Three Questions to Help You Find Your Dream
I am on a path to do what I love and the best part is that it involves being in a partnership with my husband. Together, we imagined a dream for our post-military lives. Then we systematically set and worked toward goals leading us to that dream. I’m sharing my story in an effort to motivate you and make you aware that with persistence and careful planning, your “dreams” can come true, too. I also offer a three-step exercise to help you find your dream.
Being the spouse of a military service member has had its highs and lows and my dream stems from the circumstances I have experienced while my husband has been in the military. The lightbulb moment occurred when our family was stationed overseas a few years ago and we’ve been focusing in on the details ever since.
My husband and I would like to open a bed and breakfast intended to attract military members, their families, and visitors of the military community.
The two-and-a-half years we were stationed at Scholfield Barracks, HI sparked our imaginations. Our scenic, natural surroundings offered the incentive our family members and friends needed to purchase an airline ticket and spend their earned vacation days visiting us. The family visits were mainly spread across those two-and-a-half years. However, there was a six-month period while my husband was deployed when our extra room was occupied every three weeks for three weeks at a time. I became a tour guide of sorts. I can remember vacuuming the beach sand out of the car one afternoon between visitors and thinking, “Hmm, I should get paid for doing this.” After that day, I had a conversation with my husband and our entrepreneurial dream was outlined onto paper.
Our time in paradise came to an end and we moved from that tropical setting into another tourist dream destination, Presidio of Monterey, CA. The cycle of visitors began again. I had learned through trial and error from our previous duty station, so I was better prepared and more cautious when planning visitor’s arrivals and departures. While at this duty station, we had the opportunity of becoming sponsors to a couple of families joining my husband’s unit. Due to a lodging error, we opened our home to one of the families, and allowed the other family to use our car while waiting for their vehicle to arrive, just to name a couple of things. The time spent with these families added toward our dream of ownership. My husband and I recognized that if we utilized our know-how of the military, the level of comfort and safety a family experiences when moving to a new duty station would increase and their anxieties would likely decrease.
This is our fourth permanent change of duty station in the military and we have had the help of only one sponsor in that time. Each move we have been proactive and learned where to get the information necessary to make the domestic change without adding extra stress. My husband and I feel there is so much opportunity for learning through personal experiences with the military community and taking that knowledge and developing it into something better that can be shared.
After collecting these experiences, I have been able to take more progressive action toward achieving the goal of owning our bed and breakfast. At each duty station since the idea was penned, I have become more active within the military community by taking the classes offered through the Army Community Service centers on sponsorship, family readiness groups, and the local community. I continue to reach out and volunteer throughout the military community to get a better understanding of its members. However, these actions alone cannot build a business. What is a business plan without a college education?
About three years ago, I decided to take action and apply for college. Over three years, I attended UMUC full time online and graduated last May. During my studies, I was able to put my experiences and knowledge to the test when our military community created an opportunity to provide better support to the new military families that were being stationed here. I was so grateful to have been a member of the design team to establish the pilot sponsorship program. The experience renewed my excitement in helping other members within the military community, and it provided me with the momentum needed to continue on with the sometimes-hectic course load.
I wrote about one of my bigger life events in InDependent’s “Why Campaign” and shared how I overcame that tragedy. I call life events that trigger a change activating events. Now, I offer the following questions to help you acknowledge an activating event and use that event to establish your dream:
- When a big life event occurs (new baby, family tragedy, illness, big move, job change, etc.) what patterns in your thoughts draw a reaction from you (good, bad, happy, or sad)? Write down these recurring thoughts.
- What patterns in your emotions and beliefs draw a reaction from you stemming from this life event (anger, peace, excitement, fear)? Write them down.
- How can you use those deeply felt emotions and beliefs stemming from your major life events to build your dream, drive your performance, and build stronger relationships? These events are unique to you and make you who you are. Nobody else has the same combination of skills and experiences. What are you passionate about? What are you naturally good at? What do you love so much that you’re willing to do it for free? What life experiences do you have that give you a unique perspective?
I am continuing my education further and feel we have almost reached the point where we can truly pursue our goal. Upon completion of my studies, our next step is to design the business plan best suited for our dream.
What is your goal and how are you actively working toward it?