Your original dream never goes away

Gabriel Dont Let Pigeon Drive Bus

You may get distracted along the way and pick up professional degrees in the process, yet these might be considered distractions until you are ready to pick up your dreams once again. As a job interview coach I am committed to making it socially acceptable to fulfill childhood dreams. I believe that the same dream you imagined when you were younger is still worth realizing as an adult. I’m not referring to being a cowboy (unless that’s what floats your boat).

I want you to revisit your original aspiration, the one you had when you first realized your greatest passion, unique talent, or ability.

For me, it was becoming a world-famous copywriter in an advertising agency. I was 12 years old when I thought that up, learning about advertising in elementary school. Around the same time, I was glued to an after-school TV show in which the protagonist owned an ad agency. I was smitten with the idea of owning my own ad agency and coming up with jingles. And yet, I made different decisions the older I became: I eventually meandered into law school, studied for one semester, then left. Instead of following my passions, I went into the corporate world because my then-employer paid for my tuition. The caveat was that I had to work for them in exchange, and then everything afterward was rooted in my need to support myself.

Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking. So much changed from when I was young, back when it was OK to dream freely. As time passed, I picked up more responsibilities, leaving me feeling like I had to suppress my risky dreams with safe choices, such as going to law school or working in corporate. Guardrails went up around my original dream. Those creative aspirations never left me, but they were immobilized by a figurative fence with a big “keep out” sign.

These days, I see a lot of guardrails around my clients’ dreams. What guardrails are you putting up for yourself today? Are they responsibilities to your family? Are they a lack of top talent or skills? No time?

You may hide your dream or put it away, but it will keep popping up from time to time. Soon, you’ll notice that it’ll feel like clockwork whenever you end a chapter of your life: you might rethink your career after being let go from a role, or you might reconsider your life choices when you turn 40.

This idea that a dream never stops rearing its head is showcased throughout many of Mo’s books. The illustrator consistently draws the wily bird from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in the back covers of his other books (you can spot the pigeon in the back of Should I Share My Ice Cream Cone? hidden in the shape of an ice cream scoop). Go ahead and play this hide-and-seek game with your child, who will get a kick out of finding the pigeon.


1. What’s your #1 best excuse now for not pursuing your original dream?

2. Name three people who can use the same excuse yet choose not to be stopped.

Share your answers in the comments below. I want to help you fulfill your dream and will review all comments to offer up ideas to kick-start your individual journey.

Next Stop: Your original dream takes different shapes



Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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