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Laura Berman Fortgang Headshot

Dreams Are Never Foolish

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Most people suffer from what I call "the misinterpretation of the dream." They had (or have) a dream about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and if it never came to be, they either consider it a flight of fancy or a failure. Wrong! There is so much left untapped in that discarded dream that can lead to your utmost satisfaction and fulfillment.

What we have been trained to do is see our dreams as a literal mandate from our hearts, minds and imaginations. If I dream of singing on Broadway, then clearly I am to be an actress with all that it entails. However, when you are given the key to the clues that the dream holds, you are no longer beholden to one form that your work can take.

For example, one woman realized that her futile attempts to break into the broadcasting field did not mean she had failed at her dream. What she really wanted to accomplish by being a broadcaster was to get vital information to people that they needed for their lives. When she broke out of the one-way mold she created for her expression, she realized that she could do that in many, many forms, and it did not need to rely solely on landing a position as an on-camera newscaster.

Sometimes a discarded dream can mark a place in your life history where you got away from your truest self. A place where you left your soul on the side of the road to live the life you thought you had to live (instead of the one you wanted to live). It doesn't necessarily mean you are supposed to go back to that dream because being a baseball player at age 52 just may not be feasible, but it does mean going back and picking up your soul from the gutter. It might mean getting that old glove back on your hand to remember who it was you got to be (or wanted to be) and then bringing that person into your life today. The dream must live; it will just have a different form.

I once met a man who wanted to challenge my method of looking for the true wisdom behind people's dreams. He had accomplished every dream he ever wished for; therefore, he felt he could debunk there being any theme or connection between his dreams that would mean anything to his current conundrum about what to do next. This man's past dreams included being a magician as a kid, an architect, which he did become, and a branding and advertising person, which he also became. What he was confused about was that he could not reconcile his love of outdoor adventure sports like rock climbing and kayaking with his next career move.

It did not take long to recognize that each of his dreams evoked a sense of awe in people. A magician's impressive illusion, the architect's astounding work, and the ad man's bigger-than-life billboard -- they all made people drop their jaws in awe. Nature does the same thing.

Upon tying the dreams together for him, he told the truth. He wanted to have an adventure travel company and introduce more people to the awe of nature. It all made sense. He knew what he wanted to do and why. He wasn't confused anymore.

How about you? Can you reinterpret your dreams and find the clues in the past that point to your future? No dream is foolish. It's just our interpretation that is flawed. Go back, retrieve yours and soar!

For more by Laura Berman Fortgang, click here.

For more GPS for the Soul, click here.