|Photo from ramaty on photobucket|
You can't live on dreams alone. Author unknown?
However, I believe that without dreams you may not feel like you are living, so find a way to work towards your dreams even when money is tight. So here are five ways to start dreaming on a dime.
Have you let a DreamBuster stop you from working towards your dreams? Feel free to e-mail me or post a comment about what is holding you back & I will try to help you find a creative way to conquer your DreamBuster.
When bills are piling up, even cats can get discouraged!
I decided to start a new series of articles by posting the photo (on the right) on facebook, twitter, tumblr & google+. I copied the original photo from photobucket & hope that the film Ghostbusters will forgive me for changing the image. Here's what I posted:
Please SHARE & comment, I need your help. I'd doing research for a series of blog posts. (you can remain anonymous in posts if you want, just let me know or send a personal message) What's your biggest dream buster? Fill in the blank: The biggest thing that stops me from moving towards my dreams is_________________.
From the feedback I received, one of the top DreamBusters for many people is feeling that their dreams are impractical since they do not have enough money to even consider dreaming.
These are very difficult financial times. People are out of work, searching for jobs, struggling to make ends meet. Gas prices are soaring. No one can deny that it is hard to dream when faced with concerns about putting food on the table or paying the mortgage. As a psychologist, working with people who have overcome adversity, I know that dreams can play a part in not only surviving, but thriving. In earlier posts I have told some stories about people who have overcome financial hardship & reached their dreams (How a Motorcycle Accident and A Fire Rekindled a Dream, Teenager Doesn't Let Anything Stop Her Dreams, When Life Gives You Lemons, Open A Lemonade Stand)
, , but today i want to give you 5 tips on ways to move towards your dreams on a dime.
1) Research your dream.
Use your computer (or a computer at a library) to do research about your dream. It costs just your time & energy. The more you know about the dream & ways others have accomplished it, the more you can find creative ways to make it happen. there may be apprenticeships, internships or certificate programs that you are not aware of which may make the dream more attainable than you think. Find out about scholarship or incentive programs www.studentscholarships.org/
Cost to you: Time & access to a computer
2) Volunteer close to home.
Whether you are out of work or working on a tight budget & unhappy with what you are doing, consider volunteering part time at something you have always dreamed about but never tried. If you love animals & wish you had become a veterinarian, volunteer at a zoo or animal hospital. If you have no training in teaching, but would like to see if it suits you, volunteer in an after school program or on weekends. Offer a few hours a day, an evening or a day or two a week & it will help you in three ways. First, you will feel better by doing something you enjoy. Second, you will gain experience to add to your resume which could help you land a job in the field you have dreamed about for years. In addition, it will help you decide whether you are really interested in this new vocation.
Cost to you: Time & transportation to the site
3) Take a gap year or a volunteering vacation.
If you are more adventurous, consider applying for the Peace Corps or AmeriCares. Although you are a volunteer, room & board & medical insurance are included. It is a way to travel & try out new career paths.
If you are working & afraid to leave your job, you could also consider volunteering abroad for a week to a few months during a vacation or leave of absence. It requires saving for airfare & fees for the stay, however, it could give you an amazing experience & possible new direction for future employment. I googled one program, International Volunteer HQ, to give you an idea of what the costs could be (1 wk $270 to 2 months $770 - $1030 depending on the country + airfare). There are many other sites with volunteer opportunities online.
You can consider a gap year at any age, don't assume that you are too old for a program, ask!
Cost to you: Peace Corps or AmeriCares: Time
Volunteering abroad:Time & $500- $2000 (so for this you may need to save for a while depending on the program you choose).
4) Start a business on the side.
In this day & age, starting a business does not require a huge investment. If you have an idea that can be sold via the internet, you can do it with minimal finances. Use your evenings & weekends to test the waters. Pick something that you love so that you will enjoy the process of building the business until it begins to make money. If you have a friend who shares your interest consider partnering with them to share the responsibilities.
Cost to you: Time & access to a computer, website (start with a free site)
5) Move, after training, to an area with under-serviced populations.
Many people are unaware that there are scholarships available for professions offering services to populations in areas that are currently under-serviced. Many medical, counseling & teaching opportunities are available. The California Government's Health Professions Education Foundation site offers scholarships to under-serviced areas needing medical professionals in California. On the National Board of Certified Counselors site I found in a quick search provides information on helping prepare certified counselors for under-serviced populations. Programs like these are available in rural communities as well as urban ones. You may need to move once you have trained in the field, but you may be able to find a community near where you live & have a job lined up when you finish training.
Cost to you: Time & moving expenses after training is completed
There are many more resources available to help you start moving towards your dreams. You can conquer your DreamBuster! Let me know if you get discouraged & I will help you find some alternative ways to overcome them. Stay tuned for additional tips on how to conquer other DreamBusters...