Una's Blog


32 I would love to follow my dream – but I have to pay the bills!

graphic-4by Una Hearne

I hear this so often! I said it myself many years ago. Now I know better. Now I know it is not either /or. Following your dreams and paying your bills are not mutually exclusive.

How it works for you and what the right balance (or even compromise if necessary), is not something you can know until you are engaged in figuring it out, in making the decisions and choices, in doing what is necessary to make it happen.

It is not uncommon for clients’ of mine and course participants (and I absolutely did this myself the first time I set goals with a coach), to create a vision for themselves and then to set it aside saying ‘That’s a lovely fantasy, but back here in the real world I need a job now to pay the bills! Any job!’

What is so nuts about this is not the legitimate concern about earning money to pay the bills. This clearly needs to happen. It is the ridiculous, unfounded and unrealistic conclusion that this means you must discard your dreams.

So, as an example of one scenario, suppose you have to take a job or work at something you don’t particularly like for the moment, to pay your bills, I have some questions:

  • What exactly is stopping you from holding your dream and maybe even spending an hour each week, or month, developing a plan to make it happen? Imagining, research and planning are all within your control, require no financing and are not time bound. These are also the essential first steps to turning a vision or dream into your reality.
  • If you get some of that work done you will probably find there are plenty of small steps you can take which will move you nearer your dream. Anything stopping you from taking these? If so, what, exactly?
  • What parts of your vision can you begin to bring into your life right now? What parts could you give some attention to?
  • If you know for a fact that you could create the work and life you want successfully – what would you do next?

Some people (like me) are risk averse, we take a long time to dream and plan before taking action. Some people jump straight into things and plan as they go. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles. There is no right or wrong and neither way gives any guarantees. You give yourself your best chance of success by keeping going and staying flexible as you learn. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to create your dream, every step makes your life richer and more interesting. It is the journey that fills your life with fun and achievement.

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