Big dreams, little dreams.
As the chanteuse Edif Piaf sang “Non, Je ne regrette rien”.
Having worked as a careers adviser with a broad range of clients over the years, one of the saddest things I have heard, and still sometimes hear, goes like this; “I wish I had the courage to go for my dream career when I could. I played it safe. I stayed in my comfort zone and did the practical, the mundane. I did what people thought I should do. I was not being myself.” I interviewed a pleasant young man a while ago who said he was interested in becoming an accountant. His body language told me he wasn’t. I reflected this back to him and asked him directly “No, but what do you really want to do?” The answer was very different. When he talked about what he really wanted to do there was real and tangible enthusiasm. That is why I would always encourage those blessed with a long career road ahead to follow their dream. Go for it, in the modern parlance. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. At the very least, you can say you tried and failed gloriously.
I also meet those who are overwhelmed by the big dreams of others. They say “I haven’t climbed Everest. I haven’t had an internship on Wall Street. And I have no ambition to be a CEO of a large investment bank”. When asked that question “What do you really want to do?” sometimes the answer is not a big dream, as they see it. They say things like “I want to be a good parent; work is a way of me achieving that”. Big dream or little dream? Many would view it as a little dream. I am not sure. As a parent of a daughter at university, I would say a big dream.
Apart from the dreams we see and experience nightly, we choose our dreams and we choose the size of them. They are ours and no one else’s.
Big dreams, little dreams?
Careers Consultant at the University of Exeter