Smart moves: Day-dreams can lead to a fuller life

Day-dreams keep us going. As you struggle to remain alert during the management meeting, you might fantasise about opening an organic- food shop in Totnes, writing an Oscar-winning screenplay, or simply going freelance.

What, exactly, is stopping you? Mortgage, pension, partner and children could act as barriers. And, let's face it, you're established; you're good at what you do. Change could entail a loss of status and the need to start from scratch. Taking a step in a new direction demands energy, passion and commitment.

Excuses? Perhaps. But day-dreams can become nightmares if you kick things into touch. Besides, if you follow your heart and make your fantasy a reality, what will you dream about then? It's enough to make you stick to the day job.

Andrew Ferguson, founder of the Breakthrough Network, believes in making dreams real. He advocates encouraging people to create the life and work they want, rather than fitting into what he describes as "other people's job boxes". Change can be dramatic, but it can also be powerfully subtle.

Mr Ferguson set up the Breakthrough Network in 1988 to help people who had made changes in their lives - perhaps by going freelance or by setting up a business - to keep motivated. It offered support in those dodgy moments when the new, maverick spirit was feeling jaded and insecure. More than 8,000 people have benefited from moving through the Network, with 120 people involved at any one time - most of them self-employed, or aspiring to become self-employed.

Today, Mr Ferguson is running a series of mini-workshops called Life- Shift, with the objective of acting as a catalyst for people who want to identify their next step with life and work.

"The starting point is asking: `What is it you most want to happen?' " says Mr Ferguson. "If you're good at something, you don't necessarily recognise that you are good at it; you assume that everyone else can do it too."

The emphasis of Life-Shifting is on finding a balance, getting to your core and discovering a way of living and working that is right for you. This could be as subtle as keeping your existing job but doing it partly from home, or taking the skills you have learned and selling them back to the same industry, but as a freelancer.

Life-Shift equally helps people who do have an outline for a new direction to plan for a change. "Set a day, say one or five years in the future, and work back from it, asking yourself `What do I need in order to do this?' in terms of practical issues such as financial planning. A lot of people make assumptions about what their nearest and dearest might think," says Mr Ferguson. After all, in some couples, one partner might think twice before returning to the family home to announce, out of the blue, that he is giving it all up to study drama. Yet by talking and working things through, a new life plan can be hatched, often giving a much-needed shot in the arm to work-weary households.

And if you are struggling to form a game plan and get bogged down and confused, Mr Ferguson has a simple rule of thumb to follow: "Put joy first."

n Life-Shift mini-workshops (0181-347 7484). Jacksons Lane Community Centre, Highgate, London N6; Wed 7 April, 5 May or 2 June, 6.45pm; pounds 7.50 at door, pounds 6 in advance.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee