Exploring Your Story About Why You Don't Already Have Your Dream
As I work through the playbook I am sharing my thoughts and experiences. This page says: Explore your story about why you don’t already have your dream. [Consider the possibility that this story is a lie]
Ouch this can be a hard one!
I noticed that when I am using this question in a class, I usually give an example from my past, because that’s just a lot less scary than exploring the stories that I am currently living.
The story I like to tell is about when I first started taking the personal/spiritual development classes that would lead to me becoming accredited as a teacher – though at the time I didn’t know that this was where this path was leading.
It was a super snowy night and I was the only student who made it to class, so the class was more of a counselling session. As my teacher was asking me about what I wanted my life to be like, I lit up like a Christmas tree and told him in great detail how I wanted to make a living with my creativity, inspiring people to live happier, more meaningful lives.
And when my teacher asked “So… why aren’t you doing that now?”
My answer was that I was! I mean I was doing all I could already! It’s just really hard to make a living with your creativity (this was before the world of online business had opened up the way it is today) and I tried, omg I tried so hard already and just ended up in a place where I needed to get a job.
So, I figured, the timing was off. I was waiting for the right time, for the opportunity to come to me.
I was in a perfect place to receive the opportunity, as soon as it came.
I don’t remember what my teacher said about that, but I do remember how that answer felt in my gut.
It felt like I was lying to myself in this really confusing and uncomfortable way because I believed that my story was true.
And this was before I really knew how to process my feelings so it was this whole thing just felt really uncomfortable and I needed to not explore it.
I mean – I needed to explore it, it would have been in my best interest to explore it – but my fear of emotional discomfort needed for me to not go there because it didn’t know how to navigate the pain of how much it hurt that I had already failed at my creative dreams and, as much as I did want to try again, I didn’t have a clue what to do to succeed.
While I don’t remember what my teacher said, I do know that he encouraged me to attend workshops that would help me learn how to explore my inner emotional landscape.
Obviously – he could see that my inability to be with my uncomfortable feelings was totally stopping me from pursuing my dream.
This is what stops most people.
The story about why you don’t have what you want holds in it the truth about what you need to do next.
It’s a HARD truth to see usually, but it’s also a helpful truth.
So – let’s dive in. What is the story that I am living *right now* about why I don’t have what I want already?
Well the first thing is that I feel somewhat embarrassed about what I want right now. Even though I know for sure that I want it, I have a part of me who thinks I shouldn’t want it.
So that’s not the real story about why I don’t have what I want, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I want to explore the story, so I’ll start there.
(You have to do these explorations in layers sometimes)
Hey, part of me who feels embarrassed about what I want, what’s up?
Well I feel embarrassed that you think you want this.
You don’t think I really want it?
[huge sigh] How could you? How could THIS be your truth? It’s so… so… well shit everyone wants this. You’re creative! BE MORE CREATIVE ABOUT THIS.
I can’t want things that other humans want? I’m a human. I have all sorts of things that other humans have. In fact most of my dreams are dreams that lots of other people have…
But THIS? It’s embarrassing!
Yes, I know you feel that way – but WHY? What is embarrassing about it?
[The voice gets quiet] Well you should already have it. You TEACH dreams. Shouldn’t you already have yours?
Ummm I do have lots of them. And creative dreaming is a way of life, not a destination. So if my dreams don’t keep growing then that means I am stunted in my own process.
Oh yeah that’s true.
And this particular thing I want? It’s a matter of quantity, right? Remember years back and how much I wanted exactly what I have right now? And now that I’ve had that for a few years doesn’t it just make sense that now I want to increase my goal?
I feel really tender about it.
OK that’s good! Feeling tender and vulnerable about how much you want a thing is much better than being embarrassed and trying to shut down the whole process.
Well yeah I think all the eye-rolling was really about trying to insulate you from the vulnerability of admitting that you want what you want.
OK so we’re on the same page now, right? We want the thing we want, even though wanting opens us up to all sorts of vulnerable uncomfortable feelings. Fear of failure. Fear of worthiness. Fear of success. Fear of change, etc, etc, etc.
OK thanks for exploring this with me.
Moving on now – how do I explore my story about why I don’t already have what I want?
Well – now that I have established that yes I do want the thing I want – what’s the story I’m telling myself about why I don’t have it?
