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Hi. I'm Laura.

Discover the meaningful work that's right for you. Finally.

The Unicorn-Free Way to Follow Your Dreams

The Unicorn-Free Way to Follow Your Dreams

You’ve got this inkling about the kind of work you’d like to do. But every time you think about it, this voice inside you says,

“I’m a grownup, fer cryin’ out loud! I have bills to pay; I can’t spend my life chasing sparkly unicorn dreams.”

Ok, to give proper credit, that’s actually a comment from a reader on a recent blog post. But let’s break this down bit by bit.

I’m a grown-up.

Yes. You have responsibilities and need to be practical. Check.

I have bills to pay.

Hey, me too! Same goes for most people who are choosing a less conventional career path.

Sure, there are some people with trust funds or loaded spouses who can bankroll them while they get on their feet, but I gotta tell ya: I don’t know who these people are. The people I know who are bravely pursuing work they love? They’re just regular folks with rent, mortgages, kids, and student loans.

They make a plan and gradually transition into their new work so there’s no abrupt financial changes. It takes some planning and some time, but no special magic, and no special circumstances.

I can’t spend my life chasing sparkly unicorn dreams.

I wouldn’t want you to. I don’t do sparkly, and I don’t do unicorns.

But I’d rather you not insult your own dreams like that. Framing your dearest dreams for yourself and how you want to help the world as trivial? As silly? That’s not ok.

It’s scary to give your dreams the respect they deserve. Dressing them up as a 3rd grader’s Lisa Frank phantasm lets you off the hook. When you treat your dreams with dignity, not reaching them hurts more.

So does not going for them.

If we take your dreams seriously, then the statement above becomes, “I can’t spend my life chasing dreams.”

I can’t spend my life chasing dreams.

Then what, exactly, do you plan to spend your life doing? You got a better offer?

I don’t want you to spend your life just chasing dreams; I want you do spend it creating dreams. Big difference. A chase is haphazard and out of control. Creation is an awesome balance of control and improvisation. It’s intentional. It’s enlivening. It leaves room for the unexpected. It’s what grown-ups who have bills and dreams do.

In the comments, get brave: tell me your dreams, and give them the respect they deserve.

  1. singsthemagpie@gmail.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    I want to write for a living. Thanks for the reminder to stop self-sabotaging. 🙂

  2. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Meg, totally do-able. First up: write consistently. Next: write for a little bit of your living.

  3. annabrcl@gmail.com

    April 13th, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Meg @adventures in verdance
    a great resource for writing is thecreativepenn.com (yes double n). for fiction and non fiction.

  4. keetha403@gmail.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    What a great post – thank you. When we ridicule our own dreams, it makes it easier to justify not going for them. So true and I’ve never thought of it that way.
    My dream is to have a creative business – I’m an artist. I’m not exactly sure what I want that creative business to look like yet. Thanks for reminding me that I must know and believe it’s possible first.

  5. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Keetha, you can do it! There are lots of artists who have made this possible for themselves. Glad you’re here.

  6. heather@heatherdaywellness.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Laura? YES. Thank you.
    I totally DO do unicorns, but I so appreciate the reminder that labeling our dreams as unicorns takes them out of reality and tosses them up into the clouds, where they’ll forever prance teasingly out of reach.

    My dream: I want to lead Adventure School. Where I take adventurer-wannabes on journeys that pull them out of their comfort zone a bit, stretch their imaginations, and teach them what they need to be a bit bolder in their everyday lives. We’ll learn to salsa in Argentina, we’ll see the howler monkeys in Costa Rica, we’ll try handstands on the shores of Lake Atitlan. And eventually, they’ll have assignments to go off on their own and figure it out. Go buy food. Take a solo trip.

    Eeeeeeee! It’s exciting to put that all out into the world. Yahoo!

  7. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Heather, sounds amazing! Sign me up!

  8. what-ser-name@hotmail.co.uk

    April 2nd, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    What an awesome concept. I love it – good luck, it’ll be amazing!

  9. SarahSpencerMusic@gmail.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Ok, dont laugh 😉
    I’m a songwriter, and I moved up to Nashville, TN to write songs professionally. My dream is to be a staff writer at a close-knit publishing house, to have my songs sung by amazing artists who love them, and be able to support myself and my future family solely with the income I make from music. 🙂

    I’m the lead web designer at a creative agency here in town. I’m so lucky and blessed to have an amazing “day job” 😉 But I absolutely cannot wait to get my career as a songwriter really rolling!

  10. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Sarah, no laughing here. That sounds wonderful AND achievable. What’s steps are you taking to make this happen?

  11. awood419@gmail.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Always inspiring Laura!I have a good job with great people, but I want to be my own boss, to set my own schedule and be location free. I dream of a career that allows me to inspire others, but also freedom to travel and start a family that I can actually be home with. All fairly doable when I write them down, but steps to the change can still feel so daunting!

  12. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    April 2nd, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    The change is big but the steps are small. Just start creeping that way.

  13. what-ser-name@hotmail.co.uk

    April 2nd, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    My problem is not knowing what I want to do. I know the kind of lifestyle I want to live, but can’t figure out how to squeeze a living out of it!

  14. pamelawaldner@gmail.com

    April 3rd, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Working a “day job” to pay the bills, but I want to be able to stop trading my hours for dollars. I started a jewelry line, but now at 5 years in, I no longer wish to pursue this as a career. Along the way, I was fortunate to meet other fashion designers in my area, and have come up with a rough plan to better support the fashion design industry here. I believe all of my struggles have prepared me to better serve my community, so that’s the direction in which I am headed.

  15. ibassey@aol.com

    April 6th, 2015 at 3:37 am

    My dream is to be a successful full-time energy healer- every SINGLE time I have a client session I feel so enormously fulfilled- as if this was meant to be doing even though I was originally a practicing lawyer/law professor…

  16. nicolelynnkraft@gmail.com

    April 6th, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    My dream is to open a nutrition consulting practice and write cookbooks for a living. I’m scheduled to finish my nutrition program a year from now.

  17. Thewildfrancesca@gmail.com

    April 9th, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I’m an artist and naturalist and somehow I want to help people connect – to nature, to their creative selves, to their higher selves, maybe even to one another. I don’t know how to mix all my passions together to do this, and that’s been my biggest hurdle. Someone recently suggested life coaching but it seems really salesy and pushy, and I don’t know if I’m cut out for that. I envy those of you with clear dreams! 😀 Thanks for this great post!

  18. tashrsmith21@gmail.com

    April 14th, 2015 at 10:49 am

    O.K, here goes. I currently have my 9-5 retail job, which bores the life out of me, but what I really want to do is become a freelance graphic and web designer. I want to design blog templates, and blog headers and anything creative linked to online- I want to be a pro at and I want it to be my job.
    I bought Adobe Creative Suite and am currently teaching myself the ins and outs of it all. I have centred my blog to be more nice and linked to design, blogging and online inspirate and i’m doing work experience at graphic design houses. So hopefully i’m making the right steps to make my dream a reality.

    Thankyou!

    Tash x

    thisandthatplease.co.uk

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