While preparing to speak at an annual professional conference in Las Vegas, I am reflecting on 23 years ago when I was here on vacation–watching the iconic Sands Hotel being demolished to rubble. Just as new hotels replaced the Sands, our lives probably look very different than 23 years ago. You probably had dreams at that time that no longer remained your dream. But what happens when your dream is fading and you’re not sure what’s next?
After returning from my vacation in Vegas 23 years ago, I was excited about starting a new dream job at a well known and respected company in Austin. I believed this job was my train ticket to professional success and a fulfilling dream. However, six months later I hated it– I felt overwhelmed and was a daily ball of stress. I found myself secretly envying the “plant lady”….the lady who came into our office building to take care of the plants. How fun her job must be…just taking care of plants all day rather than dealing with a stressful work environment. I kept this feeling to myself because of my coveted position that I was supposed to cherish.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? You finally get something you’ve wanted for so long, but once you have it you realize it’s not what you thought life would look like, and it’s an extremely odd and deflating place to be. When you’re at a place where you realize your dream is no longer your dream, it doesn’t mean that you have ventured down a wrong path or that you’re doomed for failure–it just means that it was your dream for a “season” in life, and most likely you have evolved to a new season in which it is time to pursue a new dream. Everything is connected. John Maxwell teaches, “Behind every door of opportunity lies another door.”
Although I hated that job and wanted to leave but I had no idea what was next, that job equipped me to land another role in the company which gave me the opportunity to speak and write–two of my favorite professional activities. I was so happy I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do something so much fun. But after two years, I began to grow bored with other aspects of that job. That is when my husband’s entrepreneurial spirit called out to me to leave and start our own publishing business. And even though I was entering a new industry, I was able to capitalize on the skills I had acquired at that prior company to help propel my success.
As I reflect on my previous “dream careers”, I see that each one led to a new door of opportunity that helped prepare me for where I am at today as an executive coach and speaker. So when you are at the point where that quiet voice inside of you tells you that the dream you longed for and finally attained is no longer what you desire, don’t doubt yourself. Most likely, it has equipped your for success in the next season of your life. All you need to do is look for that next door of opportunity that beckons you.