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How To Think And Act To Realize Your Dreams

How To Think And Act To Realize Your Dreams

The idea of pursuing our dreams can bring up either excitement or anguish in most of us. For a lot of us, those dreams we had as kids when it felt like we could do anything and be anyone, are long extinguished. Settling down in the humdrum of life has led us to give up on our true path to happiness.

That’s not to say the life you have now isn’t making you happy but should you settle for just okay? Perhaps you went the safe route with your job – after all you have a family to support; you can’t go chasing after frivolous dreams. Your parents wouldn’t support you to start the career that you felt so passionate about so you went and got the safe job that does nothing for you? Perhaps you’ve hit a time in your life where you start to re-evaluate your path and what truly makes you happy but you’re not quite sure what to do or where to begin?

For many people realizing their dreams is hard because both mindset and action can be difficult to put into motion. We’ve lived so long not pursuing our dreams so from our comfort zones we look out and see a world of fear, rejection, failure and what ifs. If you feel this is you – you’re longing to pursue your passions and realize your dreams, then this can be achieved with a change in mindset and a good strategy. Follow these steps to get the wheels in motion and pursue those long-forgotten dreams.

1. Adjust Your Mindset to Realize Your Dreams

This is probably the number one inhibitor of dreams – the mindset. Whatever your mindset is tuned to will determine whether or not you can achieve your dreams. It determines how you think and behave and ultimately how successful you will be. There are many negative mindsets that we develop over time and stick with us either out of fear or lack of understanding. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, then it’s time to change your way of thinking.

  • Believing you can’t achieve your dream: The number one dream-squashing mindset. Falsely believing that your dreams are out of reach is usually a product of low self-esteem and fear manifested as excuses. Realize that YOU CAN achieve your dream – you are no different to anyone else who has experienced achievement and courage to go after what they want in life.
  • Your dream is about validation rather than true happiness: Going after a dream that is all about you – recognition, getting rich or even famous – is a big no-no. This is showing your focus is all wrong and you are most likely pursuing a dream that is trying to heal deep-rooted issues. Find something that has a pure motivation behind it and don’t make it about others or status.
  • It won’t require much work or growth on your part: Realizing your dream can be an exciting prospect but it’s important to understand that it may take a lot of effort and growth both on the inside and the outside. Be prepared to fight for what you want and put yourself out there – don’t let fear get the better of you because most of the time fear is just an unjustified emotion based on ideas and past experiences that don’t hold water anymore.
  • Only see the opportunities directly related to your dream: Sometimes opportunities will present themselves but aren’t quite what we want or we feel they are beneath us and our dream. Saying no closes potential paths to exciting places; ones that will take you to realizing your dream. Be prepared to have a mindset that supports saying yes to all opportunities and stop limiting your potential.

2. Identify What Your Dreams Are

For many of us we have an idea of wanting to do something different with our lives but are unsure of exactly what it is. You may have found yourself unemployed and wanting to take this opportunity to finally go after your dream but don’t quite know what it is.

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Ask yourself this question: ideally, if you could choose any path and dream you wanted what would it be?

The key to this question is to relax, ask it to yourself without any pressure and see what comes up. Choose to trust your gut feelings and don’t dismiss anything as silly or unattainable – this is a true insight into what would make you truly happy and once your mindset is in check then you can start to believe that this could happen for you.

For me, when I asked myself this question, I couldn’t give any answers other than I wanted to do something creative. Once that was in my head I noticed more and more instances where writing came up and it planted the seed. I eventually realized I decided that becoming a writer was something I wanted to pursue.

3. Deal With Your Limiting Beliefs

Your limiting beliefs are the thoughts and ideas in your head that justify why you can’t achieve your dreams. They will usually manifest as “but I don’t have the financial security to just follow my dream”, “I’m too old now, there’s no point”, “I’ve never managed to achieve much in my life before so I can’t see how this is going to work out”.

These are damaging and usually come out of fear and lack of trust in yourself. When these come up, try and analyze why they are there. Are they real or are they just created out of fear? Many people who achieve their dreams have made a leap of faith quashing their pesky limiting beliefs – feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Try and find examples in your life or someone you admire to show you that these limiting beliefs aren’t actually true; there’s nothing standing in your way other than your own mind.

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And yes, I came up with ALL these when I first toyed with the idea of making a career out of writing so you aren’t alone!

4. Don’t Listen To Negativity or Opinions That Counteract Yours

There will always be people who will not support your dream – unfortunately this will be a lot more people than you wish it was. But understand that people have their own ideas and thoughts built on their own fears and ways of looking at things and this doesn’t mean they are right. If someone is being negative or unsupportive then accept this and remove yourself from speaking to them about your plans. Instead find people who are excited for you, supportive and believe you will succeed – this will help push you towards your dream and make it a reality.

I came across a lot of opinions and negativity about how I’ll struggle as a writer and it’s not financially secure – why would you want to choose that kind of life? But I chose not to listen to or read negative things – I set my sights on what I wanted to do and solidified my reasons for doing it in my own mind.

5. Don’t Bow To Social Pressures

In relation to the last point, so many of us live our lives due to societal ideas, beliefs and pressures. We live in a world saturated with messages about what we should do. The idea that you should have a safe and stable job and be married with children is a world-wide social pressure. We are made to believe that these things will bring us ultimate happiness but this isn’t the case for everyone. Chasing our dreams is often looked as as irresponsible but who gets the right to say that to you? If you want to pursue a career as a writer rather than sitting on a desk at a reception then you should have the right to do it no matter what people will think or say!

We often use the excuse to live a safe and comfortable life to justify dismissing our dreams. If you find yourself feeling unhappy and frustrated with your current life – that it’s being ruled by other people’s expectations then it’s time to take action.

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Having a career change in my 30s wasn’t exactly ideal according to society. Instead I should have been settled down, making the big money even if it’s in a boring job. But at the end of the day, it’s my life and this is your life – only you get to say what happens in it and realize your dreams.

6. Create A Plan Moving Forward

So you’ve sorted out your mindset, said no to the social pressures and naysayers and decided to take control of your life and realized you deserve to make yourself happy! Now is the time to come up with a plan. Take small steps and start with some research – find people who have done the same thing and look for potential ways to start the ball rolling.

When I realized I wanted to become a writer, I had no idea where to start or if it was truly possible but I didn’t put any pressure on myself. I looked around online and found stories and ideas that reinforced in my mind that this was achievable. I invested in a daily program that took me through the steps to set myself up as a freelancer and built up my confidence.

It’s really important to take small steps to get your mind around the idea that this is possible. Small, achievable steps = more confidence which will take you on your way to realizing your dream.

List any anticipated problems that could arise and how you will deal with, and overcome them. Having a good plan in place will quash any fears of the unknown and give you a sense of comfort.

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7. Don’t Give Up!!

It won’t always be easy (although with the right attitude and planning it can be) so if you come across hurdles, negative talk or opinions and general fears that will crop up from time to time (we are human after all!) then whatever you do don’t give up.

I’m still on my journey to becoming a writer and I still don’t even know where it’ll take me but I know I’m on the right path and following my dream. At the end of the day, life is about your own happiness so go and do what makes you happy.

There are many inspirational people out there who have managed to go out and grab their dreams. If you need any more motivation then check out 9 Famous People Who Will Inspire You To Never Give Up On Your Dreams.

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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