What are your lifelong achievement goals? What did you dream of as a child? Has that changed? Aspirations are those dreams that we conjure up throughout our lives. As children, becoming a fireman, a ballerina, or the President may have been a career goal. But, then, we age and gain new responsibilities.
Our perspectives change, making new things take on more importance. Aspirations are not a one-and-done kind of dream. They evolve as you grow, and life throws some spitballs your way. Understanding how your long-term plans will change helps you understand that you are not failing if life takes a detour.
The 4 Stages of Aspirations
Life seems to run in stages – so do aspirations. Typically, you may find yourself in any one of these stages throughout your life:
Unadulterated Optimism: This stage is more common in our youth when we don’t have the same fears and responsibilities as our older years. This stage is to identify your weaknesses and build your knowledge and skills. You create a better opportunity for success when you know what you don’t know and work to grow in wisdom. Since we don’t know any better, we can dream freely and pursue our dreams.
Worldly Reality: Life does happen, and we get burdened with responsibilities. We start jobs, buy houses, and have families. This is part of life. Your aspirations will seem like they die at this stage, but they don’t. Instead, they are weighed down and go into hiding. You may find that you struggle to find a work-life balance so that you can continue working toward your dreams.
Renewed Dreaming: As time passes, our responsibilities lighten or shift, and we are willing to dream again. For some, this may result in a mid-life crisis. It is easy to become distracted. But, for all of us, it is the time to take a renewed look at our dreams and how we can refocus and refresh our outlook. Often, the result is a firm footing and a renewed perspective on what we want to do with our lives.
Realignment and New Momentum: After renewing our aspirations and shifting as needed, we get the desire to jump in with a sense of purpose. We may feel young again, and others will notice a bounce in our step. Our fears are lessened like in our youth, and the momentum builds to accomplish our hopes and dreams.
Aspirations take a lifetime to accomplish, and you will go through many stages. Understanding those stages makes sense of what is happening and adjusting to achieve your dreams.