I gave a lot of thought as to what I wanted to call this article. The core message of it is to proactively think about what you want out of life and to write it down. So I could have called it “The Power of Goal-Setting”.
While goal-setting is an important component of what I’m going to get in to, it failed to flesh out the whole picture. There is something more to the process, and I think that elusive something is imagination.
But before I get too carried away, let’s start with a tweet I posted a little over two years ago.
The ultimate job: a job where I get to listen to Groove Salad all day, sit at a computer, and focus my entire energy on 2 or 3 tasks.
— David Andrew Wiebe (@Dawmusic) March 31, 2011
A Look Back at 2011
I remember 2011 as being a particularly challenging year. For about six months, I worked five different jobs, during the days, evenings and weekends. As you can imagine, I didn’t have much time for my own projects. I also ended up sharing my house and garage with some unbecoming characters.
I was under a lot of financial pressure, and I didn’t have enough perspective to know that getting on the fast track wasn’t going to provide any profound solutions. I escaped the cycle by refinancing my home, and that provided temporary relief.
I posted the above tweet while I was in the midst of this mess. I had a fairly mindless day job, so I had a lot of time to think about what I really wanted out of my work life.
Of course, you only get 140 characters to record your thoughts on Twitter, so it may look as though I was a little general in my thought process (and to a degree, that’s true). Even so, there’s a lot more specificity than meets the eye. Let me break it down for you:
A job where I get to listen to Groove Salad all day
At the time, I liked listening to Groove Salad while working because it put me in a trance-like meditative state that helped me focus on my project. I’ve since learned that repetitive music can make you sleepy, and Baroque and Jazz music is better for stimulating brain activity.
There are a couple of other implications here. One is that my workplace would allow me the freedom to listen to whatever I wanted while working. The other is that I would not have many interruptions while doing my job.
A job where I sit at a computer
Obviously this would not be everyone’s dream, but sitting at a computer for me meant working on things like writing (which I enjoy and do a lot of), social media, podcasting, graphic design and online marketing.
A job where I focus my entire energy on 2 or 3 tasks
This simply meant that I would’t have a multitude of interruptions or that my work would consist of too many disparate tasks. I would get to work in my strengths and direct my energies toward fulfilling objectives.
Fast forward to today and my work is practically everything I imagined it would be. It is a dream-come-true. This isn’t the first time I’ve used the power of intention and imagination to accomplish goals and direct my thoughts to what I really want out of life. It has worked for me multiple times.
There do seem to be some stipulations, however. For example, it usually isn’t enough just to think about or just to write down what you want. It’s the mixing of imagination, thought and goal-setting that seem to produce magic. The above example is definitely a result of combining at least two out of three elements, if not all of them. Quite simply…
- Thought – thinking logically about the things that you do and do not want out of life.
- Imagination – vividly imaging what it would look like and feel like to attain your desires.
- Goal-Setting – writing it all down (pen and paper).
The other stipulation is that of time and belief. There are few things that seem to come instantaneously and thus take a lot of patience and time to come to fruition. If you have a strong enough belief, the “how” and “when” questions don’t even matter anymore. You know that you will be living your dream in due time.
There were a couple of things I didn’t actually give enough thought to:
At the time I would have had no way of knowing that a job isn’t really what I wanted. Freedom and choice is what I really desire today. If I had known, I would have also put “unlimited earning potential” as criteria for my dream job. When experts advise you to dream bigger than you’re comfortable with, they really aren’t kidding.
As far as compensation goes, my job does reward me fairly for what I do. I feel fortunate that it has worked out well.
Again, freedom of time and money being the ultimate objective today, I should have considered what sort of time investment I would have been willing to put towards my “dream job”. At the time what I wanted was something to pay the bills and help move my music career forward, so a 9 – 5 (or less) would have been just fine. My vision has obviously changed since then, but anything worth doing takes time and effort so I am committed to excellence in my work.
This has worked before, so undoubtedly it will work again. I am now forecasting into the future what I want my life to look like. I am imagining the results that I want, designing my future, and working backwards to figure out what I need to do to make it happen.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.