What To Do When You’ve Stopped Dreaming

Posted by in Career Success | 2 comments

Dreams are getting a lot of bad press these days.

Some of the pie in the sky mentality that’s out there has lost it’s luster because we hear it so much.

Broken heart bored-now via Compfight

Yet, I believe your dreams are a crucial part of figuring out the type of work you love to do.

So if the term dream doesn’t really resonate with you feel free to call it whatever you like.

It can be a dream, a goal, a mission, a bucket list, whatever.

The point is you have something deep inside of you that you want to accomplish in your life.

However, many people don’t know what their dreams are.

Somewhere along the way the obstacles and distractions of life clouded those ideas that made their hearts sing.

If that’s you, here are some ways to begin dreaming again.

Don’t Retire

What do you want to do when you retire?

Retirement seems to be the goal for a lot of people I speak with. But think about this mentality for a minute.

Why do you want to retire? So you can stop doing the sort of work you’re doing now and do whatever you want to do with your time.

So after you retire, go on as many vacations as you want, wake up whenever you want, and watch as much TV as you want. Then what? What will you do with your time?

Listen to your answer to this question. Likely there is a dream hiding somewhere in there just waiting for you to “retire.”

Let me ask you, why not work toward your dream now rather than waiting until you retire someday?

None of us have guarantees. You don’t know if you’ll have someday.

But you do know you have now.

You don’t have to wait, you can start working on your dream now.


There is something about writing down our ideas that brings the jumbled mess in our minds into some sort of clear order.

Journaling, blogging, or even just writing on random post it notes will help you sort out all those ideas and longings that appear for just a moment.

Jot them down spontaneously and then sort through them later. You’ll start to see patterns and themes emerge.

Inspire Yourself

What inspires you? A good story? Art? Music? Cooking? Welding? Athletic excellence? Spend some time engaging in or being part of something that will inspire you regularly.

When I was going to junior college my dream at the time was to transfer to UCLA.

I had a small postcard of a picture of one of the buildings at UCLA and I would prop it up on my desk when I was studying.

That little post card gave me the inspiration to keep studying so I could accomplish my dream. Find your UCLA postcard.

Get the Counsel of Others

Find someone you trust and ask them to brainstorm with you. Filter your ideas against what is expected of you.

However, be careful here. You’ll need to make sure you talk to someone who is objective.

Your spouse, significant other or family members may be very trustworthy but they’re probably not objective.

They will be involved in the outcome of your dreams so they are going to have some built in bias.

Regardless, get the counsel of others to help unlock those ideas and dreams inside you.


Your dreams and desires are a core part of who you are.

The longer we squelch them the less chance they have of ever being accomplished.

So take them out, dust them off, have a nice cup of tea with them.

Then just take one small step to move in the direction of accomplishing them.

Who knows, you just might do something extraordinary.


Question: What’s one thing you can do this week to become more inspired?

  • Joe Stickel


    For the longest time, I didn’t feel like I deserved to have dreams. I was living with the belief that good things didn’t happen to me. It took some work, but I was able to let go of that belief, and now I have a happy present, and I’m very happily planning for an even brighter future.

    You might need to start by giving yourself permission to dream. Maybe you’re beaten up by defeats or past failures and don’t think there’s any place for dreaming in your life. Maybe past dreams haven’t worked out or others tell you it’s impractical to dream. Whatever the reason is that you can’t seem to conjure up a dream, the first step might be to just relax, let go of any negative thoughts
    regarding your “worthiness” of dreaming. Just letting go of the negativity can let something better take it’s place.


    • That’s a great point Joel. Yes, sometimes we need to take a step back and give ourselves permission to dream. What we expect is usually where we end up. So if we expect negative things guess where we end up? If we expect positive things in our lives we’re more likely to get positive things.

      Then when we do experience negative things, it’s a matter of asking ourselves what that made possible in our lives that otherwise wouldn’t be available.

      I’m so glad to hear you gave yourself that permission and now have a happy present with a brighter future.