Sunday 18 March 2012

What if You Don't Know What Your Dream Is? by Andrea Schroeder

I get this question a lot.

And I think it's a lot less about "What if" and more about "Why don't I know what my dream is?" and probably more importantly "Where can I find my dream?".

If you don't have a dream and don't care about not having a dream - well then you probably aren't reading this anyway.

If you don't have a dream and you do wish you had one - I believe that wish for a dream is actually a sign that you do have a dream... it's just buried under some other stuff right now.

I'm going to share some possible scenarios of what could be happening here and some ideas for what to do with them:

Scenario 1: You know what your dream is, but you are scared to admit it to yourself or to others.

This is completely understandable! Having a dream is scary. Having a dream and going after it means everything could change. Having a dream and going after it means taking big risks. By not admitting that you have a dream, you can avoid all of this change and risk and uncomfortable stuff.

And yet - well, it's still uncomfortable, isn't it?

In avoiding change and risk you also avoid the joy of the dream come true. You avoid the adventure and excitement of the creative dream path. And mostly you avoid doing the thing you really want to be doing.

Your dream isn't a superficial thing. It's important. It comes from your heart and your soul. It's tied to your purpose for being here on this planet.

Avoid the dream and it will not go away. It will only grow more and more difficult to avoid.

But all that stuff you are avoiding? It's real too. And it's scary. Pretending it's not there is not a good plan.

What may work here: Admitting it very quietly by writing it in your journal. Start to give the dream just a little bit of space. You don't have to tell anyone else about it and you certainly don't have to do anything about it. Just give it some space to be and see what comes of that. Baby steps.

Scenario 2: You know what your dream is, but don't believe that you can have it, so it's kind of uncomfortable to think about it.

Awww. First I just want to give you a hug.

Everything I said above about your dream is true:

Your dream isn't a superficial thing. It's important. It comes from your heart and your soul. It's tied to your purpose for being here on this planet.

And also:

Avoid the dream and it will not go away. It will only grow more and more difficult to avoid.

That last part is even more true in this case. Your dream is really important and it is asking you to work through your fear that you don't deserve it or can't have it for some reason. It is asking you to believe.

What may work here: Asking "What if?" What if it was ok for me to pursue this dream? What If if was ok for me to have this dream? And some gentle journaling about deserving - What do I think I deserve? What would have to happen in order for me to believe I deserve more?

Forcing yourself to go after your dream won't be helpful here, working on changing your mind about what is possible for you will be helpful. Taking some slow baby steps towards your dreams may be helpful too - sometimes that "I don't think I can have it" starts to fade when it sees evidence that you really can have it.

Scenario 3: There is so much that you want to do, that you can't pick just one to identify as "your dream".

Well this is actually a fantastic situation to be in, even though it doesn't always feel like it. I really believe it's better to have too many ideas than too few - I always have waaaaaay more ideas and dreams than I can possibly work on.

Sometimes this "I have so much I want to do I can't commit to one thing" is just a way of sabotaging yourself, usually due to one of the fears mentioned above, so you may want to check those out and see if any of the ideas there feel like they may be helpful to you.

If that's not it, then what is happening here is a bottleneck. Too many ideas, too little time/resources and nothing can get through. You relieve the bottleneck by choosing some dreams to work on now and putting the other dreams aside for now.

If the thought of putting some dreams aside makes you freak out a little: look at what is really happening here - the bottleneck is essentially putting all of your dreams aside because none can get through.

If you focus on one or two dreams for now, and actually bring them to life, then it becomes much easier to go back to those other dreams and bring them to life as well. With each dream come true you become more experienced at bringing dreams to life and you open up new possibilities for how to bring your dreams to life.

But still, choosing can be hard.

What may work here: Asking yourself Which dreams am I most passionate about? can help to narrow it down. If you start to work on the dream that you are most passionate about - all of that passion can help to make it happen faster, so you can get back to the other dreams.

Or you can ask Which dreams feel the easiest to work on right now? which is, of course, the easier way to go. Pick the low hanging fruit. Start with the easy dreams and work your way up. It could be that nothing feels easy but something is bound to feel easier than the others.

It can be hard to put some dreams aside. I have a notebook that I put all of my ideas and dreams in. This way it doesn't feel like they are lost, they are waiting for their right time to be brought to life.

And sometimes, because creative dreams are magic, those dreams sitting in the notebook come true all on their own. Because they're been taken out of the bottleneck! Dreams stuck in a bottleneck tend to not come true.

Scenario 4: You really just don't know what your dream is:

Ask yourself: If I could have anything you want, what would it be? If you had no limits. None at all.

Where would you live? How would you live? What would you do? How would you spend your days? How would you feel? What kinds of hobbies would you have? What would your social life be life? Your romantic life? Your finances? Your health? Your creativity? Your spirituality?

Somewhere in all of that there must be something you dream of. Something you want to build in your world.

Your dreams are about so much more than wanting things to be different than they are. Your dreams are how you express your purpose and authenticity and uniqueness. Your dreams are healing. Your dreams can make a huge difference.

So there is is. Four possible reasons why you don't know what your dream is and what to do about it.

Does that answer this question for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea Schroeder lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at


  1. Brilliant! I love Andrea's gentleness -- no ass kicking, get it together, suck it up stuff - "just" gentle, solid HELP.

    I know what my dreams are, but I know there are plenty of folks out there who don't (because I was one of them years ago) - and I hope ALL of them read this!

  2. Thank you so, so much Andrea (and Jaime). I think you just solved it for me--seriously. It's not that I don't know what my dream is, it's that I don't know how to make a living at it so that I can actually LIVE my dream. Wow. Thank you. xx

  3. Yes! I think there's a fifth scenario sometimes too--one that I call "All I want to do is sleep." In this scenario, you can't identify a dream because your current life has worn you down so much that all you can dream of is an endless vacation. There's nothing you really want to do--except take a break. In this scenario, a lot of rest is exactly what you need--and trust that once you are rested, funner dreams will come.