During my morning peruse of Facebook posts I came across a very inspiring post from a fellow poet about landing the VP of Marketing position at a major American bank. Immediately, I was super happy for her! To see a woman, a black woman, rising in corporate America is always something I celebrate. I was going on a “liking spree” of all of the comments that congratulated her. One comment in particular made me pause. It read “congratulations on living your dream.”
I thought, “hmm, is this her dream? Like THE dream?” It is a mark of success for sure. It is a great accomplishment that deserves many praise, congratulations, and continued acknowledgement. But was it her dream or perceived as a dream come true from the person commenting? Whether it was her dream or not doesn’t affect how amazing it is. Even though I am mentioning this post and I’m overjoyed about her success, this blog post is NOT about the beautiful successful black woman. It is more about the idea of “living the dream” and what that may mean to people.
Living the dream begins with knowing what the dream is. In reference to actual dreams, there are many times you wake up and can’t remember what you dreamed. There are many times where your dreams are half scenes of abstract symbols. Life goals as dreams can be the same. Who are you? What are your dreams? Who makes the call on whether or not you are living your dream?
Living the dream vs. Dreaming the dream
An artist on Myspace (super long time ago) said to me “at some point everyone must wake up.” Dreaming the dream is pretty, it’s whimsical, it’s being lost in possibilities. Living the dream is work, it’s building, it’s starting, it’s risky, its focused, and it can be scary. Living the dream starts with actually living it. Living day one of it. Laying the first brick. Taking the first step. Living it and arriving at the ultimate goal of the dream are two different things. No matter what obstacles come your way if you are taking intentional steps inside of your dream, you are still living the dream. It’s the difference between walking under a cloud and into the fog. The difference between walking beside the river and swimming it. Which one are you doing?
Can unemployment be living the dream?
In part of said post the author mentioned “…I hope y’all didn’t think I was going to stay unemployed?” I thought, “when was she unemployed?” She has been so fierce and confident in her posts that unemployment never even crossed my mind. In my initial response I wrote “a woman with a boss mentality is never unemployed!” Pay attention to where you are. Being unemployed means you’re not committed to building someone else’s dream. Working for someone else is not America’s wealth building model. However, there’s a layer of fear placed on people of a certain class and/or race/ethnicity to believe that the “American Dream” will always be just a dream to them. If you have the will to live your dream you will recognize unemployment from a traditional job as an opportunity to kick start your dream. If you have the will to live your dream you will find a way regardless of what traditional employment or conservative America says.
Marks of success
Immediate wealth was never a part of my dream. In fact, the idea of immediate wealth has held me back from my dream more times than not. Money is not the ONLY mark of success available. Assets, board membership, network growth, product growth, production, and brand establishment are all marks of success. Power is probably one of the largest unidentified marks of success. Many wealthy people have filed bankruptcy. Not because they are broke per se, but to maintain the power over their assets. Media prophesies to consumers that wealth is ONLY money in the bank. That’s not true. Wealth is credit, assets, and memberships. Being able to afford something is all about how resourceful you are.
I am inspired
In August, I was laid off with over a month’s pay, insurance, and approval of unemployment (which is not automatic for everyone). I have support for my townhouse. I have a support circle for my sanity. I have a vision for my next move. I am living the dream! My dream!
- Founder and ED of Women Writers Rock which includes programming, housing, and products for self-identified women and their children.
- No 9-5 to suffocate my goals under.
- I am present with my children.
- I am learning to operate a TV Studio.
- I am networking with filmmakers and volunteering on their projects while working on my own.
- I am applying for fellowships in Media and Arts.
- I am writing plans for business acquisitions and rental properties.
What have I been sobbing about? Being unemployed? I’ve employed myself to build my dreams! I just needed to tweak my perception to see the path. This is one of the few days where a Facebook post and comment were awesome additions to my day!
Thank you for reading!