Are You Living Your Dream?

Nancy Anderson
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That path to a dream career is rarely straight — occasionally, it's important to pause, reevaluate your progress and consider a change of direction. By looking for signs of happiness or dissatisfaction, you can determine whether you're living your dream.


Clarity is a key part of achieving your dream career — if you don't know what you want, it's difficult to pursue it. Examine your goals. Are they clearly defined? Do you know the intermediate steps to take? With this clarity, you can be content in a stepping-stone job because you know it's moving you closer to the end goal. If you're not living your dream, on the other hand, you might feel confused or directionless. You might not have a vision of the future or even the next step in your career.


Arriving at a dream career is a long process that involves a great deal of work. When you pursue a true dream, it's easy to find the motivation to push through the intermediate steps. Consider your to-do list and the things you must do to reach your dream. Do they fill you with excitement? Do you feel determined to power through each item? Do you feel the satisfaction of accomplishment at the end of each week or month? If so, it's a sign that you're pursuing the dream that's right for you. If not, or if you feel bored or without passion, it might be time to adjust your goals.


An internal sense of peace is a sign that you're living your dream. When your actions and goals are aligned, calmness and confidence follow. If you're pursuing a dream that's not quite right, however, peace can be elusive. Signs that you're not at peace include restlessness, an unsettled feeling or constant doubts. You might find yourself unable to accept reassurance from family and friends, even when it's logical. Do you daydream about quitting your job? Do you dwell on everything that's wrong with your current trajectory? These might be signs that your dream career isn't the right fit.


Persistent unhappiness is a sign that you're not on route to your dream career. When you're unhappy, negative aspects can seem disproportionately large. You might find it impossible to see a way around challenges and roadblocks, or you might feel that your own imperfections stand in the way of true success. When you're happy and fulfilled, you can still see these weak spots, but you also have the confidence and positivity to overcome them. Other signs of happiness include a feeling of well-being, a positive outlook and a sense of lightness.

Finding your dream career is a lifelong process with unexpected twists and turns. By pausing occasionally to take a personal inventory, you can spot problems and correct your course as needed.

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