Well I can’t do this part without telling you what it is that I want, which actually triggers a new wave of embarrassment, but here we go: I want to make more money in 2018. When I started my business I had a certain income goal and it took me much longer than I thought it would to hit it, but I’ve had it for the last few years which was awesome and now it doesn’t feel like enough anymore.
OK now that I have written it it doesn’t seem to embarrassing. It seems pretty normal and human actually, especially considering the ways that my life has changed this past year.
So what are the things I am telling myself why I don’t already have it?
- I’ve been very deliberate about setting my business up for purpose + meaning, not for maximizing profits. That is still not how I want to put my work out into the world.
- I am a Super Introvert. I do not want the Creative Dream Circle to be huge, I like how it’s this beautiful intimate community – I mean we do this vulnerable dream-growing work there it needs to feel safe. I think it can be bigger than it is, but I always want to keep a cap on it. Until now, inside the Circle is the only way I have wanted to do my classes, but that is already starting to change and this is something I can keep changing (like adding new things, not changing the Circle)
- I am a Super Introvert and being “out there” online is too much for me a lot of the time. When I look at what others do to be more popular online I’m overwhelmed by just thinking about showing up in those ways.
- I never want to be so good at sales that people end up in my classes who are not ready to do the work.
- I am easily overwhelmed! SLOW is my speed and I like the pace I have right now with everything.
- I am happy with my current income! I mean I get to do what I love and I have 100% control over my routines/schedule. It feels greedy to want more.
- What if I’m just not good enough?
Once you have your list, the next step is to go through the list and explore each thing:
Some good questions to start with:
Is this true?
Like, really true?
Am I SURE? How does it feel in my gut?
(Remember my story about feeling uncomfortable and not wanting to explore – being afraid of feeling discomfort means you are afraid of feeling discomfort, it doesn’t mean anything about your dream. Are you willing to get uncomfortable in service to your dream?)
If it is true – what do I do about it? Can I turn a perceived obstacle into an benefit or opportunity somehow? Or how can I work around it? Am I just going to let this stop me from ever having what I want?
If it’s not true – why am I letting it stop me?
What do I want to do differently?
And keep exploring your emotional reactions as you go.
So let’s do this:
I’ve been very deliberate about setting my business up for purpose + meaning, not for maximizing profits. That is still not how I want to put my work out into the world.
Well yes this is true. There is a vibe I get from businesses that have purpose + meaning that is different from businesses that do seem to focus on making as much money as possible.
But my gut feels twisty like there is something hiding in this story.
[Sitting with the twisty feeling and giving it some space]
Oh! The belief that it is EITHER/OR. Of course I can keep my business meaningful and authentic and purposeful and creative and everything else I want AND set a few things up differently to welcome in new income streams.
I am a Super Introvert. I do not want the Creative Dream Circle to be huge, I like how it’s this beautiful intimate community – I mean we do this vulnerable dream-growing work there it needs to feel safe. I think it can be bigger than it is, but I always want to keep a cap on it. Until now, inside the Circle is the only way I have wanted to do my classes, but that is already starting to change and this is something I can keep changing (like adding new things, not changing the Circle)
Ummm yeah this is just a bunch of nonsense and yet it still keeps trying to present itself as a reasonable reason.
And it still feels true at first, it’s only when I sit with it for a few minutes that that sense of being true starts to unravel.
I can limit the size of the Circle and add new programs. I can offer self-study versions which is a very introvert-friendly way of doing things. I can even include periodic group coaching calls so people can still ask me questions, I like doing those.
I mean I am already to start doing these things and have plans to do more in 2018! This excuse is mostly nonsense.
I am a Super Introvert and being “out there” online is too much for me a lot of the time. When I look at what others do to be more popular online I’m overwhelmed by just thinking about showing up in those ways.
Another one that felt so true but that sense of truth starts to unravel when I sit with it.
Of course I would never do what others do. I mean everyone is unique. And yes there are a lot of people following formulas for online business but that has never been me anyway so why would I think I would start that now?
Ha. What a weird excuse and yet it has felt true for years.
Actually I can be very creative, inspiring + purposeful about how I put myself out there. I actually have a lot of cool ideas that I want to explore. Ways of bringing my creativity + joy + art out there that feel FULL of possibility.
