9 Lives for Women Blog

Date Your Reinvention Dreams | February 26th, 2013

Harvard Business Review blogger Whitney Johnson caught my attention when she tweeted her concept of “dating your dreams”. This makes sense to me because reinvention is so often making a dream happen—if you have the clarity and the stamina to bring all the fuzzy edges into focus. Dating your dreams—trying them out a little and living with them a while before you decide on a career change—takes a lot of the fear and risk out of a transformation.

Whitney has written an entire book about how to materialize work and life dreams, and I encourage you to read her inspiring manifesto: Dare, Dream, Do. In her words, dreams that you “ink” (not just “think”) take on greater possibilities. She encourages dreamers to make lists of reinventions they are pondering:

“I imagine note cards tacked to a large cork board, each card with a word or phrase describing a potential dream written on it. This is your pool of dreams. Maybe you already have a favorite, a dream that you know you want to pursue wholeheartedly. Or maybe, like me, you have a dozen half-formed dreams that you want to try on. At this point you must give yourself time to explore—to take a dream out for a test drive.”

Whitney acknowledges that meandering test drives can be difficult for perfectionists: “…Which is why I believe in dating dreams…when we give ourselves permission to date dreams with a no-commitment clause it is really quite liberating.” The dating concept takes dreams beyond the imaginary into exploratory dabbling and follow-up.

So on Whitney’s cue, here are some dreams that I’ll ink, not just think:

  • Write a book that offers “Vitamin C” confidence building tips in each of my 9 Lives for Women (actually underway!)
  • Create a call-in radio show that helps women navigate the many stages of work and life from college through retirement years
  • Find a way to join forces with influential women to advance family-friendly workplace legislation.

Those are a few of mine…so which of your dreams are you willing to ink, not just think? Whatever they are, Whitney tells us that we must be serial dreamers, dabblers and explorers willing to give up less than optimal ideas and get on with new dreaming: “When we fall off the saddle of our possibilities, we need to get right back up.”  —KAS

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