Yes You Can!
I am living proof that it is possible, and that it can be done!
Twenty years ago, I embarked on a radical life changing process and left the business world behind, and started a new career in psychology.
Looking back it almost seems like a dream, but it was a very doable dream, and I’d like to share with you some of the KEY steps that were important in making it happen!
It is my hope that in sharing the Bigger Pieces of my journey, that it will help you and inspire you to follow your dream as well!
KEY Steps Along The Way
- Take the time to figure out what will deeply stir your soul
- Listen to the beat of your soul / spirit, let your emotions guide you to what will be fulfilling
- Either move strongly towards what you love and seek, or strongly away from what you wish to avoid
- Critically important: Create a strong enduring desire to get what it is that you want.
- WANT IT REALLY BADLY!
For me, this meant leaving a life of high stress and little meaning as a financial analyst, and creating a life with a greater sense of purpose and enjoyment.
- Form a vision in your mind of what your ideal life will look like in the future
- Add as many sensory features as possible to your dream life
- See yourself living that life
- Hear what it will sound like
- Feel the texture of it
- Smell what it will be like
- Taste it if that is possible
- CONNECT with that future part of you that is already living that life
- Go beyond “Wanting” it, to “Being” and “Living” it!
One sunny day in January 1995, I remember having a vision of seeing myself working with people, helping them with their problems, being self-employed, making my own schedule, having time to write and possibly even teach.
The only part of that vision that hasn’t become a reality is the teaching part. And that may happen at some point.
3. AVOID THE NAYSAYERS
- Treat your dream / vision like a precious fragile flame and only share it with those who will nourish and add to your journey
- Sharing your dream prematurely with negative people, or those that do not support your dream, can make you doubt yourself at the early stages of putting your dream into place.
- Surround yourself with positive people and influences
- Ideally have positive role models and mentors / guides if you are to manage it for yourself. You will be thankful later when the going gets tough!
This part was tough. I remember thinking that my parents would not be encouraging of my decision to change career. I was right! I told them 2 weeks before starting school. Their response was classic.
What are you crazy?
To which I was happy that I was able to answer:
No, but I hope to help some people who might need help!
They were unconvinced. They didn’t come around to supporting me in my dream until I was in grad school 5 years later. While it would have been easier to embark on the journey with their support, it was necessary to do it without it. You may need to as well.
For this reason, really know and believe in what you are wanting to do, because those closest to you may not share your vision or support it.
- Want it badly!
- Believe that you can do it!
- WORK THE PROCESS: Everything can be broken down into a process. Find out the steps needed to make it to your dream.
- Be willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve your dream / vision even if that means leaving the life that you know behind you, that could mean moving, it could mean going to school… yes I did say returning to school, something I find most people are unwilling to do sadly. If you want it bad enough and getting more education is the thing to do, apply, enroll, go to school and don’t let getting a degree or certificate stand in your way.
Change of lifestyle alert!
I went from living in a posh apartment in Westmount on my own, and driving a red Toyota Turbo Supra, and eating out all the time, to sharing a two bedroom apartment on the Plateau and taking the bus and subway to school. And as far as eating out all the time… can you say cafeteria?
Changing your lifestyle may be one of the biggest impediments to making your dream a reality. For that reason it is critical to view your current lifestyle almost as baggage, an impediment to getting you to where you want to get to. After you have arrived, you can get all of that stuff back again. Or you may even realize that that stuff isn’t all that important to you any more.
5. INVEST IN YOURSELF!!!
- Think of the time and the money that it will take to achieve your dream / vision as an INVESTMENT in yourself. It is not an EXPENSE!
- Love yourself enough and believe in yourself enough, to want to INVEST in your future. Any money that you spend on your education, or time spent, will be an investment in yourself that will be returned many times over as you create and live the life that you LOVE!
- ALLOW yourself to have and live the life of your dreams. If you don’t love yourself enough and believe that you are worth it, you won’t invest in yourself, and you won’t take the many necessary and difficult steps to create the life that you are longing for.
For me, this meant that instead of looking at the number of years that I would be in school and not earning my usual salary plus increases as an expense, I instead decided to look at it as an “investment” in my future! This made a huge difference and helped me to take on some student debt. It was all investing in my future.
