by Lori Cammerota

Dreams are vital to life’s joy. Whether grand or simple, short-term or life-long, dreams bring meaning to life. The trick is, how to actually bring dreaming into regular, everyday life. Discovering this is important to your money making, happiness and envisioning your future.

Passion, excitement, joy — are words to treasure to describe life. Then there is challenging, juggling, exhausting. All too often these words come spilling out when a friend asks, ‘how’s your life?’ Really, how many of us truly go for our dreams?

Young women throwing her hands dreams fulfilled

When you read ‘dreams’, what’s your first thought — fantasy? And, where would I fit that into my life? We’re not talking here about childhood fantasies that don’t have any connection to the real, present you. Dreams can be very practical and purposeful for you. And, dreams may be fun, exciting, expanding and yes, slightly terrifying as they show you your bigger self.

When dreams are aligned with the real you, you will be amazed at how the people around you quietly begin to conspire to help you bloom and shine. That’s because dreams are the fuel for your natural path of growth.

The practical realities of life can often slowly carry us further away from our dreams: paying the bills, getting kids to after school activities on time, caring for beloved elderly family members. All worthy tasks, often filled with love, but when do we get a chance to pursue our dreams? There’s the dream of life on a gorgeous beach. stretched out in a hammock with a favorite drink. There are dreams of changing the world. Your dreams are unique to you, as part of your life plan.

Life balance is different for each of us, and a particular challenge for women who invest much of their time helping and supporting others.   I like this concept — it’s called ROAR — Return On Active Risk. In other words, it’s intended to have us think about where we spend our energy and the reward that comes from our efforts. The return on our energies comes in many forms: relationships, new experiences, even as simple as hugs from friends and loved ones. Less desirable returns can also be hard to acknowledge: being taken advantage of, being ignored by key people and being invisible to people around us.

Here’s the message — at some point, the aggravation, stress and frustration that can appear when your energies aren’t in line with your true self (the self that dreams the dream for your growth) — the authentic or inner self will call you to choose: Whimper or ROAR!

Do your dreams roar? If your dreams are tucked away in the dusty recesses of younger days or if your dreams are really screaming at you — then you’re in the perfect place! You have the power to choose how much of your dream you are ready to explore now. It’s more fun in a group though — so you might want to enlist some of your favorite friends in this dream exploration adventure. Your best friends can provide awesome insight, laughter, tears and probably some wine and/or dessert to fuel your journey along this path.

I took this to heart and formed a group of women who meet once every other week to talk about and give support to the growing visions that we have for ourselves and each other. Talking about our dreams creates an upward cycle of positive energy while being grounded in reality. Each one of us is off on new economic ventures that we would not have explored without the enthusiasm and optimistic support that comes from our group. Our dreamers group is spread out across multiple countries yet we eagerly looking forward to the next conference call to connect with our heart-centered group.

Here’s how to begin. Dream exploration starts by looking at who you are right now. This process is how to design your life from the inside out — and not the outside in as the culture has shown us for years. This is a process that speaks to your core — the primary things in life that you value. Maybe the core of you embraces honesty, integrity, beauty — and the beliefs that make up you. There is a very rich worth-while you, inside of you!

Let’s do some brainstorming — in a quiet place by yourself or in the middle of a circle of your buddies. The key to authentically answering the following is: do not edit. Just let your ideas flow, let your pen move, and let your heart speak through the words, symbols or pictures that flow out on the page. Skip the practicalities, there will be time for realistic thinking later. Let your inner kid out to play! Go to the extremes, wildly, and let your inner voice ROAR!

Grab a pen, colored pencils or markers, paints — fun stuff — a journal book, pieces of blank paper, an artist’s canvas or soft moldable clay — you get the idea! Whatever you feel brings you some easy fun. Let’s find out — what do you see of you right now? Play with the following questions:

  1. Where is your ‘happy’ place, a place of peaceful rest? It might be the beach, the mountains, laying under the filtered sunlight of big oak trees, or beside a burbling stream. Describe it in as much detail as you wish and see what your imagination adds to this picture. How do you feel when you are there? Circle the words that pop out at you.
  2. Calmly, and giving yourself plenty of credit — list this — what are your special gifts, strengths and talents? This is not just the things that you get paid for or are expected to do, but where do you see yourself shine? Remember the things you used to do but have perhaps dropped over the years. Highlight the words that you really love.
  3. Think of your five best friends — what are their most amazing gifts and what value do these gifts represent to you? Circle the words with the most meaning to you.
  4. Take time to ask your friends what they see as your key gifts, and their answers may surprise you. Consider reaching out and forming a group for this — and bringing the food or drink to inspire the conversation — or reaching out by phone. Ask for their heart felt comments, which are gifts to you, and write them down. Keep these in a safe place and you’ll have them to read on tough days. Highlight the traits and gifts that you are most proud about in yourself.
  5. Now, list out the top five ways that you spend the majority of your time. This is a place to let your answers be painfully accurate. Remember to include the time watching TV, playing with social media (the distractions) — because those hours are just as much a part of your life as working, going for walks in nature, playing with children in the park. Realism is the goal for this part of the exploration.
  6. OK…compare the words in A to D to where you are spending the majority of your time. Give yourself a break and don’t be discouraged if your inner values do not align with the way your are investing your time. This just helps you to recognize the ROAR concept — where you are spending your time versus the reward that this is bringing to you. It shows where you are perhaps not in alignment with the real, authentic, inner you. Put a rectangular box around the time blocks that do not align with your true inner values.

