Friday, February 17, 2012

Are Your Dreams not Going to Happen? How to Change Your Focus and Achieve Success

Do you remember your first real crush? Well, I have a ten year-old daughter and she has had a crush on a boy since last year. She recently went on an overnight (well-supervised) co-ed trip with school and her crush attended as well. This boy was mean to her and treated her very poorly. When she came home she told me, "He was disrespectful to me and I deserve better than that. I am all done with him."

Of course, I was very proud of how well she handled the situation. However, given my career services focus, the situation made me think about how people often react negatively when their dreams are crushed. Just this week, I wrote about doing what you love. What about when we discover what we have been dreaming about is not going to happen? Here are some ideas of how to change your focus to achieve success anyway.

Evaluate the reason why not.
Even if you did not get your "dream job," is it possible that your focus was too narrow? Look at the root cause of the failure to define whether or not you had the right target in mind in the first place.

Skip the pity party.
Try to avoid seeing yourself as a victim and stay away from asking questions like "why me?" or telling yourself "nothing ever goes my way." Seeing yourself as a victim prevents you from taking responsibility for the actions that you need to focus on to change the situation. Instead, ask yourself "what are the positive aspects of what has happened?" and "what can I learn from what has happened so I can make sure it does not happen again?"

Take a break from your dream.
Take some time to focus on something different. This distraction will help you distance yourself from the pain and disappointment of not realizing your dreams. Who knows, you may discover a new skill or passion you never even knew you had.

Deal with it and move on.
Granted, a ten year-old's 5th grade crush is nothing compared to career failure - but to her it was a big deal. Take a page from my daughter's book - accept the failure, deal with it and move on. Try to find a way to still follow your passion, but maybe look at it from a new perspective. Try to avoid looking into the past with feelings of anger, guilt, or regret. The only time we should look back in life is to reminisce about happy memories or learn from past failures.

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