Kristy Williams | Five Dreams I’ve Dated

In January 2010, Bain consultant turned stay-at-home mom Kristy Williams wrote a posted titled Five Dreams I Think I'll Date.  At that time, I asked Kristy if she'd be willing to write a follow-up piece in July; she kindly agreed.


Six months ago I began a process of dating some of my dreams – spending some time on several potential dreams to determine which ones I really wanted to pursue. The process was fascinating and shockingly quick. In one case, within an hour I knew it was time to move on to something else. Forcing myself to focus on things I enjoyed in theory helped me to determine where my passions truly lie. The end result culminated in the pursuit of a dream not even on the list.

Outside of those tasks I am duty-bound to perform, I really want to love what I’m doing. And guess what – I don’t, at least right now, love the California governor’s race. I read up on all the candidates from both major parties and determined that my political views were most in line with Meg Whitman’s. However, as I looked into how I could get involved with her campaign, I felt a sense of drudgery instead of excitement. I am not exactly sure why I was so unenthusiastic, but I can’t deny how I felt. Drudgery is not the feeling I want associated with my free time. I suspect someday I will want to become more involved in politics, but for now my focus is elsewhere.

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Dating made it clear that I do enjoy writing, but only opportunistically, as interesting topics come to mind or as publishing opportunities come available. I was able to publish, on, the story of my struggle to conceive, and continue to look for another opportunity to “publish” before the end of the year. As for business consulting, I am helping my sister as she starts a wedding invitation business, (she’s a designer by training; I help on the business and editing side). As I considered other opportunities in this area, I realized that at least in the short-term, I need to be passionate about the person I’m consulting for. My free time is too limited and money not enough of a motivator to engage too deeply in this area right now. So again, an area I enjoy but where I will remain – for now– only moderately involved.

As I considered how to best date my teaching dream, I realized I’m already pursuing this on a small scale – I am the Sunday School teacher for the adults at my church. I love this assignment, but also wanted to try something else. After some deliberation, I decided to start a non-fiction book club. I hoped this would allow me to learn about interesting topics and to discuss them with people I respect. The first three meetings have been a great success. I send out discussion questions in advance and lead the discussion, which seems to meet my desire for teaching, and I also get to learn from the ideas and experiences of others. My favorite read thus far is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Next on the list is Outliers, which should be an interesting departure from the concepts we’ve previously discussed.

Source:  istockphoto

The final potential dream, racing, has been on hold. I’m having a baby in mid-August, and am not so bent on racing to pursue this dream while in my enlarged stated. I’ve been reading up on races in my area and plan to run a 10K within 3 months of the birth and will start “dating” then. A few of the races that really interest me are 5K mud-runs (quite a few exist in my area) and the XTERRA race series (a triathlon involving swimming, mountain biking, and a trail run). I expect a mud-run will happen long before an XTERRA race due to training demands but I intend to accomplish both before baby #3 enters my thoughts.

The most meaningful insight from all this dating and dreaming was inspired by a comment Robin Dickinson left on my initial post – “I read your post with great interest and would like to propose an idea: Mentoring inspiring and compassionate leaders.” This idea excited me more than any of the potential dreams I came up with on my own. As I fleshed out the idea, I decided I wanted to mentor female students from my alma mater, BYU, who were interested in a career in business consulting.

From that effort I realized what I really want to do with my precious time is organize and carry-out a Women in Business Conference at BYU – attended (hopefully) by students, working professionals, and women like myself who are currently focusing their attentions on the home. I’ve been brainstorming the idea for several months now and have recently begun to engage others in order to make this a reality (if you have any interest in planning or participating, please let me know – I’m in the very initial stages of planning and am targeting a March 2011 date and a Provo, UT location).

Source:  istockphoto

In dreaming up and planning this conference, I find myself fully energized. I see a real need to bring together like-minded women to discuss the issues unique to women in business, especially women of faith who value family, motherhood, and excellence in all things. I hope to help students better understand the various paths available to them and identify role models and mentors who can help them as they make important career and life decisions. In addition, I hope the conference can be a valuable tool for those of us far past our school days – providing an opportunity to expand our network, make interesting personal connections, and explore how we can live our faith while developing our talents and keeping up our skills.

