One of the very first things I did on day one of the Making Dreams Happen workshop was take a survey of the group. As I suspected, participants fell into four categories:
- Completely clued into their dream
- Got a few different ideas in mind
- Got a faint glimmer or two
- Completely clueless
I knew that between Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, and I, we could definitely help the first three groups. To my clueless friends, I had to deliver the perhaps unwelcome news that over the next four days they may NOT discover the work they were meant to do. Not that myself and the other speakers weren’t ready, willing, and able to do everything they could to help. The reason they may not find their dream is that their dream may not yet be ready to be found.
That’s because, finding your calling is a lot like finding your soul mate. For those lucky enough to be with your life partner, you know that you came together when the right circumstances presented themselves. If you had met a year earlier, you or s/he, may, in one way or another, have been unavailable. When you finally came together it was because you were both in the right place, at the right time, for your hearts and minds to connect.
It’s the same with finding your life work. Take Mathias “Mick” Duda. Duda had been a dairy farmer in Easthampton, Massachusetts. That is until one Halloween night in the early 1960s when he was out plowing under the light of a full moon. When his tractor stalled, Duda went to a neighbor’s to borrow some gas. The neighbor happened to mention that some nearby property was for sale along the Connecticut River.
Mick bought the fertile waterfront property the very next day with the intention of farming. Now and then he’d look out over the river and consider boating as a possible hobby. But since he’d never been on a boat, never mind driven one, he didn’t give it a lot of thought. Over time though, Mick began to recognize the potential the property held and bought a few boats. One thing led to another and in 1975 the Oxbow Marina was born.
Today Mick is the owner of a thriving marina that he runs with the help of his son, daughter, and 30-plus employees. All 300 boats slips are occupied and expansion plans are in the works to accommodate more. In addition to selling boats, Duda’s company also services them. Mick even owns and flies a four-seat Cessna amphibious floatplane so he can better service customers in other locations like Lake George and the Hudson River in New York.
If this dairy farmer hadn’t run out of gas on that fateful Halloween night, he’d probably be milking cows today. Mick’s dream presented itself first in the form of the land for sale and then in the form of an idea to use the riverfront, but in both cases, only when the timing was right.
Does that mean I’m telling you to sit idly by, just waiting for Mr. or Ms. Dream to sweep you off your feet? Not at all. In fact, the more active you are in pursuing current interests and exposing yourself to new learnings and experiences, the more apt you are to meet up with your dream career.
But remember, if it doesn’t happen today or tomorrow or even next year, it may be because the time is not yet right. Don’t worry, your dream is out there. And when you and your dream are ready to come together, just as with a soul mate, it will go one of two ways. You may experience love at first sight and leap into the waiting arms of your long lost dream. Or, you may enjoy the slow dance of falling in love with your dream over time. Either way, be patient. Because when it comes to finding your dream career, timing really is everything.