The other part that made it doable for me was reading about a successful surgeon who had a wife, children, a big house and wanted to be an actor. His wife was not too excited about abandoning their lifestyle. He asked her to give him ONE year to try and fulfill his dream. And if it didn’t pan out then he would go back to being a surgeon.
I decided that I too could give myself ONE year. If it didn’t work out then I could go back to the business world. It helped that I didn’t have any dependents at the time.
So I took the leap and enrolled in my first year, and I remember clear as day sitting in my seat in my first ever class in Psychology 101 and thinking to myself:
What the heck am I doing here?
One day led to another and I soon got used to my “new normal”. That first year passed and I did really well, and I decided to “invest” another year in myself. I never looked back after that.
6. TAKE ACTION / TAKE RISKS: Repeat as necessary
- To make your dreams / vision come true you will need to take action, perhaps even abrupt action to step out of the habitual routine that you have created for yourself.
- Based on your plan, map out the timeline to achieve your goals.
- At some point you may come to the end of a “cliff”, such as a necessary return to studies, or a move across the country, or scaling back your lifestyle to create your dream life. Take a calculated risk and take the leap that will get you to the other side / the unknown.
- Trust that there will be something there to catch you. Trust that if you take the step, the bridge will be there to catch you.
For me this meant thinking that I had enough savings to last me roughly a year and a half, of what I thought would be a five year program. I had this strong feeling that somehow the money would be there. In the end it was. Cue: student loans, working part-time, bursaries and eventually family loans.
My advice: It’s not necessary to see the whole path. Just enough to get you well on your way across the bridge. Trust that you will be able to fuel your dreams as you are on the path. Loving the journey that you are on will make you want to find ways to be able to continue on it.
7. ALLOW FOR DEVIATIONS
- As you embark upon your journey, obstacles or opportunities may present themselves that you did not anticipate as you were starting out
- These obstacles or opportunities are not reasons to abandon your course
- They are points on the journey to re-evaluate where you are going, and opportunities to make course corrections
- When you reach your destination, you will be able to look back and connect the dots and see how all of the pieces connected and came together, to get you to this new life that you at one time only dreamed was possible
For me, this turned out to be that my initial dream was to become a psychologist. What I found as I went through my journey, was that the path to becoming a psychologist meant to do research and get a Masters in Clinical Psychology, if not a Doctorate.
I found out much to my chagrin that I didn’t like doing research. I also didn’t want to spend 5 years of my life doing research on a topic that I wasn’t interested in only to become a psychologist!
So I studied Counselling and got to work with people from the very start of my Masters program. I realized later that “helping people” is really what I wanted to do, and Counselling let me do that.
The great irony of my deviation is, that if I had stayed in Quebec, I would have been able to have applied to the Order of Psychologists and been accepted as a Psychologist after graduating. But my plan at that time was to return home to Ontario and be closer to family after being away for so long.
Now BC… that is another unexpected deviation upon the path. One that I cherish. No more freezing winters. Rain, now that is another matter…
- If you follow these steps and possibly discover some of your own along the way, you may be able to enjoy the view from a place that feels deeply rewarding.
- A place that you created because you followed all of these steps
- You believed in yourself
- You wanted it
- You saw yourself living this life
- You allowed yourself to receive it
For me, it boils down to FAITH. I am ever so thankful that I had faith in myself, in life, and the Universe to help get me through to the other side.
There were many people along the way who helped me in ways great and small to achieve my dream, as there will be for you. You don’t have to do it on your own. In fact, when I think of it, some of my biggest accomplishments came with the help of other people.
When it is all done, you too will be able to give back and help those just starting out on their path to their dreams.
Oh yes, PRIDE…. You may have to swallow that several times as you are making your way to your dream life… as you watch family and friends in their new cars, going on vacations, especially to tropical places in the winter, realize that you are doing what you are doing for a very good reason! The beach will be there when you are done!
I must warn you before you take your journey.
No matter how big, how great, or how rewarding your journey may be, once you reach the summit of your dream / vision that you will likely bask in your success for awhile.
But then, when you are ready for more, you will find yourself casting your vision to the horizon and looking for that next big dream / vision that will take you to the next level in your life.
Repeat these steps as many times as necessary. Life is a never-ending journey.
I have had the privilege of helping many people to realize their dreams, and I would be happy to help you make your vision a REALITY.
Contact me and we can get going on building that “bridge” to your new future today!