Dream Job Day Job Dojo

What’s your dream job?

If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?

What’s keeping you from fulfilling your dream job?

It’s seems all the rage to talk about day jobs and dream jobs.

It’s a great discussion and I’m so glad people are discovering passions, dreams, and purpose. I love the whole Quitter thing (read more about it here), the ‘chase your dream’ mantra, and working hard to achieve a goal.

But there’s something in the word ‘dream’ that might need clarification. 

Dreamers vs Dream Doers

Being a creative myself, I have a lot of dreams and a lot of friends who are dreamers. Yet there seem to be two camps of creatives who long to see their dreams materialize into tangible realities.

Camp 1 – Dreamers Self-Talk:

  • I’ll try to do it (read about the ‘I’ll try disease‘).

    James, I think your cover's blown!
    Ludovic Bertron via Compfight
  • I just can’t seem to get organized.
  • I did that and it didn’t work.
  •        Fill in the blank with any excuse here        .

Camp 2 – Dream Doer Self-Talk:

  • I want to make my creativity sustainable for me and my family.
  • I’m making that a reality by working at it 45 minutes in the morning before I head to my day job.
  • Here is what I’ve done so far… (shows list)
  • Here’s the mistakes I’ve made and how I’ve corrected them….(shows other list)

Passive vs Active

For some, the word ‘dream’ implies that it will never happen. That it’s a ghost, apparation, shadow or some other genere of ‘unattainable.’

This is dangerous.

Just as writers avoid passive voice verbs in favor of active voice verbs, dreamers who fail to convert their dreams into action remain passive–letting life happen to them.

That’s a victim’s life.

A life of excuses.

And oddly enough, it feels confortable to dreamers if we live there too long.

Connotation vs Denotative

Perhaps it’s time we redefine the word ‘dream’ as the connotation is blurry between creatives.

Here’s what the dictionary has to say about it…

dream |drēm| noun

  1. a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep: I had a recurrent dream about falling from great heights.
  2. [ in sing. ] a state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings: he had been walking around in a dream all day.
  3. a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal: I fulfilled a childhood dream when I became champion | the girl of my dreams | [ as modifier ] : they’d found their dream home.
  4. an unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy: maybe he could get a job and earn some money—but he knew this was just a dream.
  5. a person or thing perceived as wonderful or perfect: her new man’s an absolute dream | it was a dream of a backhand | she’s a couturier’s dream.

Clearly, some of those definitions are positive, some are negative.

I’d like your help.

I’d like to come up with a new definition for the concept of being a creative an a dreamer.

Question: How would you define dreaming or being a dreamer? Let us know in the comments!

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Daryl

    Good post, Zahndrew. I like what I understand is part of the Yoruba tradition:

    Perhaps dreams are beginnings of recovering the memory of our destiny. They are guides along our journey, not the destination. Dreams come and go. Dreams display our emotions (spirits), including joy, fear, love, anger, and desire. They are not all pleasant, but they always teach us about ourselves. If we ignore them, we miss an opportunity for growth; if we fixate on them, we can lose touch with reality — and miss the message entirely.

    So for me it is helpful to think in terms of living out my destiny, with dreams as spirit guides.

  • Daryl

    Good post, Zahndrew. I like what I understand is part of the Yoruba tradition:

    Before we were born, we each came before the Creator and were given our destiny.
    In the birthing process, however, we forgot;
    and we spend our lives trying to remember our destiny.

    Perhaps dreams are beginnings of recovering the memory of our destiny. They are guides along our journey, not the destination. Dreams come and go. Dreams display our emotions (spirits), including joy, fear, love, anger, and desire. They are not all pleasant, but they always teach us about ourselves. If we ignore them, we miss an opportunity for growth; if we fixate on them, we can lose touch with reality — and miss the message entirely.

    So for me it is helpful to think in terms of living out my destiny, with dreams as spirit guides.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I like the word ‘destiny’ as well… and a lot of what you said about recovering what was/is there Daryl.

      I really appreciate your perspective and insight! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Great post, Andrew. I don’t have any definitions to provide at this point, but I have noticed that I have been a passive dreamer as opposed to an active dreamer as of late, and it has been very frustrating. But now that I know *what* has shifted, I can get back onto the right track. Thanks!

    • Andrew Zahn

      Cool beans Michelle!

      Make it happen.

  • I like to think of my dreams, in the sense of what I want to do with my life, more as glimpses of the future rather than a nice fantasy. Those desires are God’s way of showing me who He has created me to be and giving me something to aim towards.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I like that idea … that dreams are “glimpses of the future.” That makes them more real.

  • Love this Andrew. You always force us out of what’s comfortable in your exercises. Awesome.
    For me, it’s this:
    Dream: The idea that keeps you going when you don’t want to, serving both as the destination, as well as the mode of transportation to get you there.

    • Andrew Zahn

      A dream is a vehicle to carry your destiny then?

      I think an illustrator could make a cool graphic from this idea that you presented Scott!

  • Yes, yes, YES.

    I would define “dreamer” as a state of being, the intersection between vision and execution.

    Or, I would just use this film clip as an illustration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqTZvVBnIjc. Just kidding. 🙂

    • Andrew Zahn

      Ha! Thanks for the video clip Todd! Love those actors.

  • I like aspects of the second and third dictionary definitions of the word “dreamer”: Unaware of immediate surroundings; a cherished aspiration. Dreaming involves a level of mindfulness yet detachment from the mundane. If combined with the motivation to act, dreaming=creating.

    You write in such an organized, readable way, Andrew, and end with a call to action that compels us to respond. I don’t know if it comes naturally to you or if you have to work at it, but it comes across as effortless. I say this because I have such a stream-of-consciousness style myself, and given topics like the one you chose today, I could easily ramble on like a dreamer and never really provide my readers with anything to sink their teeth into.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I do have to work at writing in an organized fashion… but (as with anything) the more I do it, the easier it becomes.

      I like the ‘intentional mindlessness’ concept. Couple that with acting on those dreams and we get those dreams done!

  • Melissa

    Andrew!!! Great post. As a dreamer who has seen so many of my dreams come true…and not come true…I would say that when it comes to the topic, I have lived most of my life like all of my dreams are meant to come true. Living that way has fueled that reality in my life…so many dreams coming true! It has also generated a good amount of opportunity for me to overcome disillusionment and disappointment. Some have given up dreaming and have little hope that they have a destiny because of disillusionment/disappointment and their lack of knowing how to deal with it…I am working through that in this very season. Its intense, but I am inspired when I remember people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or William Wilberforce. They had a dream – and they gave their life to it…I have to say, that is the dream I am after! One I can give my life to…one that is worth dying for…those are my favorite! I don’t even know if this is the kind of thing you are looking for, but there is my contribution. Before you “do” you must “dream” 🙂

  • Great post and topic.

    I think I would define dreams as a desired future of the things that could and might be.