I dreamed that a life coach I admire had a new baby.
A postmenopausal woman, let’s call her Cheryl, was struggling to start her own business. She was feeling depressed about her lack of progress and was considering hiring an esteemed life coach, let’s call her Joan, to help her. As Cheryl thought about what to do next, she had a dream: Joan had a new baby.
Sometimes in dreams, babies can symbolize birth of new beginnings, whether regarding a relationship, job, creative project, physical healing, or a new state of consciousness. So when Cheryl first started investigating the dream, she wondered if it was telling her that working with Joan would help her birth her "baby," i.e., the next level of her business.
But then I told Cheryl about an important dream-work principle: Everyone we dream about is an aspect of ourselves. (Of course, this isn't always true, but it's true much of the time.) Contemplating this idea, she realized that she, herself, was the life coach that would help her birth her business. But how? To answer that question, we looked at what traits she associated with Joan. How would Cheryl describe her?
“She’s empowered, confident, enthusiastic, ambitious, and has a lot of drive and energy. She’s also willing to take bold risks."
As she listed Joan's attributes, Cheryl's voice grew strong and firm.
"Joan," she proclaimed, "is a woman of action."
Cheryl, on the other hand, felt unmotivated. "Drowning in her own passivity," as she put it, Cheryl felt far from the can-do attitude and qualities she so admired in Joan. But as we explored Joan’s traits, Cheryl realized she did possess them, just as she possessed the strong voice that listed them. She just hadn’t recently experienced them.
When she first started her business—a bold risk in itself— she had confidence, drive, and ambition to spare, but the task of running the company was exhausting. She also encountered stiff competition that made her doubt herself and her goals. In the end, she felt so deflated, it was hard for her to structure her day, let alone a year of marketing.
So how could Cheryl get her inner Joan back online? As Cheryl contemplated this question, she thought of two things that Joan was always posting about on social media: trusting intuition and setting boundaries. She knew the power of both practices, but in her desire to network, woo new clients, and “measure up” to her competitors, she had stopped listening to herself and let people walk all over her.
Her dream about Joan made her realize that to birth the next level of her business, she needed to set limits with others as well as herself. Instead of getting lulled into complacency, she needed to take action. It was time to create new offerings (Joan always had several in the works), and follow through on her goals, one step at a time. And before she did any of this, she needed to take some quiet time and really listen to what was important to her.
Just this small insight helped Cheryl feel more empowered and confident. She realized that she did have the drive to keep going, she just needed her inner life coach to help her discover it. And she knew, going forward, she could count on her dreams to light the way to her personal and professional success.