Every child starts out having dreams about what they want to be when they grow up– an astronaut today, a doctor tomorrow, and an actor/actress a month later… Kids dream without bounds, but as young adults, we often start to realize that there is a gap between our dreams and our realities. For example, you might dream about becoming President of the United States, but unless you were born in this country this dream is unachievable. It sounds discouraging, but it’s not. In her book, The Art of Choosing, Dr. Sheena Iyengar explores this topic in greater detail. Here are a few questions that will get you one step closer to achieving your dreams.

First, think about your dream, a problem you truly wish you could solve, and write it down on paper. Most of the time, when we write down our dreams, we articulate them as goals– I want to be a President, I want to be a millionaire, etc. Goals are useful because they give us targets, but what really matters here is your underlying desire. Articulating our dream as a goal is how we get trapped in thinking our dream can only be achieved in one way. However, we all know that examining the problem from different angles allows us to uncover many possibilities.

       This brings us to the second step of our discovery process. Write down 3 reasons why you want to pursue this dream, and solve this particular problem. The key here is not to think why you SHOULD solve this problem (to save the environment, for example), but why you personally CARE to solve it, your selfish reasons for wanting to solve it (you want to be famous, you want to be rich, you want to feel like you made the difference, etc). Essentially, it's about how this dream makes you FEEL.

       Now you are ready to examine your options. Write down 3 options you want to learn about that would fulfill your reasons for wanting your dream.  Then seek out people you can talk to about those options; people who can tap into more insight. This is called Idea Networking and that is how you create optionality for achieving your dreams.

       Remember, the real power of choice does not come from our ability to go out into the world and simply look at all the options. The real power of choice comes from your ability to examine what you want and how to create your reality where it is possible.