There are many types of dreams, each as unique as the person who dreamt them up. But we all have them. We all want something out of this thing called life. But what happens when the thing we want most in this world doesn’t materialize? That one thing that we reach for, strive for, fight for, just never happens? This is the risk of dreaming.
I was talking to a friend this week and she said something that was brilliant. It was in reference to herself but I feel it absolutely applies to me as well, she said, “I tend to get expectation hangover.” What she meant was, she would often dream of a big future for herself and when it didn’t happen in a certain amount of time she would fall in to a state of depression. I am also guilty of this.
First, when I was younger I thought I was going to be the next Britney Spears. I kid you not. Eventually I grew out of this and realized that my chances were slim. Thank goodness. So I changed my dream.
In college I studied theatre in hopes that I could have a career in performance art. That was a bigger pill to swallow when I realized that was never going to happen either. That was a few years after college, when I was dead broke, and needed to admit to myself that I should get a real job. A new dream then developed. I decided I wanted to be a writer.
With each new dream came fresh disappointment that the last one did not work out the way I planned. But, with each new dream I also learned from the failure of the last. So the next time, I’m smarter in my pursuit. But I think a large part of it is I started to manage my expectations. This was a trick I learned at work when working with clients. When asked when a project will be completed we always give ourselves a couple extra days just in case something comes up to delay the process. This way, when we complete something earlier than expected the client is thrilled instead of jumping down our throats for being late. Manage the expectation. Give yourself realistic goals and timelines. You will get to your ultimate goal eventually but make sure you are giving yourself enough time and aren’t burning yourself out.
It’s important to manage our own expectations when pursuing a difficult goal. Allow time for life. It will not be ignored. And don’t be too hard on yourself if a deadline isn’t met. You have your entire life to realize your dreams. Just don’t give up.
Until next time, here’s an inspirational quote to get you through:
“Expectation is the root of all heartache” – William Shakespeare