Journal Prompts for When you Didn’t Get Your Dream

I wrote this post in Janaury 2017 and then didn’t post it.

I just found it now, in June 2017 and – holy crap! I don’t remember this. At all. 

This is a post about how I didn’t get what I wanted for my business 2016.

But honestly, this whole year I’ve just been feeling grateful that even though my business has grown slow (by internet marketing standards) it’s grown steady every year. I’m grateful for how sturdy it feels.

In fact, lately I’ve been focused on my bigger long term vision and haven’t been focused on making money right now.

I’ve even accepted that I may make a little less money this year than last year, and that would be totally worth it to have this time to focus on where I want to go with this in the future.

This is the magic of this kind of inner work. The liberation of a truly shifted perspective.

Reading this post I am amazed that I was ever upset about my income from last year.

And that’s exactly the point. When you take the time to process your feelings about the dream you didn’t get – this opens you up to the dream you really want.

Journal Prompts for When you Didn't Get Your Dream

Things do not always go the way you want them to. I mean – you may have noticed that you don’t actually control the universe.

And, especially if  you’re getting out of your comfort zone and going after your dream, you’re going to stumble and fall along the way.

You’re going to go after some dreams and not get them.

Since that’s where I am today, I thought I’d share some helpful journaling prompts for working through it and getting back on the path.

Journal Prompt: How do you feel?

Really dig deep and explore how you’re feeling and write out everything that comes out – you may have a lot of conflicting feelings and that’s good! Get them all on paper in some way.

So I am stuck. I did not get the sales goal I wanted for 2017.

I feel kind of frustrated, in that my business has always grown slower than I have wanted it to.

And yet, when I look at what people do to make businesses grow faster – well I don’t want to do any of that.

And I do make more than enough money!  I mean I got to go to San Francisco and Cancun in 2016, I got to live how I wanted to live. I put money into savings and have no debt other than my mortgage which is over 50% paid for.

I don’t actually need more money.

But for some reason I do want more…

I mean have big dreams for the future that include some things that will cost a lot of money. And I had hoped that this year I could make a lot more than last year, to put myself on track to get there.

Oh wow.

Writing it out like that I see it.

There is no soul in that goal.

I mean yes there is a LOT of soul in what I want to do with this money further down the road but there’s no soul in how I had wanted to get there.

I have no love for growing my business at this point. I have so much love for nurturing what I already have!

So what if I nurture nurture nurture, follow creative instinct and flow and trust the process? I mean that has got me to here, and I love being here.

Journal Prompt: What do you want now?

Now that you’ve vented your feelings and can see things more clearly – Do you still want the same dream? Or is that dream leading you to something else now? You may need some time to explore this one.

I want to chill the fuck out!  I want to not put pressure on myself.

I want to remember how much slow growth has served me. I want to be proud of myself for how I have built this business and the impact it has.

MOSTLY: I want to look to the future with expectancy and delight.

I want to trust myself to handle the stuff that needs handling in order to build the big thing I want to build.

Journal Prompt: What does this situation have to teach you?

This is the biggie!

And this one you want to explore after you’ve had a chance to process your feelings about your dream failing – because there is no such thing as failure!

You have a dream, you set a goal, you do your best to move towards it – what happens as a result either moves you towards your dream or it teaches you what you need to know to move towards your dream.

With each step you learn and you grow and you refine what it is you really want and how you want to get there.

For me? As I write this all out it feels silly to call this past year a failure. I feel more faith that I am moving in the right direction.

What it’s teaching me is to remember to stay in tune with the magic.

And to stay present!

I have this big dream which is a future dream which I can start planning and saving for but I also have to live here in the present and really be here.

But the big thing is: TRUST.

I don’t control the timing of when my dream comes to me (no one does) but I can control how I show up for the process and how long I stay in the process.

Like, I can show up faithfully for my dreams.

I can do my best, right here right now.

And, right here right now, all the frustration I was feeling is gone.  I feel full of trust for myself and for my dreams and for my future.

If there was a failure in this, it was a failure to set the right goal.  But even that was not a failure because I did what I felt called to do and that led me to here – seeing what I need to see.

Sometimes a dream failing puts you on a radically different path.

Thirteen years ago, I had a similar “dream-fail” of not making the money I wanted to make from my creative work.

Except back then I didn’t make the money I needed either, and had to actually give up the artists’ life and go get a job.

That job put me on a new path which led me to where I am today: now celebrating six years of successful self-employment.  In hindsight I can see that the path I was on 13 years ago was NOT going to get me here.

I needed that dream to “fail”.  I needed the things that that job brought me. That’s how I got here.

It’s not the end until you give up.

Some more helpful prompts for exploring + processing the dream you didn’t get:

What went wrong?

Did you do everything you could to make your dream real? EVERYTHING? (There is usually quite a bit of magic and possibility hidden in the places we avoid)

Then the next thing to explore is: What’s next?

Taking all of this into account: how you’re feeling, what you want, what this let-down has taught you – what are you going to do now?

I’m going to celebrate that my business did grow in 2016.

I’m going to let go of wanting more.

I am going to honour my wish to nurture what I have and follow my intuition and creativity about what to do next.

My goal for 2017 will be to feel good in my business. To be proud of me work and how I put my work out there. To push myself to be the best I can. To look towards my future with expectancy and delight.

I will trust myself to do the best job I can to take care of my business and trust my business to grow at the rate that is appropriate to it and not try to push it to look like I think it “should”.

You may need time to grieve your dream that didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped – taking time to grieve in whatever way feels appropriate to you will open up space for your next dream to come to you.

You may need to clean up a mess left by this dream-fail.

You may need more time to find the lesson here.  You may need to cycle through these questions a few times before you find some clarity.

But trust me – it’s not the end until you give up. Keep going.

Journal Prompts for When you Didn't Get Your Dream. End-of-year reflecting can bring up a lot of feelings around dreams that didn't come true this past year - these journaling prompts help you work through the ickiness of that and get to a place of clarity about what to do next.