successful careers start as dreamsMany who work are unaware that successful careers start as dreams.

Three years ago, I ended a 20-year executive recruiting run to focus full-time on helping people find and do meaningful work. When I made my transition, I began by forming thought-leadership in dreams, often the dreams of young people pondering adult careers.

In my early podcast episodes, I asked guests to describe their childhood dreams of work. And that provided some amazing insight.

What often resulted for my guests was that their beautiful childhood career dreams faded, often replaced by adolescent doubt. And worse, terrible advice from high school and college guidance counselors and others led them to despair.

It’s amazing that so many of us achieve wonderful career success despite the well meaning and often awful advice we receive from people that we respect.

Recently, I read an inspiring piece in The Washington Post about career dreams. It describes a beautiful encounter that Queen’s Gambit actor Moses Ingram had with Nana Gyesie, her passionate student adviser from Baltimore City Community College.

successful careers start as dreamsMoses describes her life changing career exploration encounter with Nana:

“[He] never minimized my dreams. He dreamed with me. About everything my dreams could be. And then he brought it down to layman’s terms and was like, ‘Let’s come up with a plan to get you where you want to be.’ And that’s what we did,” Ingram said.

Moses’ previous experience with career exploration advisory was soul-crushing.

The advisor “picked out a thick book of professions, plunked it in front of [Moses] and told her to ‘pick something.'”

We are so glad that, instead of giving up, Moses knocked on Nana’s door.

Successful careers start as dreams when informed adults inspire and encourage young people. And when that happens, our best days lie ahead.

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Image credits: Moses Ingram in a scene from Queen’s Gambit, Netflix; Portrait, Nana Gyesie; The Dan Smolen Experience; Podcast button, J. Brandt Studio for The Dan Smolen Experience.