In my last job I managed recruitment and admissions for a top-ranked communications school. A couple of months into the position I recognized that the most important factor that separated the hopefuls from the students that didn’t stand a chance wasn’t GPA or test scores, it wasn’t their class background or their parents’ academic background, it was something that you couldn’t see or even quantify--their ability to dream.
Some students, it seems, had been taught what I call the discipline of dreaming. When visions of grandeur about their future professional lives came to mind, they didn’t dismiss or discount them. They never questioned whether or not they could get in; instead, they showed up to campus visits with the confidence that as long as they followed their intricately woven plans and my advice, their admission was certain.
Then there were those students who silenced their dreams as if their visions were whimsical fantasies that belonged in elementary school memories. Rather than make plans to follow their passions, these students put more energy into coming up with all the reasons they couldn’t or shouldn’t go after what they wanted the most.
Here’s the thing about the students who practiced the discipline of dreaming, some of them didn’t have the qualifications that would make them a good fit for the institution, but the fact that they could take their dreams seriously made a difference. And the students that didn’t believe in their dreams? Many of them had some of the most impressive profiles I’ve ever seen, but they couldn’t convince themselves to check the one little box that would put them in the running for a spot in the next incoming class.
What empty boxes and unmailed applications have been holding you back? What “what ifs” are keeping you up at night? Here are four things to get you moving today.
4 Things You Can Do Today:
Ask yourself this question and write down the answer: What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
Record the feelings that come up when you imagine yourself pursuing these dreams. What’s the tape that plays in your head? What story are you telling yourself about why you can or can’t, should or shouldn’t move forward?
One by one, examine these obstacles and fears. Ask yourself the likelihood of your worst fears actually happening. Ask yourself whether or not those things are within your control. And think of how you would respond in each of these worst case scenarios.
Set a deadline to complete one step that moves you closer toward realizing your dream. We’d love to dream with you and serve as your accountability partner. Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an extra boost of encouragement.