People toss around this term a lot lately along with synonyms like Dream Career or ‘Follow your Passions’.
But there are a lot of misnomers about Dream Careers. What is it really?
Here are some examples of how my clients have defined ‘Dream Career’ upon first meeting with them:
- They are for “dreamers” and not for people are a serous about making a living
- You can chase them only after you get a good education and get a secure job
- It’s predetermined – fate – you have to be one of the lucky ones
- Dream Careers are for other people, not us.
- It’s great to have dreams but they’re unrealistic
- Dream Careers are not secure
- Dreams are something you pursue outside of office hours
With these kinds of messages, no wonder more people aren’t doing what they love at work. According to a Deloitte study, only 12% of America’s workforce possesses the attributes of worker passion.
Looking back at the history of work, for the vast majority of humanity, work was mostly drudgery. Mark Twain said, “Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.”
The history is captured in the word itself. The Latin labor means drudgery or toil, while the French travail derives from the tripalium, an ancient Roman instrument of torture made of three sticks.
The message of the ‘grin and bear it’ school of thought has been passed down from generation to generation.
Maya Angelou, American author and memoirist said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
Well, now we know better. You can actually do both. You can do what you love AND make money doing it. Your work life can now resonate with your purpose. This is not for the faint of heart. It is not a shallow pursuit.
For those watching this and believing that all they have to do is follow their passion and money will come pouring in, you will be greatly disappointed. I have guided hundreds of people to pursue their Dream Career but I begin my relationship with each one by telling them that this is only for those who take their dream seriously and are willing to work hard for it. I say that Dream Careers are not a fantasy!
Never before in the history of work in the world
has there been a better time to do what you love.
In many democratic societies, everyone has a right to work as they see fit. Technology has made it possible for the little guy to start something with very little capital. Computer prices have fallen dramatically. You can get your own website up and running for free. You can begin marketing yourself with social media for free. And when you need help in an area that is not your strength, you now have the ability to look around the world for assistance on freelance sites at very cheap rates because of the advent of the internet. You can even put up a video for the world to see using your own phone.
However, you need to get the order right. I advise my clients to…
First, focus on identifying your passion and purpose. Because people often don’t know how to do this, I created a program to do just that and I have successfully guided many people through the program to discover their own unique Dream Career.
Then, as American essayist Henry David Thoreau said, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”
So, secondly – and this is a MUST - you need to figure out how to create revenue from your dream. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky fantasy. This involves researching and understanding your ideal target market, creating a minimum viable product (MVP) and then selling it for proof of concept. This is where many people get it wrong. They just see “follow your passions” and think this is some kind of fluff for entitled people. In the way I approach it, it is not. If you approach it as a serious business, anyone can do this. It is not dependent on your level of education, your wealth or lack thereof, your marketing talents – and not even your business acumen. I have helped people who told me they didn’t think they could run a “business”. So, I told them to call it selling their product or service in exchange for money. They understood and liked that and many were successful doing just that.
My philosophy is that if it is now possible to start your Dream Career, then why not? After all, most people spend more time at work than in any other activity in their lives. So, for all those pragmatic people, doesn’t it make more sense that if you can enjoy your work, why not do it?
We now have the capacity to raise the bar for work and call it a vocation. Vocation comes from the Latin term ‘calling’. Why settle for ‘work’ when you have the ability to pursue your ‘vocation’? Work has always meant serving other people. Well, what if you could serve other people in an area where you can also serve yourself?
It will be a win-win-win.
- One of the tremendous benefits of pursuing something that is meaningful to you, is that it often gives your life meaning. Research is showing that purpose and meaning are important factors in your health.
- Other reasons to get into your Dream Career is that your clients will appreciate being served by someone who actually enjoys what they are doing and
- By doing so, you will probably be more productive.
Let’s shift our beliefs about work from ancient times and into the 21st century. The advances in technology have given us the tools to do it with WORK.
Live Your Dream at Work
Dr. Sam Gerstein
Business Mindset Strategy Coach, M.D., Author,