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How to make your career dreams a reality

HI, I live in Anchorage and am a management consultant and writer. I'm founder of™, and I'm author of Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. I author...

Stop dreaming about the perfect career and make it happen

Last week, you had a dream. You thought, “I wish I….” Quickly, you squashed your dream. “Too ambitious,” you said. “I couldn’t possibly accomplish that.” You put the idea out of your mind.

Except your dream lingers. Perhaps you want to run your own business, land a higher paying, more exciting job or retire by the time you turn 50 years old. Maybe you want your boss’ job or to make more than enough money to live on while working only 20 hours weekly. Whatever your dream, you want it.

You can get it.

Dream large

Those who hesitate to dream big neutralize the power of a dream. In the same way the chance to win an Olympic medal keeps an athlete performing at peak levels despite exhaustion, by dreaming large you kindle adrenaline. Remember those days when you rocked at work? Adrenaline and commitment powered those days. You can have those days every day if you fuel your energy with an inspiring dream. Name your dream and then move it from twilight to daybreak.

Face what stops you

Do you feel you’re not good enough? Or that you might not succeed and so don’t try? You’re the author of your mental conversations, so you can create new ones. Tell yourself, “When I establish a goal, I really want and commit to it; nothing can stop me.” Anything you see someone else achieve, you can too — by believing in yourself and releasing your mental parking brake.

Make it real

Move your dream further into reality by painting it concretely. When you have an intense mental picture of your dream, and let yourself feel it materializing, you incorporate this vision into your brain’s electrochemistry. In contrast, a vague dream creates only a blur and fails to kindle the mental energy needed to motivate action. If you want to make more money, get specific — is that $50,000, $75,000, $100,000 or $150,000? Do you want to write a book or one that moves readers to action? By making your dream concrete, you help fill in the gap between a dream and reality.

Stop your sabotage

Do you wait too long for the right moment to start? Giving into fear means you risk settling for good enough. If you want to achieve your dreams, uproot the ways in which you undermine yourself. For example, if you fear risk, consider which feels worse: risking and failing or selling yourself out by giving up before you start. What do you want said at your retirement? “She took a risk and won” or “Whoops, maybe in the next life.”


Cement your likelihood of victory by fully dedicating to your dream. This means not giving yourself an “out.” Think of all the individuals who make a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking, then add, “Unless I really need the cigarette.” Don’t sell yourself out. Commitment creates the difference between achieving what you want and “If only I’d….” To bring a large dream into reality, you need to step up to the plate and take action. Action transforms you from someone who can talk a good story into someone who lives a good story — and brings a dream to life.

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