Finding and pursuing a dream job seems like a big job unto itself — just getting by is overwhelming enough. In their book “Build your Dreams,” Alexis Irvin and Chip Hidens collected advice in from dream-chasing Americans who told them how they made it work while chasing their passions.
In 2009 Irvin and Hiden graduated from college and started working, but it didn’t take long for them to realize it wasn’t the right choice for them. They quit their jobs, packed up their stuff and drove across America, interviewing succesful people who had found work that they were passionate about. Their research turned into a movie called “The Dream Share Project” which inspired their book of advice from their long trip.
In the past, work meant earning a salary and dreams were for your spare time. Why is having a dream job is so important today?
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Chip Hiden: The definition of how we define success, at least in America, is shifting somewhat. Today I think that people are finding that happiness also can drive what you do with the time you give to honest work. You [can] make a lasting contribution. And I think that young people are starting to think more about the legacy they will leave. What type of mark are you going to leave on the earth? We are not just thinking about money.
How much space does hunting for a dream job leave for other things in life?
Alexis Irvin: I think that it requires a lot of work, maybe for a long time, so it depends on where your priorities lie. Maybe there are few years where you will be really career-focused but then you can switch to another focus later on.
CH: One thing we have noticed is that people who pursue their dreams, as supposed to just doing a job to earn money, tend to be more happy and passionate. That happiness and passion reflects on other areas of their life, too. We have talked with so many dream chasers that are full-time parents and teachers [who are also] going to school as they pursue their dreams and I really don’t think this whole myth ‘that chasing your dream will consume your whole life’ is true.
Let’s try one “what if’-question. What if you reach your limit before the goal?
CH: One thing that we found is that, it’s not necessarily obtaining whatever the goal is [that matters]. It’s more the journey along the way that is the really rewarding and exciting part. In our case we made the film, which was super exciting, and then we were like, ‘ok. Now let’s try to write a book’. Try to enjoy the journey and take some time to look around and realize that you are pursuing something you care about.
AI: We found that everyone that we interviewed during the trip had taken many different turns in their careers. Some people have one firm dream and work straight to it, but others have multiple career changes to get to their dream job. Just see where the journey takes you. You might start out with one goal but find out that you want to do something completely different.
Tips for living the dream
Discover: reflect. Ask yourself: What excites you? What makes you get up in the morning? Try the potential paths you might want to follow and cross off the ones that didn’t work for you.
Research: Create a step-by-step plan of everything you will have to do to get to your dream job. Remember. What ever your passion is, you can find a way to teach yourself and educate yourself on the Internet. You can also search for role models of what you want to do and start studying how they got to where they are.
Embark: Here it’s about taking the first steps. You have your idea. You have done your research. Now it’s time to raise some money and get into work.
Adapt: Find your persistence to overcome the rejections that you will defiantly have. Do some research that gives you an idea of the competition and challenges regarding your dream job.
Maintain: Find multiple revenue streams from the one idea you have, so you don’t just rely on one and always brainstorm on the next expansion of your idea.