The internet, magazines and even the backs-of-cereal-boxes are filled with inspirational messages, stories and exhortations. Quotes abound as HR bloggers, career coaches and life style experts share words of encouragement:
- “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Les Brown
- “11 Reasons Why You Should Dream Big” Robert – Wanderlust Worker
- “Why You’re Never Too Old To Chase Your Dreams” Caleb James
There’s big business to be had by inspiring others, pushing people to develop good habits, live their authentic lives and clarify their goals and aspirations. Depending upon one’s outlook it’s easy enough to find motivation of the spiritual, religious, financial or career-focused type. Future focused human beings, with a desire to improve their lives, may set goals and dream big as part of a deeper search for personal meaning. People may have aspirations in order to overcome adversity stemming from the death of a family member, the ending of a relationship, or the loss of a job. Sometimes it’s just a bit of restlessness or a lingering feeling that they can find enjoyment and fulfillment by doing something ‘more’ than merely holding a spot on this whirling planet we call Earth.
Positive thinking is great; much better, in my opinion, to look for opportunities than employ a “woe is me; I can’t change things” mindset.
But after a recent conversation I got to wondering if there is any validity to the opinion that there’s a shelf-life on dreams.
- “You don’t have that many years to work before retirement; perhaps you just need to be happy where you are.”
- “What more could you want? You have a pretty great life.”
- “Isn’t your current life enough to make you happy?”
- “You’ve accomplished a lot; isn’t it time to take it easy?”
I know a lot of dreamers. In some cases I could refer to them as idealists or even visionaries. I run into numerous early or mid-stage career HR professionals who know, with certainty, their desired career path; moving into a CHRO role or shifting from a generalist path to a specialization in OD or Learning and Performance. I recently met a guy who wanted to be a professional musician but put that on hold in order to take over his family’s business a few decades ago; but now he’s gigging with various bands and the plan is alive to work towards a recording contract.
Is there an expiration date on dreams? I don’t think so.
“I’m going to dream. Maybe one day I’ll be disappointed that things didn’t work out exactly
as I’d planned, that I didn’t get to write for National Geographic, pen a bestselling novel
or win a literary award, but I will have challenged myself to reach a level that I didn’t
think I could. I would have enjoyed the process, had fun, and even for a little while,
believed all things possible.”