Claudette Cohen

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How do you balance going for your dreams with paying your bills...or do you just go for broke?

They tell you to persist and not take no for an answer. But practically-speaking, in concrete terms, how do you make it through without obligation and necessity trumping your goals? Especially in this economy, how do dreams continue to flourish? Thank you in advance for your insights.

  • Jun 6 2011: I like to question the question before I find the right answer to the wrong question.

    I think a more important underlying question is what am I trying to achieve, what is the target, the end goal for which I must now make this choice. This simplifies the 'correct answer' criteria to either it supports the goal or distracts me from it.

    My version of this question is: 'which would I rather regret?' In your case, 'having all my bills paid and still hungry with desire?' or 'going a little hungry yet satisfied on the inside having given life everything I've got?'

    Next most important question: "What in the world am I doing wasting time questioning the goal instead of giving it everything I've got today!?"

    Today is your legacy. Success is the end of many failures. Be the change you want to see in this world. You're 'crazy' until proven 'genius'... be crazy. Live to tell your grandkids the tale. Don't look for the world's last role model... be a role model. Step out of line and all eyes are on you. Lead, make your own path, and others will follow. Think for yourself... or others will tell you what to think!!! Bills getting in the way?... make up your mind which you want - comfort or your dreams?... the rest overboard !

    The prevailing theme here is what's going on within you not around you... your dreams. Make THAT change what's going on around you... DO NOT LET WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND YOU CHANGE YOUR DREAMS.
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    Jun 5 2011: Well, for good or for bad, I have "gone for broke." Once I started following my dreams, there was no turning back! The definition of "happiness" has changed for me - it's not about making as much $ as possible, but about leaving a legacy in this world that you and your family would be proud of!
  • Jun 12 2011: If I may suggest, first, reduce the number and size of your bills.
    Second, spend as little time on doing what pays those bills..Devote the rest of your time and energy to pursuit of your dream(s).
    Third, if you continue this way, you will notice that you have reached a point when your 'dream work' can pay your bills.
    Fourth, drop the work you were doing just to be able to pay the bills. Now, focus all your time and energy on your dream(s).
    Sounds simple? Well, it is simple.
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    Jun 7 2011: Great question Claudette and a subject close to my heart! In truth the answer lies within. Apologies if this sounds like a cliche, but trust your instincts. I left a big grown up job to follow mine and have had a few white knuckle rides on the journey but wouldn't want to change it - to James's point, its about what you value.
    Adjust your life around you to enable you to be faithful to your true values - in short, make your values the 'necessity'.
    It takes bravery but hey, in life, what doesn't!? Marriage, mortgage, kids...etc..all big decisions with no real idea how it will all turn out but it doesn't stop us committing to these momentus life changing decisions - we ultimately trust our instincts.

    That feeling of personal achievement is priceless - for everything else there's Mastercard!
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    Jun 8 2011: Wow! I could have thumbs-upped every single one of these answers. They are incisive and inspiring and realistic. Thank you for the wealth of your sharing.

    Still, I have to say that I wish I knew exactly what it looks like. I'd love to interview a bunch of people from all over in the midst of going for their dreams, photograph them, and then do a follow-up in five years. See who has a sense of arrival and why, who is in white knuckle mode and why, who is having a second wind and why. To me, their collective journey would be absolutely fascinating.
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    Jun 7 2011: The bills will always be there waiting for you to start paying them again, if you need to.

    Follow the dream - it's surprising how easy it is to construct your own path.
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    Jun 5 2011: "If you want to feel wealthy count all the things in your life money can't buy."

    Be passionate towards your dreams, it will shine through you.
    Work to reach your goal, you can't neglect work and still obtain your dreams.
    Be honest, at your job, to your spouse, everywhere; if you take a job that isn't your dream let the know its part time, eventually you'll be moving on up.
    Regularly remind yourself of all the progress you've already made.
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    Jun 6 2011: Hi there Claudette,
    Do you think there is necessarily a contradiction between the two - fulfilling your dreams, making money from it.
    Generally, our economic system works pretty well. If you are successful at something (could be painting, dancing etc...not just hi tech start up or whatever) you're going to earn money from it.
    So, slightly tougher love than from some of the folks here...
    1. Follow your dreams, and live the life you have imagined. But, if you're not making any money at it, maybe you're not very good, and you should do something you'll excel at. I had lots of jobs, until I found something I was good at
    2. What do you value, what do other people value? Are your dreams aligned to what other people want, ie: you might want to be a suit-of-armour repairer but there's less demand for that than there used to be ;) Figure out your 2nd dream and pursue that
    3. As we get through our lives our dream changes. Once, I wanted to change the World, now i just want to die without a scandal (someone else said that btw). Lots of advice you will get is to focus, do what you dream of. Sorry, my advice is not that. Do a few different things at once. I know a girl who wanted to be an actress, ended up working on Wall Street and loving it. Another guy dreamt of working on Wall St, became a drugs counsellor.
  • Jun 6 2011: I would rather be happy and poor than rich and miserable. I'll play music my whole life, even if I struggle to live. Wealth is on the inside, deep in your spirit, in your heart. Life is your creation, what will you make of it? We are all human, animals living on the planet together. If you truly look deep within to the core of your being, where all emotions reside, there you will find all the answers to the universe, answers which transcend verbal communication. When we see it in ourselves, we can see it in others, and thus it spreads like the flowering of a sunflower field. And from this, dreams emerge, for all the universe is one, and we act accordingly. Through this, there will be no scarcity, no "making ends meet". A great discipline is bestowed upon us, as the collective human, with our powers of manifesting thoughts and actions out of those thoughts, to create a world for the better of all.
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    Jun 6 2011: I am a big believer in following your dreams ~ and with change comes transformation. I discovered that working with horses filled a space that others could not complete... that nothing else could fill. If your values are aligned with your dreams and you have the courage to create connections between different parts of your life that stimulate positive change, then you will be living your dreams.