And I can have boundaries to protect my own sensitive introverted self-care needs. I mean I already do have those!
Of course when my numbers increase my boundaries may increase as well. I mean I know how to take care of myself by now. This feels like a very old concern that is no longer valid, just that this part of me is not living in the present moment so can’t totally see my current reality.
I never want to be so good at sales that people end up in my classes who are not ready to do the work.
Well it’s not likely that I ever will be that good at it!
As I sit with this one, it feels like a deflection of some kind. But what is it deflecting?
Well I don’t want to be the kind of person who just takes people’s money and doesn’t care if they get what they need from the thing they bought.
And in the Creative Dream Circle I am very responsive to people. I made this map that makes it easier for people to find what will be the most helpful for them in whatever situation they are in. I made a “Ask Andrea” section where people can ask me anything. I offer regular live coaching calls (and let people know they can email me their questions ahead of time so they can get answers + support even if they can’t be there live).
I really try to help.
I can’t offer that level of service to every person who buys a self-study kit. But what can I offer? Hmmm, that is a good question to explore. If I felt sure about what I could offer that would help me feel better about this.
Like – this is just the first idea that came to me so I don’t know but – I could offer a monthly group coaching call for Circle members and include anyone who has a self-study thing so ask any question at all. I do have the capacity to do that kind of thing.
OK I see that there are possibilities there. I need to feel better about this before I can feel better about selling more.
I am easily overwhelmed! SLOW is my speed and I like the pace I have right now with everything.
Wow another one that felt So True but once I sit with it it’s like it has no weight. It’s just smoke…
I do like the pace I have right now with everything and can maintain this pace as I make some changes. I mean I don’t need to suddenly RUN to a new income, I can casually saunter over there.
I am happy with my current income! I mean I get to do what I love and I have 100% control over my routines/schedule. It feels greedy to want more.
Oh, yes this feels true. That inner self who feels greedy to want more is so sensitive.
This is one that needs deeper processing and healing work. Until I have done that, any attempt to move forward with this will be sabotaged. It’s like this part of me has tied my shoelaces together and processing and healing is the only way to untie them.
What if I’m just not good enough?
Another one that needs deeper processing and healing work. This is something almost everyone has to work through when it comes to almost every dream.
The process of making *any* dream real (even the ones you judge as too frivolous or greedy or whatever) means growing towards your true potential. That kind of growth and expansion always means you hit up against the belief system that holds you in your comfort zone.
This is the real work of creative dreaming. You know you have this work done when you are free + able to do the “outer world work” of making the dream real.
So what does this tell me?
It gives me some specific next steps that I can do to move towards my dream:
Explore the following questions:
- HOW do I want to grow new income streams in my business while honouring my super sensitive, super introverted self-care needs? (It feels like there is something powerful living in the intersection of “ways to grow my business” and “ways to honour my needs”)
- HOW do I WANT to put myself out there a little “louder” in ways that feel authentic, inspiring, magical + fun? (Oh wow I feel a lot of possibilities here, I just can’t see them yet)
- How do I make sure to stay high integrity while making changes in my business? (Could it even be true that I can have MORE integrity with a larger business?)
- What would be the right pace for me to make changes and grow my business? (While I am afraid of going too fast, I think I actually may be moving too slow. The RIGHT pace will have a sense of inspiration and momentum to it.)
*By “explore” I mean write them in my journal and give them lots of white space. Keep coming back to them – the aim is to spend several hours with each question, spread out over time. This process allows you to go deeper into the question and come up with new possibilities.
Do the work of deeper processing + healing for:
- The belief that wanting more is greedy.
- The fear that I am just not good enough to pull this off.
So there it is. A list of SIX THINGS (!) I can do right now to move myself towards my dream.
This is the magic of exploring your story about why you don’t already have it.
While it felt excruciatingly uncomfortable to explore some of this stuff, I now feel inspired + excited about moving forward with this.
I feel lightness + possibility! I mean, given how I felt at the start of this – that is a miracle.
So that’s what I mean when I talk about exploring the miracle of your dream in the Dream Lab. By digging in and exploring your reactions to your dream – your feelings and excuses and inspiration and all of it – you actually build the path that leads to your dream.