Dream Again In 2022

So many of my friends in the creative fields have been struggling with COVID wreaking havoc on their dreams over the past couple of years.

Before COVID – 19, I counseled many younger people who were exploring using photography/videography as a career. Many of these were people feeling a call to do work in the nonprofit world.

Keziah Khoo & Jeff Raymond during the Storytellers Abroad Workshop in Herăști, Giurgiu, Romania.

Dreaming ample means having the mental freedom to think about what you want out of life and forget about all the reasons why you can’t make it a reality. For the first time in my lifetime, many people had mental freedom due to COVID. I think this is why there was “The Great Resignation” in our culture.

“It’s better to have an impossible dream than no dream at all.” 

– Anonymous

Dreamers are not going down a well-worn path that so many have done before them. Developing a growth mindset—or the belief that growth and that learning are more important than success or other people’s opinions—can help you shift your focus to the journey instead of the end goal.

Explore What Really Matters To You

Don’t get stuck in dreaming small. The one thing that is core to dreaming big is wanting to have a purpose in life. I want a sense of meaningful direction in life. I want to use my gifts to help others, and the bottom line is to be appreciated and feel like people need me in their lives.

I felt like I had achieved one of my dreams while on the Georgia Tech staff. My dream was not to work at Georgia Tech. My goal was to use photography to help tell stories that engaged people in learning more about their world and how to improve it.

It just so happened to do this would require my science & technology geek side to make these photos. I had to use my lighting, photojournalism, and storytelling skills to create strong images that helped tell these stories.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

— Henry Stanley Haskins

Big dreams rarely have an instruction manual; you figure it out as you go. What will drive you is this sense of curiosity to figure things out.

Without action, big dreams are simply dreams.

When I started, my uncle told me to go and talk to his mentor and former boss, Don Rutledge. Find someone who you admire and respect. Go and take them to lunch. Ask them how they got to where they are today and if they have any tips to give someone starting.

Be Vulnerable

Ask people not if you are good enough to make it. Ask those who are experts what you can do to get better. Assume your work could use improvement. Watching the Olympics is an excellent insight into why you always need to look for ways to improve. Shaun White five-time Olympian and a three-time Olympic gold medalist in half-pipe snowboarding, have to develop new tricks for each unique Olympics. His competition is already copied what he did last time.

Ask lots of questions about different things in life. Why are things the way they are?

Why So Many Fail

There are so many reasons. Here are some things I have observed by colleagues that went away over time.

  • Gave Up Too Early – Persistence and drive are needed to make it
  • Not Asking For Help – Too many think they can do it alone. No one can.
  • Think About Failure, Rather Than Success – Giving in to naysayers and negative self-talk
  • Desire For Instant Gratification – Most marketing campaigns take 6 to 18 months before seeing any returns
  • Afraid To Make Mistakes – Dreaming is about taking risks
  • Not Wanting To Leave Your Comfort Zone
Bobby Cremins is an American retired college basketball coach. He served as a head coach at Appalachian State, Georgia Tech, and, most recently, the College of Charleston.

Find a Mentor & Coach

A mentor is someone you don’t necessarily pay for, and a coach is someone you do pay for. Both, I think, are needed. Sometimes one person could serve both roles for you. However, mentors tend to be those who have achieved what you seek, and coaches are those who know how to motivate you and ask questions to help you focus.

Comfort Zone

We have it well documented that many abused wives find it hard to leave their situation. These battered women’s paradoxical responses to their abusers have perplexed professionals and laypersons alike. They know that this survival mechanism and their ability to see beyond their situation is complex.

Military planes fly in formations during combat missions to gain tactical advantage by being able to strike simultaneously and to provide mutual defense if attacked. Together they are more robust.

Too many creatives have this same problem. However, just like those battered women, there is help. ASMP [American Society for Media Photographers] helped me navigate this profession with education, coaching, mentoring, and peer support. The one thing they realized that other photo groups don’t always acknowledge is that while we know how to take pictures, we don’t know how to run a business.

Battered women have organizations to help them; creatives need to realize dreams are realized when they seek out help.

Meeting A Need Is Key To Success

Donald Miller is the CEO of Business Made Simple. He teaches how businesses need to make their customer the story’s hero. The first step a company has is to identify the problem that their customers have that they can solve. Then they must find a clear and concise way to communicate this to their market.

Miller tells those companies to add something that distinguishes them from all their competition. What is funny is that there isn’t anything they do that other companies don’t do, but Don Miller says to communicate it, which will separate you from your competition that isn’t sharing it.

Miller has identified the key to success as you must meet the need of the customer and communicate how you know their problems and can solve them in all of your marketing.

Next Steps

I hope this helps to motivate you and clarify your dreams. Part of achieving your big goals involves working through others. A single person is rarely able to accomplish a big plan on their own.

I think your first step is to find someone to talk to about your dreams. When you say them out loud, they become real.

You would also need to show the connection/connect the dots between other people’s input and the achievement of your dream to enable others to see the big picture and enthusiastically support you.

To keep your fire burning and your dream alive, read inspirational material such as books, blogs, articles, and magazines; listen to motivational audio CDs and podcasts; watch motivating videos and talks; attend workshops, webinars, and courses to inspirational, uplifting and inspiring music.

A sound support system of like-minded people helps in preserving big dreams.