Greetings from Washington, D.C.
The “what do you want to be when you grow up?” dreams of children are indeed origin stories that can for adults inform a lifetime of work. When we follow our beautiful dreams, we tend to find an easier path to meaningful work. When we deviate from those dreams, often because of stressful outside factors and people opposing us, we may struggle in the workplace, sometimes settling for work turned meaningless.
An internet search of “work dreams” led us to online discussions about anxiety, depression, and even workplace toxicity. But as adults, we must go to our happy place, to discover beautiful dreams of doing meaningful work.
When I was an executive recruiter, I’d often task my emotionally unsettled talent to try a simple visualization exercise. When they settled in for bed, they’d follow my suggestion to force a beautiful work dream. I’d guide them to get comfortable, close their eyes and imagine a beautiful scene in which they were doing meaningful work alongside the kind of people that they admire, trust, and respect. Some struggled with the exercise—highly stressed people need to keep at it—but others who rose to my challenge took much away from the dream-exercise. Often, I’d hear back from them about how much they missed the beautiful work dreams of their youth.
Beautiful work dreams are for everyone, not just children.
If you find yourself stressed or unhappy at work, find a way to force a beautiful work dream each night so it is the last thing that you remember before nodding off. It may seem like child’s play, but visualization is both powerful and positive; this is the kind of exercise that will help get you along the tightrope to better, more meaningful work experiences.
And when that happens our best days lie ahead.
DAN SMOLEN is founder of The Dan Smolen Experience, LLC. He is also the executive producer and host of The Tightrope Meaningful Work Podcast. Please comment here to let us know how we are doing, and, to offer suggestions for future guests and topics.
Photo credit: Dreaming woman, iStock Photo.