When Your Dreams Hold You Back, Part 1

“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams. Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there.” ~Erma Bombeck

When Dreams Hold You BackDreams are an important thing. They help us to see beyond our current circumstances, to vicariously explore anything without limitations! Dreams can be very powerful, indeed.

But they can also serve to hold us back. As limitless as our dreams are, we are reminded (sometimes in a painful way) of the restrictions that the world of reality can impose on us.

Why do some people have problems moving their dreams from their fantasy worlds into reality? What’s keeping them stuck?


Fear is a big emotion that can significantly impact the choices we make in life. It keeps us safe and warm in our comfort zones. While there are times that the fear keeps us safe, there are other times when it hinders us from using our talents to their full potential.

This came into play for a client of mine who was working toward changing careers. He was in the midst of laying a foundation for making a change to his desired field when he found himself unexpectedly unemployed.

Putting the feelers out to his network, he quickly heard of opportunities in both the industry he had been working in and the one that he was working toward. As activity continued with his job search, he received two offers simultaneously — one in each field.

This presented quite a quandary for my client. In talking through the pros and cons of each position, one thing that came out was that accepting the offer in the new industry was unnerving. What if he made the leap into his new career and he failed?

In the end, he did make the leap. And not only did he survive, he thrived and is now living his dream.

2. Waiting for the “perfect” moment.

This one drives me nuts (mostly because it’s one of my bad habits.)

There is no perfect time. You are never going to have every single little piece in place. You are not going to have 100% of your personal affairs in order. The universe will not be aligned just so in order to guarantee you success.

Case in point – how I started The Job Quest. In the fall of 2008, I quit my job in nonprofit management to devote myself to being a full-time mom to my two young children for a while. Six months later, my husband received notice that he was going to be laid off from his job.

Since neither one of us had been on a serious job search for several years, we threw ourselves into learning what job hunting entailed in the 21st century. Summer 2009 was difficult for our family, but fortunately, my husband was called back to his position a few months after being laid off.

While we were relieved that he was back at work, we were also battered and I was unsure what to do to help our family. Looking for a position in my former field didn’t feel right to either of us. The unpredictable hours of a nonprofit just didn’t fit, especially with having a young family.

As I thought about what to do, I kept talking to folks I had met during my husband’s job search. In particular, Julie Walraven, Jacob Share, and Jackie Barrett-Poindexter provided much encouragement because they believed I added value to the field of job hunting and career management. Eventually, I started offering services to help job seekers find success. Next month, it will be five years since launching my website at melissacooley.com.

I have been blessed to partner with job seekers across America and in Canada; I am very honored when my clients who have entrusted me with their careers return for an update and refer me to their family and friends. Without a doubt, the greatest thrill is hearing “I got the job!” from my clients.

Was any of this carefully timed? Not at all! I just saw the opportunities that presented themselves and went for it. While I am a big supporter of planning in one’s career, there also is a place and time for capitalizing on opportunities before they are gone.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!

Image courtesy of Yasser Alghoflly

Melissa Cooley of The Job Quest, LLC unearths clients’ career examples to showcase the talents and results that make them must-hire candidates. Click here for more information on ways to partner with Melissa for your career success!

Melissa is a contributor to the book Nourish Your Career, has been quoted on Monster.com, Dice.com, and Quintessential Careers, has interviewed numerous times for The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, and has written guest posts for multiple job seeker blogs.

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