Coaching Corner: Between the Dreaming and the Coming True
- 2007 2 Jul
In my work with clients, a lot of the focus naturally centers on the question, “What does it really take to make a dream come true?”
The process for moving a dream from a place of “deep desire” to “reality” is actually fairly simple. But that doesn’t mean that the process is easy. As you already know from your own experience, the path to making something real is often fraught with obstacles and ditches and giants and gremlins and all sorts of other speed bumps that get in the way.
The most common dream killer, however, is not an external one. Rather, it springs out of our impatience to “make something happen” right away, before the dream within us has had the opportunity to fully form in our hearts. Too often, people dream just a little, then grab their dream by the collar and race headlong into action. And the action (or strategic planning, which is also action) kills the dream before it has had the chance to mature and become strong within us. It’s horribly disheartening to snuff out a dream in this way, and typically leaves people feeling stuck and robbed of hope.
What's missing is the artful, expansive skill of pondering. To ponder a dream is to ruminate on it, to meditate on it, to simply set it before you and look at it with open-ended curiosity—purposefully refraining from trying to figure it out or make it do or be something in the “real world.” To ponder is to set the dream before God, and in that quiet, sacred space, to simply look at the dream together, and listen and watch as God unfolds it on deeper and deeper levels. Pondering is not something you do with your head. It’s a heart activity (Luke 2:19). It’s about giving a dream room to breath, to shift and grow, to change or expand, without you trying to force it to do any of those things.
Pondering gives time and space for a dream to become fully formed. More importantly, it gives time and space for letting God have access to the dream, and giving Him free reign to speak to or touch or reshape the dream in any way He wishes; or perhaps, simply to breathe on it until it is fully alive and strong enough for you to stand on. When the dream is really ready, the path to making it real will become clear as well (via God’s Spirit), and the plan that emerges will feel more like something that came to you as inspiration, rather than something you had to strive to create out of your own strength and wits.
Moving from dream to action without adequate pondering is like sending a baby out into the world and expecting him or her to act and fend for itself like a full-grown adult. It sets the dream up for failure, and squashes hope in the process.
As I mentioned, our resistance to pondering stems from our impatient drive to “get on with it” and “just make it happen,” along with a sneaking suspicion that pondering is really just a waste of time. After all, you already know what you want, so why do you need to ponder it anymore? But the reality is, what you see of a dream at its beginning is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s only about 10 percent of what’s really there. And if you move to action too quickly, you will most likely find you do not really have the resolve or inspiration needed to make it succeed; but even if you do, the end result will only be 10 percent of what you really wanted. You discover the other 90 percent by allowing yourself the time and space you need to simply, openly ponder the dream in your heart.
Pondering is essential to the process of making something real. It is not an optional step. Of course, it is possible to “ponder a dream to death”—that is, to get stuck in dreaming as a way of avoiding the risks associated with taking real action. But I find the compulsive lurch to action is a far more common dream killer for most people.
If your dream is worth engaging at all, then it’s worth taking the time to let your heart ponder it—in the unhurried space between the dreaming and the coming true—until the dream is fully formed and resonates with a life and solidity all its own.
Michael D. Warden is a Professional Co-Active Coach, nationally certified through the Coaches Training Institute, and a member of the International Coach Federation. Michael’s clients’ one common trait is their passion to live a bigger life – to discover what they're here for, and boldly go after that vision with confidence and authenticity. Find more on his life and work at ascentcoachinggroup.com.