Reinvention and the Four Dream Killers of the Apocalypse

02/09/2012 10:18 am ET | Updated Apr 10, 2012

We all have dreams and goals and fantasies. It is a central component of being alive. These are the raw materials for our re-invention.

Yet most of us keep these visions tucked away, sleeping on the old Bucket List. Why is that?

Why is it that we cling to a dream ... something we have always wanted to do or be or have ... yet so many of us take no action on that dream?

It simply doesn't make sense when you think about it. There appears to be nothing standing in anyone's way. Or is there?

I have helped hundreds of people pick a dream, dust it off and start living it. In this work I have found four main blocks to our re-invention.

They aren't real, but they sure feel like it. They stand in the way of living your dreams for most people just as effectively as a solid brick wall. I call them ...

The Four Dream Killers of the Apocalypse

Here they are:

  • Permission
  • Tolerations
  • Fear
  • Playing the Victim

1) Permission

In order to get anything outside your current comfort zone, you start by giving yourself permission. You tell yourself you deserve to have this dream in your life and BAM up comes dream killer number one ... especially for women.

Men don't have as much of a problem with this one. We are wired to think we deserve pretty much anything we set our mind to. (go figure)

Women have a different set of wiring around permission. Your brain structure and conditioning sets you up to support other people first and, only then, get your needs met. The thing that often stops you cold is wondering if you are being "selfish."

Here's what one of my heroes -- Barbara Sher -- says about that in her book Wishcraft:

"Contrary to what you may have been taught, there is nothing frivolous or superficial about what you want. It isn't a luxury that can wait until you've taken care of all the "serious" business of life. It's a necessity. What you want is what you need. Your dearest wish comes straight from your core, loaded with vital information about who you are and who you can become. You've got to cherish it. You got to respect that. Above all, you've got to have it."

Go ahead, give yourself permission. You deserve it. As Barbara says above, "what you want is what you need." Your closest friends and family will be very happy to see you step out and into this dream.

2) Tolerations

One of my mentors once told me this, "You don't get what you want in life, you get what you tolerate."

That always stings just a little bit when I hear it because it's so incredibly true. What we tolerate is exactly what we will get. If we settle for "good enough," we won't get any more.

Here's a quick way to find out what you are currently tolerating. It's a simple, powerful question I encourage you to read out loud and notice the first thought that comes up to answer it.

If I was to get what I really want in my life,
what would I have to stop tolerating right now?

The next step is simple. Stop tolerating it. Stand up for your dreams. Ask for what you really want, then take a baby step to get it (see below).

3) Fear

Fear is that little voice that whispers non-supportive thoughts in the back of your head. It comes up any time you even think about stepping out of your comfort zone.

Here's a shortcut around fear.

Whenever you're contemplating doing something new and fear comes up, look down at your feet and take a smaller step. Fear is often a result of taking a step too big for your brain to handle. It's as if you are on one rim of the Grand Canyon and your goal is on the opposite side. You can't jump from one rim to the other, but there is a trail that will take you there step by step. You can reach any goal one step at a time.

So when you give yourself permission to stop tolerating less than what you really want and fear comes up ... look down at your feet and simply take a smaller step.

4) Playing the Victim

Here's another one that stings. All of us have played the victim at one time or another. Here's how you know you're playing the victim role. You hear yourself doing one of these three things:

  • Blame
  • Justify
  • Complain

Any time you look at your current situation, see it as something less than what you really want and begin to blame, justify or complain -- you're basically lying to yourself. You're trying to convince yourself that your situation is somebody else's fault.

In truth, you are making a choice to stay right here. There is another option.

You can take responsibility for your current situation, acknowledge it is not what you really want and you can choose to change.

Any time you find yourself blaming, justifying or complaining in the future, it's a signal to look at your current reality and reclaim your personal power ... either choose to stay right here -- cleanly -- or choose to make a change.

When you are ready for your reinvention -- ready to dust off a dream and start living it -- don't let these four dream killers of the Apocalypse stop you.

  • Choose a dream with real meaning
  • Give yourself permission to stop tolerating anything less
  • Take responsibility for your situation.
  • Then take your first baby step in that direction
  • Your first step will show you the second one.

Soon enough you will be well underway (and living that dream can happen much more quickly than you can ever imagine!)


Dike Drummond, M.D. is known as the "Do-Over Doctor." When you are ready for your do-over, fresh start, reinvention... let Dike show you how to use a "Functional Midlife Crisis" as a major shortcut to living your dreams.

For more by Dike Drummond, M.D., click here.