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Is Your Dream Alive?

Is Your Dream Alive?
By Todd Durkin

The Bucket List, a film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, hit the theaters in 2007. The critics gave it mixed reviews, but I thought it was great. Two men with terminal cancer, each with a list of unrealized life experiences. Dreams unmet. For Edward Cole (Nicholson) and Carter Chambers (Freeman), basically, it meant a lot to do in very little time. A bucket list is a list of all the things we want to do before we “kick the bucket.” The movie is funny and sad and it made me think. Do I have a bucket list? Do you?

Before seeing this movie, I may not have called it a bucket list, but I have a list of dreams for my life. Some bigger than others. Some realized, some not. Just like you, I have a lot to do in my lifetime. I think about my dreams all the time. They inspire me, keep me focused and motivated. It’s just who I am. But lately, it seems like more and more people tell me their dreams are dying. Some blame it on the economy. No doubt, we’re weary of this recession. But dreams aren’t always tied to money. Burnout, fear of failure or the unknown, limiting beliefs, lack of a support system, too much stress, not enough courage… What stands between you and your dreams?

Here’s my question to you: If you had to choose one, and only one dream to realize in your lifetime, what would it be?  What’s the number one item on your bucket list? It has to be realistic. We’re not talking about do-overs from the past or flying to the moon. We’re talking about chasing a dream and catching it. Making a dream come true.

Dream Job… find a job you love, run a Fortune 500, start your own business, work from home… Dream Vacation… spend a month in Europe, travel to Australia and New Zealand, take a trip to the beautiful New Jersey Shore… Dream Hobby… take up woodworking, become a master gardener, learn photography… Life Dreams… Live on a boat, build a mountain retreat, study massage therapy, hike the Pacific Crest Trail, ride your bike from coast to coast, climb Everest…

Everyday of the year people achieve dreams that once seemed impossible or too distant. What makes them different? How do they do it? Most of them would offer similar advice: You need three things to make your dream come true: belief, focus and energy. Dreams are illusive. To make them real, you’ve got to believe and you’ve got to stay focused. Dreams are demanding. They require extraordinary energy. But, lofty or pragmatic, they inspire us. They allow us to express our deepest desires and to find the self we forever have been seeking.

And one day, we achieve our dream. But then what? A dream come true can at once bring intense satisfaction and fuel our hunger for more, because when we achieve a dream, we are redefined. My goal this month is to challenge you to renew the chase for your dream. No more barriers. No more excuses. Get out the bucket list. Write one down if you never have before and let’s get down to business.

  • Get organized.  I have some favorite sayings… and then some! And I also have some tried and true methods for getting things done. First, get organized. Write down your dreams. Prioritize them. Pick the most important. Figure out what’s required to make it come true. Identify the barriers. Knock ‘em down. Work hard. Stay focused. Build momentum. Believe. Dreams do come true.
  • Know when it’s now or never.  As you read this, I am on vacation with my family (New Jersey Shore, baby!). This “dream” vacation was booked in the middle of a huge project I was working on in April. I needed a very big carrot back then to get me through the long hours, late nights, and tight deadlines, so I just pulled the trigger. Cleared my calendar and booked the tickets. The vision of relaxing with my wife, playing with my kids and seeing my family back home got me through some pretty tough days. My friend, know when it’s time to pull the trigger and get it done. My summer vacation was one little dream on a much larger list, but the lesson is still important. Carry a dream for too long and eventually it dies with you.
  • Win the Day.  I have been saying it everyday for a while. Win the day. I got this from a business colleague of mine – Chris Stuart – and I’ve been living by this mantra. All of us are busy. All of us have a ton on our plate. But the question is, can we compartmentalize the “stuff” in our daily lives – the opportunities, responsibilities and chores – and focus on “winning the day.”
  • Take care of you. There are many ways to do this.  Daily exercise, clean eating, spiritual nourishment. Surround yourself with positive, energetic people, and permit yourself not to be “perfect” all the time. These are ways that you can best take care of you.

Carter Chambers, Morgan Freeman’s character in The Bucket List, has a great line in the movie about the two questions the dead are asked at the gates to heaven. “Have you found joy in your life? Have you brought joy to others?” I am not so naïve to think that life is easy and each of us is now or will eventually be living our dream like some television show. What I am trying to say is that when your mind and your actions align, and you live for a purpose that fulfills your deepest desires and intentions, that is when you find ultimate harmony. Your own personal peace. Those of us lucky enough to know this state of grace are each one more point of light in the world. So get out there and find joy. Share it with others. Make the world better. Make your dream come true.

Peace and love,


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