Are you the sacrificial lamb of your dream?
March 23, 2022, Dina-Marie Weineck
Something I ask my clients is “How would this dream of yours turn into your personal nightmare?” Typically, a list of things they would no longer be able to do unfolds. A look of horror settles in on their face. And yet, by the time the list feels complete, they discover what it is they have to protect with all their might while building their dream.
Personally? If my dream of traveling was stolen from me and you’d instead place me in a grey cubical at a 9-5, that’d be a scary nightmare for me. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting near the beach in Lisbon, in a beautiful Café, eating Pastel de Natas.
My business and my lifestyle are, by design, intricately connected. This is something I’ve built over years with the help of strong intentions, clarity on what I wouldn’t trade the world for, and a loving commitment to myself.
Are you the sacrificial lamb of your own dream? Or do you live while building the dream?
Happiness and prosperity are in direct correlation. It boggles my mind that there are still people out there advocating for hustle culture; it leads to burn out, insomnia, unhappiness, and resentment. Sacrificing your wellness will not make your dreams come true.
Consider this story about a client of mine who is in the midst of two job negotiations: two big positions, with big responsibilities, staff reporting to him, and a huge potential impact on the local communities and the industry he works in. Both are remote with on-site requirements. One job is on the East coast, the other on the West coast.
When it comes down to it, what we look at is not how he can be good at both jobs. He doesn’t need that. He’s brilliant at his job. Instead, we assess and take a close (lovingly committed) look at how he can be well in both jobs. For a job well done comes from being well in the job. Let’s shout it for the ones in the back row:
YOU HAVE TO BE WELL IN ORDER DO WELL (and GOOD).
What does being well look like for you? When have you last checked in with yourself and what you need? When have you last met a desire of your own? What do you require from your fees, your working hours, your partner, your boss, yourself, your nutrition, in order to be well?
So let’s talk about what you want. What you want the ability to do. And what a life would look like if you could have it all. Side note: this is a great place to start at when you’re drawing a blank on what next step you want to take professionally, as well.
Back to eating 1.20EUR Pastel de Natas and sipping 1.40EUR coffee by the beach in Lisbon:
The last job I held before I started this business appeared, from the outside, to be a dream job. Yet, I felt as though I’d just robbed myself of the very things I loved the most: travel and flexibility in working space and hours. It wasn’t the job’s fault at all. It was simply a mismatch (and then some).
I realized that I was the sacrificial lamb of my dream, and for my next chapter in life, I would have to get super clear about what I wanted my job to enable me to do – do you notice the riff on an ancient question: What do I need to do for the job? Instead, ask yourself this: What does the job need to do for you? It’s possibly the most selfless question you could ever ask. For when you are Well, you’re doing both Good and Well.
A colleague from that job later asked me (jokingly, I think) if I’d consider returning to the organization for double the pay. Money can’t buy the circumstances anyone needs to thrive in (and thus produce your best work). So, I answered: “Not even for a million dollars!”
Mom, you’ll love this part! (Yeah, she’s on my list and I’m keenly aware of it while writing this email… No pressure <3)
Now, my great-grandfather was a Shipmaster. I’ve never met him personally. However, I vicariously know him through the many stories my granny used to tell us and through the diaries he’s left behind. In the family, we affectionately call him “Captain”.
At 19, Captain left college to train to become a Captain at Sea in Hamburg. He practically begged his father to let him do this. This was in the early 20th century. By 25, he had sailed through all the great world seas, disembarking from the harbors in Hamburg and, you guessed it, from the one right here in Lisbon, from Belem.
His stays in Germany, his home, were never long. His desire to explore the world would inevitably pull him back out onto the sea. On those travels, he has picked up 18 languages fluently, become a prisoner of war in Italy during the first world war, and created stories that still make me laugh so hard that it replaces my ab work out for the day. He was living his best life.
3 generations later, we call his legacy the “travel-gene”.
See? I can’t help it. I’m genetically preconditioned to love traveling!
And truly, when I am traveling, I have my best ideas, my business prospers most easily, client work and creation is an absolute joy, and things happen that are just “meant to be”. I’ll just do without the imprisonment, thanks very much.
So, when I started this business during the chapter post-mismatch-job, I made sure I could maintain all aspects of my business and the service I provide without interruption and from any place in the world that has Wi-Fi.
I couldn’t have done that without an unapologetic clarity about what I wanted: I wanted a business that would enable me to travel. Work while traveling. Traveling while working. Traveling for work. And working in spite of traveling. That clarity about what I wanted out of life became the foundation for how I’ve created my business. That commitment to this lifestyle (aka, what I need to be well) shows up everywhere in my business, right down to the contracts I write. It has become my business’ DNA and continues to enable me to provide the best service I can to my clients.
What is it that your professional situation must enable you to do?
These things become crucial negotiation items. They also become the foundation for agreements with your business partners and romantic partners. They inform the types of proposals you send to potential clients. They help you get clear on your priorities and what really matters. They make you a better salary negotiator and a better, happier worker.
Now, your dream lifestyle might look completely different from mine! My clients all have different things that are important to them – a business, lifestyle, hobby, certain wellness practice, their physical health, their family or children, their parents, etc.
Ultimately, your dream is yours to get clarity on.
Are you lovingly committed to this?
What are you hoping your dream job won’t rob you of? Start protecting that now by getting clear about what that is and by making it a priority.
Um abraço, e com amor,
In peace and love,