Careers March 2011


The way to your dreams & goals is one step away

 “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” –  Henry David Thoreau

 Everyone has dreams of how they would like their life and career to shape up. Dreams of achievement and success. Dreams of relationships and fulfillment. Dreams of contributing in some way to others or to family.

For many, dreams remain just that – dreams. Without action, without a plan to achieve, without movement. Over the years, I have come to learn why this happens in so many cases – people just tend to make it too complicated, interwoven and difficult to navigate, needlessly I must add, in most circumstances.

As a child, life unfolds and puts us in control when we take our first step. In our career, it is the same, if one can just take that first step, a baby step if you will. Your plan will unfold and you will be on your way to achieving your dreams and be in control. It doesn’t have to be monumental – just a step forward. Perhaps it is simply writing your dreams and goals on a piece of paper, or making a plan to save $XXX dollars each month, or opening the mind to accept new ideas and options. The simpler the better and as Henry David Thoreau states, “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” This is so true. The barriers will disappear; the obstacles that you couldn’t move out of the way before will be easier to move to allow you to confidently pursue your dreams. 

What obstacles tend to stop people

from working toward their goals and dreams?

  • Lack of clarity – I think I know what I want, but I am not sure.
  • Lack of time – I want to, but I can’t seem to carve out the time.
  • Fear – One word, but the great immobilizer. The fear of failure, the fear of commitment, the fear of whatever. What if I fail?

You can move the first two out of the way by committing to seek help in achieving clarity through a friend, mentor or professional and then scheduling “me” time everyday (or maybe an extended period once per week) for 5 minutes or 30 minutes – whatever you can commit to.

The last – fear – well, that can be more difficult if one lets it rule their life. What is one of the best ways to handle fear? Ask yourself the question (and be truthful): What is the worst that can happen? Bet you two-to-one when you think about the true answer, it isn’t all that monumental and life-shattering and could be overcome.

Once you remove the obstacles to taking the first step to a new you (or You, Inc.), you can plan your actions on a daily or weekly basis and document your progress. The first step may be:

  • Commit to 20 minutes of exercise every other day to either maintain or start your way back to physical fitness, which is critical for mental clarity.
  • Sign-up for one opportunity to meet a new group of people, be it a networking event, volunteer opportunity or an online social networking site that connects you to those who can be a resource to you, such as
  • Read an inspirational quote either in print or online first thing in the morning to set your mind to the positive path. Your frame of mind will define your actions and make them positive.
  • Organize your “space” and activities. I live by a Do-List (rather than a To-Do list – more action focused). Being better organized allows you to be more efficient and in control and that is what we are striving for.

You have heard the expression “Living the Dream”? What are you waiting for? Do it!

Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie.  You can reach him at 641.8968 or or visit


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