August 17, 2008

Living the dream. Life’s a breeze. Not.

During a particularly challenging week at work, I happened upon an article by Robert S. Kaplan titled Reaching your Potential which offered up the teaser, “maybe you feel frustrated with your career–convinced you should be achieving more. You may even wish you had chosen a different career altogether.”

I was definitely frustrated, and even discouraged, but did I wish I had chosen a different path?

Not really.

As I reflected on Kaplan’s article, I realized that I’m right where I want to be.

In sharing this insight with one of my friends, she kindly, but pointedly asked,

“Did you really think that living your dream isn’t challenging, discouraging, and difficult?”

To which I sheepishly replied, “No.”

The truth is there’s a pretty large shred of me which believes that in living my dream, life will be breezy.

This isn’t, and can’t be, true — am I the only one who wants it to be?

Do you remember Psyche’s 3rd task?

The task that requires her to fill a flask with water from a raging river alongside a craggy cliff, a task which is a metaphor for our learning to accomplish goals against inevitable distractions and tough odds.

Psyche_3rd_task

This image is copyrighted by Mallika Sundaramurthy and Whitney Johnson, 2008.

Would it be accurate to say that Psyche didn’t choose to be on the hero’s journey? That she wasn’t precisely where she wanted and needed to be? That she didn’t want to accomplish her goal?

No, no and no.

But it was difficult.

It is for us too.

After one of your tough days, do you find yourself wondering if you really are living your dream? If you’re not — then that is another conversation. If you are, do you ask why things aren’t easier? Why do you think we believe this?

Did you notice how Psyche delegated the task of filling the flask to the eagle? As we are dreaming, whether our dream involves full-time mothering, full-time careering, or some amalgam of the two, what tasks can we delegate?

If you were to interview dare to dreamgirl Dana King, who recently started designHop clubs, and has been featured in St. Louis Magazine, will she tell you she is happily living out her dream? Absolutely. Will she tell you it’s easy? I’ll let you ask her.

Or if you were to interview Rebecca Nielsen, the mother of young twin daughters, who recently wrote about Rightsizing our dream, what will she say? Easy? Hard? Both?

Related posts:
The Myth of Psyche
Psyche’s 3rd Task
Second thoughts on Psyche’s 2nd task
dare to dreamgirl: Dana King
Sucker punch

  • http://torristravels.blogspot.com b

    Whitney, I will be posting about this soon. When the stars are in our eyes, everything seems easy. Yes, even the insurmountable. But when reality comes to call, we face whether it was a true dream or just a pipe dream! I thought you stated it perfectly. The raging stream is the perfect symbol for all that a successful person must overcome to succeed. I thought the delegation of the task paralleled with finding ways to do more was wonderful.
    b

  • Janna

    Yes, on tough days, I definitely wish things were easier. Also, when things get rough, I think it’s because I am thwarting my dream. Sometimes I am, and sometimes it’s just the nature of the process.
    Either way, I am learning to take the energy coming my way (externally or internally generated) and use it for my benefit.

  • http://beantown.menzie.org rebecca

    I just found your site through Macy’s. I’m going to add it to my Google Reader. Thanks for taking time to inspire.

You might also like…

  • Girls_Who_Choose_God_cover

    I Dream of Being a Change-Maker | Bethany Brady Spalding

  • Lynda

    The Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship

  • rsz_photo14

    Clear the Clutter

  • A Portion of Thyself: Thoughts on Mentoring