A woman sitting on a mountain top looking at the sunset

Written by Manuela Pauer, Career Happiness Coach


Making your Dreams Come True

Have you ever wished for something and worked hard to get it, only to find out in the end that it didn’t make you as happy as you thought it would?  This has happened a few times in my life: working my way up in an unfulfilling career, moving to a new neighborhood that didn’t suit me, and even when I’ve made time to take a break from working but ended up just feeling bored… Achieving your dreams is a great thing, but how can we make sure we go for the “right” dreams – the ones that will actually make us feel happier and more fulfilled when we reach them?

Martha Beck has written an excellent article on this topic: “How Three Simple (But Powerful) Words Can Put You On The Path Of Happiness", talking about how she helped two women achieve their goals. One hoped to start a business and the other wanted a baby - only to have them end up feeling more distressed afterwards than they were before.  

Their problem was they hadn’t probed deeper into what they really wanted to experience and how they wanted to feel (in their cases, contentment and being loved.) Instead, they were focused on the situation they wanted to achieve (building a business and having a child.) Unfortunately, reaching their dreams brought more stress and pressure, rather than contentment and love.

Here is the simple 4-step process Martha Beck proposes to help you focus on the experience you want to create:

  • Think about some dreams or goals that have been on your mind – maybe it’s something you had picked as your New Year’s resolution. (e.g., start a new career, lose weight, become a movie star…) and pick your most ambitious one.


  • Imagine what your life would be like if you realized your goal. What does it look like? Who is around you? What do you hear and smell? What are you doing?


  • List adjectives that describe how you feel in your imagined scenario (For example: Energetic, free, secure, understood, relaxed...) Pick three of these adjectives that describe your feelings best.


  • Rather than waiting to achieve the big goal you had outlined, you can start now by focusing on things in your current life that can make you feel that way. Focus on doing anything that can be described with your adjectives. This will give you an instant lift and help make you happier right now.

As you go through these steps, you might realize that your big goal is only one way to get the experience you really desire, and you may find new ways to feel the way you want. Maybe you’ll realize that the goal isn’t as important as you thought. Or you may feel it’s still important to pursue, even if there are drawbacks. Either way, now that you know what it is you really want to experience, you can focus your efforts on what matters most to you. And the beauty is that you can begin right now!

So here are the 3 adjectives I came up with (with my personal definition):

- Valued (I matter. I am important. I am respected.)

- Productive (I am using my strengths and talents. I am competent. I am helpful.)

- Connected (I collaborate. I belong. I am part of something greater.)

I can now choose and focus on activities that make me feel valued, productive and connected!

What are your 3 adjectives?


Coach Manuela Pauer, who is a regular contributor to the Heart of the Home blog category from Kelsey Lane & Team Real Estate, helps mid-level professionals create a career and life they love. Contact her for a free 45 minute Career and Life Strategy session. Get more information on Manuela’s Website