-definition picture of the way you want your life to look. Even if you’re having setbacks or problems right now, you can look at them in the light of your vision and put them in perspective.

For example, consider Jesse’s story. He had to be laid off before he really looked at where he wanted to go with his life. He realized that dealing with car parts wasn’t really his life’s dream. His true love was being around vehicles that were assembled and ready to go—especially the expensive kind!

When Jesse received his layoff notice last year, he thought his world had ended. Even though he had been delivering auto parts since high school and had never been promoted, he liked being around his first love—cars. But now, Jesse has traded in the old delivery van for high-end sports cars. He has joined a dealership that values his knowledge and passion for cars. “I’ve always dreamed of being around great rides, and this sales job is perfect. I just love coming in each day.”

When you believe in your dreams, you believe in yourself. You embrace what you really want. Following your dreams means you will:

  • Have meaning and direction
  • Explore new and interesting paths
  • Meet other dreamers
  • Stay hopeful and young at heart
  • Inspire others
  • Have something to share with others
  • Develop the courage to pursue what you want
  • Live in the moment
  • Find contentment

Why are dreams overlooked?

When we are young, we have no trouble imagining what we’ll be when we grow up. Did the thrill of scoring a goal make you dream of being a pro hockey or soccer player? Did your love of animals let you imagine yourself as a veterinarian or a farmer?

Somewhere along the way, you may have learned from other people in your life to be more realistic and practical. It’s hard to believe in yourself and your vision without the support of people close to you. But if they do not know how to pursue their own dreams, they may not be able support yours.

Sometimes we let other people dream our dreams. Or we forget what our dreams are. But remember, we are never too old to have dreams, and it’s never too late to go after them.

How can you know what your dreams are?

It’s your turn to dream. Sit back and take the time to really think about your dreams and your vision. For this to work for you, your dreams must be what you want, not what your partner, children, parents, or friends want.

The questions in the vision exercise will help you imagine your ideal life. They are designed to help you explore how you want to live—and then your options will be clearer.

If you pay attention to what you like and what’s important to you, your dreams will emerge. Dreams may hit you like lightning or reveal themselves more slowly.

How do you turn your dreams into attainable goals?

The best goals start with your dreams. If your dream became reality, what would your life look like? When you have a clear image in your mind, you can set goals that put you on the right track to reaching that dream.

For example, if your dream is to care for animals, some goals you could set are to:

The following 4-step career plan can help you set and reach your goals:

  1. Get to know yourself. Learn about yourself: who you are, what you value, and what you want.
  2. Explore your occupational options. Discover occupations and explore learning and training options.
  3. Get ready by evaluating your career options. Compare options and make choices.
  4. Take action to achieve your career goals. Choose the career option you want to act on.

You can also check out occupational videos to explore different kinds of work.

Who can help you define your career goals?

If you have worked through the suggestions in this article and you still aren’t sure how to define your career goals, ask for help:

Your dreams may change

You may find that a particular dream is not possible. For example, an ankle injury could put an end to your dream of being a dancer or an athlete.

But even recognizing that dream can allow you to look at other possibilities connected to it. What about coaching or teaching? Or a different sport?

Allowing yourself to pursue your dreams can lead to possibilities you never imagined.

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