The following is an excerpt from Rob's book Life by Intentions.
"Keep your dreams alive."- Gail Devers Discover the power of perseverance and motivation with our tips on how to keep your dreams alive. Don't let setbacks hold you back - learn how to stay focused and achieve your goals. Read on for inspiration and guidance on fulfilling your aspirations.
How to Keep Your Dreams Alive
When my wife Shelley was growing up, she had always pictured herself being successful in life. She didn't exactly know what kind of career she would have, but she imagined it to be one that paid well while providing her feelings of contribution and personal growth.
Before Shelley and I decided to go back to college and get our degrees, we were both working in fast food. Shelley had been working the morning shifts, and I had been working the evening ones. We were hardly seeing each other and growing increasingly miserable every day.
One morning Shelley looked up from her register to take the next customer's order when she recognized a familiar face from her past. It was one of her elementary school teachers. Immediately upon seeing one of her favorite teachers, she felt unaccomplished and ashamed. Here she was, twenty-seven years old and working as a cashier for minimum wage.
After exchanging pleasantries, Shelley looked her former teacher in the eyes and began to confess how embarrassed she was feeling. She never expected to be still working for minimum wage at this stage in her life.
Reassuringly, her teacher told her that it was okay, and nothing was embarrassing about working hard to help support her family. Surprisingly, her favorite teacher admitted that she didn't know what career path to take in life until she was in her late twenties.
Reigniting the Dream
Running into her teacher reminded Shelley of the personal vision she had created for her life when she was younger. The rest of the day, she kept thinking about how her teacher had also struggled to discover the career she would pursue.
By the end of her shift, Shelley knew that if she were going to start living the life she had imagined for herself many years ago, she would need to make a change. And she would need to make it now.
Inspired, Shelley decided that if she was going to start living up to her own standards and discover a career that matched her childhood vision of success, she wasn't going to make that discovery working in fast food. She knew she had to return to college and finish what she started almost a decade ago.
I define personal vision as your mental map. A framework for how you want your life to be; now and in the future. It's how you want to feel, who you want to spend it with, and what you want to achieve. And the best part is, since the future is yours to decide, is that you have the freedom to begin creating or recreating your maps by harnessing the power of your imagination and intentions.
When you were young, you started charting out the unknown terrain of your future by dreaming about who you wanted to become, what you hoped to accomplish, how you wished to feel, and who you expected to spend it with.
You may have dreamt of living in a big house or driving fast, expensive sports cars. Maybe you envisioned a life of adventure and travel. Perhaps you envisioned going to college, starting a career, getting married, and having kids. As you move forward on your path, your personal vision should always be expanding and growing.
What Does Your Personal Vision Look Like?
While your personal vision is the map you have imagined for your life, future landmarks are the individual accomplishments you choose to put on your map. Graduating from college, starting a career, and having a family represent future landmarks. They're the markers that help you determine if you are on the correct route to accomplish what you have decided to be important in your life.
Shelley created a future landmark when she was a child of having a successful career. Seeing her teacher that day reminded her that being a cashier in a fast-food restaurant wasn't taking her in the direction she desired to go.
The problem was Shelley had temporarily forgotten her personal vision and was quietly drifting through her life. By revisiting her mental map, she quickly noticed that she was off course. This awareness allowed her to reassess where she wanted to go, change directions, and get back on the right path.