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The Lunch Break Dream Launch: How to pursue any passion in 25 minutes or less

© 2009 Avocationist · October 14th, 2009 · 5 Comments

2374870236_d0b2330115Photo by renedepaula

Do you have too many interests and not enough time?

Here's a quick way to try out your secret dreams, create some new ideas and sow the seeds of your next adventure - all without leaving your desk.

Today I used it to feed my "travel jones" during lunch: I went to Brazil.

Here's my Lunch Break Dream Launch process:

1. Choose the first interest that pops into your head

Start the process with any dream you have - world travel, music, woodworking. Think quickly and capture the first things that come to mind.

Then write down what your dream is - it's fine to be vague, high-level and even a little crazy at this point. You might want to go to every country in the world or play clarinet at Carnegie Hall or learn how to call square dances. The only requirement is to actually write the idea down.

Then, spend 10 minutes on Google searching for the main words in your dream - for example, "world travel", "clarinet", "square dancing".

2. Get more specific to get more creative

As you get results back, follow your instincts and click on any site that draws your attention. For example, if you like movies and travel, you might do a search and remember that you've always wanted to go to the Cannes Film Festival.

Then do a search on that more specific version of your dream. Look for the details you would need to make a good plan.

Maybe Cannes is too far off for now. But find out when it is. (It's in May and the weather is lovely - I checked).

Maybe you don't have the money to pay for a fancy hotel on the Cote d'Azur or to rent a yacht in the harbor. So search some travel sites to see if there are creative ways to get there - Can you volunteer? Can you offer to lead a tour group? Can you get a pass from a small film production company?

As you begin to dig for details, you'll start to broaden the list of ways you can experience your dreams.

3. When you get stuck, blow it up

If you get stuck or bored, take a different direction.

You could see what other film festivals are going on - there are several in the US. Find one near a city where you have a friend or relative (= free place to stay).

Or think about the "pieces" of your dream. When you think about "Film Festivals", what does that bring to mind?

Is part of it seeing interesting movies? Then find out what is showing at your local Art Theatre or University. Leave work on time one day this week and catch the 7pm show.

Is part of it sharing your perspective? Write a review of the movie.

Is part of it the thrill of interacting with other film buffs? Send a note to the film's director with your feedback.

4. Tangents can become your new path in life

Traveling to South America is on my list of dreams, so today I searched for cities in Brazil and Argentina. While looking for cheap ways to travel, I stumbled across a website called "couchsurfing.org" with a list of people who would let me crash at their houses for free. I searched not just in Brazil, but also in California (where I'm headed on a business trip soon). Then I went to Orbitz and researched flight schedules and costs.

With each new piece of information, I'm building on a plan that can someday soon get me to South America. And I know I'll be able to do it while managing my household budget and my other responsibilities.

See how it goes?

5. What's in it for you

Now, I may not take this particular trip to Brazil. And that's perfectly fine. Even if I never make it there, my Lunch Break Dream Launch has given me some powerful benefits:

    I spent time on me. I got to do something just for fun and I broke up the monotony of a regular day.

    I focused my brain on what matters to me. Even when I stopped doing the search, there was part of my mind that was still thinking and scheming and planning.

    I motivated myself to keep going. Now that I've started planning, I am looking forward to my next 15 minute break where I can find out more and take the next steps.

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Tags: Career Change · Meaningful Work · Personal Growth

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rachel Z Cornell // Oct 15, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Some of my secret dreams are to...
    1) Have a syndicated radio program
    2) Live in a beautiful home in a tranquil setting on property large enough to include studios and a "Thinkers Retreat"
    3) Study Philosophy
    4) Publish my first book!
    5) See the world!!

    Okay, I can see how to apply your ideas to every one of my (not so) secret dreams except for number 2? Any thoughts?

    Oh and I was just in Cannes and the weather was perfect!

  • 2 Avocationist // Oct 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    @Rachel - awesome list! OK for #2, here's how I would break it down - first, think about what you would *experience* if you had that home with the studio and thinkers retreat. I see 3 pieces: "beautiful home" "studios" and "thinkers retreat" - think about what each of these mean to you - try to think of examples of where you've experienced these before.

    So: what does "beautiful home" mean to you? Can you do something small to your home or your office to make it beautiful? Or, can you spend a couple of hours somewhere beautiful in your town this weekend? Go there and see what beauty means to you - you can pick up ideas for your living space now.

    For studios- do you want them close to your home, or is it that you just need studio space? I have a friend who agreed to help out a pottery studio in exchange for free use of space. You could also offer to teach a seminar at a local college in exchange for use of their studio. If it's at your home, you could dedicate some small space (for now) exclusively to your art. Go to a working artists' studio and make a list of what you'd want to have there.

    For "thinkers retreat" - can you break this down further? Thinkers might be making some time for thinking in a quiet space - a park, a walk, a library. Retreat might be some other spot that provides time away from the rest of your life.

  • 3 Lissa Boles // Oct 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

    What a great idea! I did something similar, tho far less 'digital' (shall we say - it was pre-google days), everyday or holistic when I started dreaming.

    And I was stuck in the singular and linear: when I dreamed it was like I should (oy) only dream of one thing at a time - and then, only 'I have to leave my job to live my dream' kind of dreaming.

    Anyway, I'd dream at home (it didn't occur to me to do it at the office for some reason), and whenever an image that captured the feel of my dream showed up I'd cut/rip it out, take it in and stick it on a cork board beside my desk. Hadn't heard of a 'vision board' at the time, so this was completely spontaneous, time, and I had quite the collage when I was done. Boy o boy did it help me stay in touch and keep my dream alive between dream-times. It was like holding a winning hand no-one else knew about.

  • 4 susan // Oct 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm


    Awesome article. Deserving of the link on Zen H, I'm so glad I clicked on it.

    Thanks for your insights. They are thought-provoking and valuable.

  • 5 Stephen Borgman // Mar 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks for the great tips on how to use my lunch break to pursue those dreams! It's also a good way to use any down time. Recreation is re-creation: a great way to create something new, refreshing, and adventurous!

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