Research Paper By Misti Patrella
(Self Awareness Coach, UNITED STATES)
Can we actually pursue our dreams? Is this the stuff for only those who get lucky? Can anyone do it? How do we actually make Awesome happen?
This is a case study showing that you absolutely can pursue your dreams. It is quite possible. I am in the process of it myself – twice over actually. And if I can do it, anybody can!
In this review, I will tell you the story of some of my experiences, and some of the important Awesome-empowering things I’ve learned, during the pursuit of my own dreams. I’m letting you in on my life in the hopes that my learnings may be applied to those who are going after their big Awesome. Heck, maybe it will make their adventure a bit easier. And a lot less scary.
Because that is what the pursuit of Awesome really is – the choice to go on a grand adventure. For our instances here, we’ll call it a road trip.
Finally, I will discuss the use of a simple tool I learned as a kid, that assists in going after your dreams – a map. As it turns out, it works for road trips as well. And a methodical process for using this tool to break down the pursuit of your dreams, keep the fear at bay, and even enjoy the process. After all, they are YOUR dreams.
So let’s rehash my journey. I’ll be as brief as possible. Maybe you’ll even learn something.
Let me start with a bit of background to provide context. I grew up pretty much doing everything I was told. I was a good girl, and I was okay with that. I even got a degree in business because my parents told me I could always use it. This did, in fact, end up being true. You were right – both of you…
So, I did the Midwestern thing. I got married, got the house, got the good corporate job, started trying to have children – the whole ‘American Dream.’ Then, it all felt strange. I couldn’t figure it out. I was doing all of the things that I was supposed to do, but both of us could not have been more unhappy. We didn’t like our jobs, we didn’t like the monotony of the burbs, we didn’t enjoy each other. Finally, we ended up separating.
It wasn’t until I lost “everything” that I realized that I didn’t really want the ‘American Dream’ in the first place. I had unwittingly let societal pressures dictate my path. And at this point, I was so lost; I didn’t have any idea what I really wanted. I hadn’t ever considered another option.
Where Are You?
While I was wallowing in my unhappiness at lunch with my Buddhist sister one afternoon, she lovingly said, “Well, close your eyes.”
I actually did. I was desperate.
“If you could see yourself doing anything right now – the happiest you could possibly be – what do you see?”
Immediately an image popped into my mind. I laughed as I opened my eyes – already judging myself.
“What?” she asked.
My sister, probably more curious than anything else, pushed me. “What!?”
Declaration of Awesome
I meekly whispered, “I see myself on stage.”
“Yeah…,” I said squinting as I waited her judgment.
“I love it.”
“What?” I asked, the doubt flooding in. “I’m not a Hollywood type. And I’m in Ohio. How would that even work?”
“I’m sure you can figure it out.” She was right. We had been given tools and encouragement all or our lives to follow our dreams. It was something that both of our parents had instilled in us from an early age.
I was still sweating from outing myself as a wanna-be actor, but my thoughts jumped quickly to the issue at hand. How DOES a corporate marketing exec in Columbus, OH become an actor?!?
And this place right here is precisely the crossroads that most people stop at on the journey to their dreams. A place I call the Jump-Off Spot. This is where the choice is made to go on the adventure, or not. It seems hard. It seems impossible with so many roadblocks in the way.
Where Am I?
How could anyone start acting in Columbus, Ohio, nevertheless someone who has never done it? I’m not a super model. Can I even make money at that? The list can/could/did go on forever. Even looking at it from the outside, would you have recommended that I continue?
The good thing for my dreams? I’m persistent. Even better – challenges make me work even harder. As it turns out, this is a really important trait to the following of dreams.
You. Can’t. Quit.
Inches, Not Yards
At this point, I had no plan, no life coach, no idea. I did have a father, however, who had been teaching me since a young age to go after a bid dream by breaking it down into smaller, manageable steps. So, that’s what I did.
Well, it took another 3-4 months of looking at community theater auditions in the paper to get up the courage to finally go to one. What actually happened is that I had a really bad week. Let’s call it hitting bottom. My divorce finally went through, and that same weekend I went to a Bachellorette party for a dear friend of mine. Needless to say, that was a bad decision on my part. (I’m sorry Amy!)
But, when I got back, I realized that I needed to make some changes. What was I afraid of in this life? So what if I failed. I didn’t have anything to left lose. I already lost it all. Of course that wasn’t really true, but that’s how I felt at the time.
As I drove to my first audition, one I had been eyeing for a few weeks, I remember looking down at my hands shaking on the steering wheel, and saying, “You’re going to do this anyway. You have to try.” I couldn’t live with the regret of NOT doing it any longer.