Have you ever dreamt about something for so long only to finally get it and realize that it wasn’t what you thought it would be? It’s pretty disheartening and yet it’s a place that we can find ourselves anytime our reality isn’t what we pictured.  So how do we handle this?

The temptation is to say “I shouldn’t have had this dream in the first place” or to think that you were naive for ever thinking your dream could work. However, sometimes the only way to know the outcome of something is to actually take the risk and experience it.  That being said, there are 3 things you should keep in mind to prevent discouragement when your reality doesn’t match your dreams.

1. Realize That Every Job Has a Reality

I don’t care how perfect or ideal you think your dream job is-there are going to be times that are tough and there are going to be times that you don’t like your reality.  I work at the happiest place on earth and I can tell you that not every moment of every day is full of magic and happiness.  That doesn’t mean that Disney isn’t a happy or magical place or that I dislike my job, it’s just reality.  Every job is going to have its ups and downs. Don’t abandon your dream job just because something isn’t going your way.

2. Identify the Purpose of the Job

“For each job you have to know why you’re taking it.  If you’re doing a job for the money, know why you’re doing it and don’t look for it to fulfill your artistic void … know at the outset why you’re doing a job and don’t lose sight of that, then you won’t be disappointed.”

-Choreographer Jeff Calhoun

This quote is excellent advice.  Too often we expect our dream job to fulfill our every need.  This is a sure setup for disappointment.  However, if you are feeling discouraged about your reality, try to remember the very reason you took that job in the first place.  That will either put things into perspective or it will make you reassess your dreams; which brings me to my next point.

Find Something New

Have you ever seen the Disney movie Tangled? It’s the story of Rapunzel, a girl who has been locked in a tower and has spent her whole life dreaming of leaving the tower so she can be front and center for the one night a year that the kingdom releases hundred of floating lanterns into the night sky. With the help of her newfound friend Flynn Rider, she finally has the opportunity to make her dream a reality.  Just before she is about to come face to face with her dream, she has a moment of fear and doubt where she wonders what will happen if her dream isn’t all she hoped it would be. When she shares this with Flynn, he answers her by saying:

“Well that’s the good part I guess.  You get to go find a new dream.”

Although this isn’t necessarily the response we want to here when we are disappointed with reality, it’s actually very valuable advice. If reassessing the purpose of your dream doesn’t restore your joy or perspective in it and the reality truly isn’t a good one, then it might be time to go in a different direction and that’s okay. Sometimes we have to be willing to face the fact that it’s time to find a new dream.

What does your reality look like? Is it what you pictured it to be? Take a moment to reflect on the purpose of your job or dream. Be honest and ask yourself if you’re living out that purpose. If not, then it’s time to do some soul searching and dream finding.

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