Dating my dreams has been a wonderful experience, with the result being far from what I expected. I hope to repeat this exercise every few years and really look forward to what I will discover.

What dream have you dated recently?

Any unexpected dreams, as has been the case with Kristy?

Any thoughts for her about what you'd like to see her do with a Women In Business conference?

Kristy Williams | Five Dreams I Think I’ll Date

Kristy Williams is a former Bain management consultant and corporate strategist who now focuses her time on motherhood and visits to the zoo and beach. She grew up in small town Alberta, Canada and now lives in downtown San Diego.  She loves urban living and hopes to always be able to walk to the grocery store.  Her hobbies including most anything done outdoors, reading The Economist, traveling and planning parties.

Goals have always been a central part of my life.  I like feeling proactive and productive and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes once goals are achieved.  As I read Whitney's article Making Space for Your Dream, I realized that while I continue to set goals, I'm plumb out of dreams.

In the busy years after college, I worked challenging jobs, traveled to many places throughout the world, met a wonderful man whom I married and became a mother.  In the process, I achieved the dreams set in high school and college.  In all the excitement of those years, new dreams weren't really needed.  The pace of my life has now slowed, making room for dreams once again.

But what do I dream of?

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I want dreams I can work on now, recognizing that full realization may be 15-30 years off once the role of full-time mother lessens in intensity.   Many weeks of introspection have yielded five dreams I'm going to consider in 2010.  Each of the five potential dreams is something I enjoy, but until I spend some time with them, I won't know if they merit dream status.  So while I'm happily married, I'm going to spend some time dating this year-dating my dreams to determine which ones are right for me.

Dream No. 1:
Writing (of the non-fiction variety).
My first date has gone well-writing and publishing this post about my dreams has been engaging, stretching and rewarding.  I want to come up with two more topics and find two other places to publish.  Future dates will involve considering how I can make writing a more consistent part of my life.

Do you have any ideas on how to make writing a part of my everyday (or more realistically every week?)

Dream No. 2:
Business consulting.
I did this for a living and, on the whole, enjoyed it.  I love reading about business and chatting with my husband about his start-up.  My first few dates with this dream will be all brainstorming.  How can I consult in my spare time?  Who would be interested in short blocks of commitment?  One option would be to focus on creatives — those selling their wares via a personal website or etsy, or other small business owners.  I could provide support in creating a strategy, identifying a focused market group, setting prices, etc.

Do you know of any creatives whose work you love, or great business ideas generally?

Source:  istockphoto

Dream No. 3:
This can start simply, perhaps by inviting some friends for a one-off class/discussion.  First date:  come up with a topic I'm passionate about (see above?)  Second date:  Develop the material and invite people to come.  Further down the line this could lead to something more structured — maybe a class at the local high school (filled with underprivileged teens) on preparing for college.

Any thoughts on classes that would be interesting?  Or have any of you done something similar?

Dream No. 4
While a long-term dream may be to run for office, my efforts now will involve researching the candidates running for governor in California.  If I like one of the candidates, I'll date some more by looking at ways to get involved in the campaign.  Or I may keep this simple — get involved by joining the on-line dialogue on politically-based sites.

Have you gotten involved in politics locally?  What did you do?  Any sites you'd recommend – perhaps around engagement for women and mothers?

Dream No. 5
Competitive Running/Triathlons
The competitive part is surely many, many years off, but in the meantime, I can get involved in racing.  I'm going to identify five races that pique my interest and start by running in a local 10K.

Readers, what is your favorite race format?  Why?

Source:  istockphoto

With all the focus on dreams this year, I am bound to discover something that excites me and provides enlightenment, energy, and joyful anticipation as I work to determine who I want to become.

What suggestions do you have for Kristy?  Any businesses you'd like to see contract her services?

And yes, she's agreed to write a follow-up post in July — to tell us what she's learning, and how dream speed-dating is going.

What dreams are you going to date? 


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