"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

8 Women Dream: An Interview With Dream University Founder Marcia Wieder Part 1

Marcia Wieder of Dream University 

1. What is the story behind the 1 million dream challenge?

The 1 Million Dream campaign is our lead initiative out of Dream University. The idea is to really change how people, think, speak and act upon their dreams. Instead of it being a “maybe someday,” ”when the kids are gone,” or “when I have extra money,” or “when I retire” dream the real question is: How do you want your life to be and what are you going to do about it?

So the idea is that we want people to post their dream on the Million Dreams website.

There is no cost to it at all. We just want you to get your idea out of your head to increase the likelihood of it happening by a thousand percent.

We define a dream much like 8 Women Dream does, as something that you want. It can be a professional dream, or for your health, or for a certain relationship. Not all dreams need to be what we like to call the “Mother Teresa” world dream (the “I want to be President” type dream). The dream can simply be “to spend more quality time with my family.”

2. In my experience with 8 Women Dream, I’ve seen people settle on a dream, only to never work on it, or want to constantly change it to something else they won’t work on either. What causes this? It’s like they can’t really figure out what their dreams are.

Create Your Future Now with Marcia Wieder

I think this is very common.

I’ve seen it in my workshops where half the people don’t know what their dream should be. We are often so mired in reality, so busy living from our clocks and our calendars that we don’t even know what our dreams are.

And some people choose dreams that they have no control over, like winning the lottery, which makes putting together simple steps to build their dream an impossible task.

I think you are very wise on 8 Women Dream in coaching people to take smaller steps.

Bring the dream down to a level where you will feel comfortable working on it.

For me it starts when someone says, “I don’t have a dream. I don’t have a dream!”

Usually these people are judging themselves and they are kind of panicked, and I say, “Look. Your dream is to have a dream!” And they look at me and have that light-bulb moment of, “Ohhhhh. I get it. I actually do have a dream.”

Then it’s more powerful to move towards what you want than to come from a place of moving away from what you don’t want, which is what you have probably watched those dreamers do on 8 Women Dream.

So their dream is really to have a new dream and their job is to spend the next 30 days on a “passion quest” to discover who they really are.

They (or anyone in the same state of mind about the idea of having a dream) should ask themselves the following question –

What makes me feel good?

The answers might be to take a bubble bath, or read a good romance novel. It doesn’t have to be ‘fly to Paris’ — that bigger than life thing.

Start small with what makes you feel good. What brings you joy?

Start doing more of these things and become aware of what your ‘this feels good’ feelings feel like when you are doing something that you love doing.

Another thing that happens during a challenging economy is that people think that their dreams are something soft — like something to do if they have “extra” — like a luxury item.

Until I tell them that people with passions and dreams live 7 – 10 years longer and enjoy a better quality of life and that statement usually gets them to sit up and take notice.

(I tell Marcia that I forgot about her “passion quest” which is an exercise I did myself some years back. It really does bring your dreams down to earth.)

I am so flattered that you’ve read my books because what you’ve created with 8 Women Dream is really quite extraordinary. I’ve been all over your site and I’ve read a lot of your posts and it’s so juicy … and organic … and engaging that I really, really acknowledge you. I hope you are going to come to my workshop in San Francisco on July 21st so we can meet and see how we can support each other.

(I should interject here that when someone you admire, who is living your dream on a mega-level tells you something like this …it’s hard to remember to breathe and take it all in. To know me is to know how much time I spend devoted to making this site the best that I possibly can so that it encourages women to do what brings them joy. And I am not talking about finding that joy in someone else, but in creating that joy for yourself. To have Marcia acknowledge my dream was a moment in the interview where I wanted to cry, but there’s no crying in interviewing.)

3. I know you are big on dream deadlines. I have seen dreamers flounder at the one year point of living their dream. How do dreamers come up with realistic deadlines that they will use for achieving their dreams?

Big dreams or long-term dreams can die when they just plop it on a to-do list, like publishing a book or start a business, which really should be broken down into smaller dreams or dream projects and strategies that can be accomplished in one month or less. Because a month is a short enough time for you to stay passionate and engaged, but a long enough period of time where you can actually produce a substantial result.

So if you choose a really big dream, like “to write a book” then by the end of 30 days say, “I am going to accomplish a smaller dream of having the Table of Contents done. 30 days from that I’m going to have my first chapter started,” and so on.

You chunk that big dream down into little dreams. Because dreaming is an interesting paradox. The difference between a dream like winning the lottery and a dream strategy is the dream strategy allows you to design a way to complete your dream. The paradox is that if you pick a dream where you can never go to strategy the dream just remains a fantasy or a nice idea.

But you also have to be careful because if you go straight to strategy too soon, you often end up compromising the dream down and selling out on it before you’ve allowed yourself the chance to explore the possibilities.

People have to find that balance between hanging in there long enough to open to the vision and the greater possibilities, along with other resources, miracles and short cuts — and all that other stuff that comes up as you take your next step, and then the next step so that you actually stay in action.

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