Awesome! You have just made a great investment in being clear about what truly motivates you and where you are spending your energies. This will add the fuel to enabling you to shift your time and energy investments into a higher gear.

Your dream vision can be started with playing with the following questions – and remember, life is too short to be taken totally seriously so play, go have fun!

  1. Think back to your dreams as a child or young adult. Some of your dreams may have faded away for good reasons but which dreams still tug at your heart? Perhaps you wanted to be a professional dancer. As an adult that may not be so practical but creating a dance studio may work out wonderfully well. Those dreams can have hints that can lead you to something inspired for today. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the ‘impractical’. Here, it’s time for play — what could each dream morph into and come to life in a new way presently?

This is a great place to bring in your friends again. Have them help you brainstorm on what you could come up with for each of several of your dreams. There are NO limits to this exploration — draw, write, type out as much as you can. Have fun — and this might inspire several dinner parties with your best friends!

  1. Who are your heroines and heroes? What women do you look around to and admire? Is it those that serve, those that lead or those that collaborate for business development? They may be public personalities, leaders of industry, thought leaders — and heroines in your own circle: your grandmother who raised children in challenging circumstances, a brother who has taken in other family members, a boss who is incredible at motivating team members. Who inspires you? Who are they and what traits or gifts of theirs do you most admire?
  2. Who do you want to be a heroine to? Yes, each and every one of us can be a heroine in our own ways. This is not a list to be published in the local newspaper, only in your own heart, so please do not edit yourself down. You may want to be a hero to your own children, community members needing hospice care, someone at work that needs a helping hand and some compassion. Go BIG! This is the list that you want to illustrate your gifts to the world.

Way to go! You have done a large amount of inner work here! Now, look over your lists, pictures, doodles and such with pleasure as they describe your life. Which of your special gifts do you want to make much more use of? Which of our inner gifts are actually the heart beat of your outer dreams? What magic, new venture, creative pursuit, or inspired leadership could you create from this inner strength of yours?

Is it time for you to ROAR? Now do you have a sense of where you are spending time, perhaps distractions, that are not in line with your true dreams?

You intuitively know that there are certain things in life like jobs, family care and long-term commitments that cannot just be dropped. There are areas that you can choose to shift where your emphasis is being placed. The solution is how to gradually diminish spending time on lower return activities and how to increase the time you invest in building your future, your dreams, the things that charge your life with the joy, passion and excitement.

The key to creating sustainable shift is to be clear on what you want to shift. It is a consciousness practice. What is the biggest return or reward that you will get by moving towards your dream, your vision, your true expression? Clarity on biggest returns makes prioritizing and visualizing key action steps very easy!

Of course, if achieving dreams was easy, everyone would already be doing it. This is where the Active Risk part of ROAR comes to help you. Perhaps key people may not understand your dream and why you need to change. It does not mean that your dream gets ignored. It means that you will need to take risks of being vulnerable to enrol people in your dream. When you invest time with each important person and open up about why your dream matters to you, you can enlist them in how they can participate in it. Share your vision, even if it is a risk, with those who can support you — it is essential to bringing your dream to life! Enrolling people in your dream will help you to build your support team, and this authentic communication can open doors to a spectacular life for you to love.

As you move forward on your dream path, there is an important step: CELEBRATE! Celebrate your milestones! Too often we spend so much time working on everyday life that we forget to celebrate successes. Your whole body needs to know that you have achieved and recognize this. Celebration is not reserved for mage events: marriage, childbirth, amazing job or promotion.

Celebration can also come in the form of small steps on the adventure path to your dream. What will you do to celebrate enrolling in a class because it will give you the skills and tools that you need, testing the ideas of how your new small business idea will be received, booking a volunteer speech to get out there to share your message — what will it be? Celebrations might be dinner with a friend, a bubble bath by yourself, a walk in the forest with your dog — so many ways! Bring light to your efforts and the the adventure of taking risks will become easier and easier.

It is time to hear you ROAR: the world needs more dreams! You deserve more celebrations!

As Helen Reddy sang for us in the 70’s — I AM WOMAN – HEAR ME ROAR!

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can face anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman

lori-c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout all of Lori’s professional roles and the big wisdom and experience that she has gained, Lori has developed a practical yet fun approach to integrating people’s needs with processes and technology. Adding value with life experience to individuals, teams, executive groups and boards is Lori’s trademark.

Lori’s combination of blue chip leadership roles and professional coaching provides a unique blend of well-practiced wisdom. Lori’s leadership roles include strategic planning, CRO, business integration of large scale ERP projects, operations finance as well as volunteer roles in Boards for a community hospital, youth mental health and personal spirit development. Experience in large organizations such as Deloitte, CIBC, Canadian Tire Corp., DHL Express, Purolator Courier Limited, Sobeys, Loblaws Companies LTD, and Hudson’s Bay Company has provided Lori with a breadth and depth of experience of both traditional financial roles as well as unique large-scale project management with a strong technical focus.

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