Its impending arrival elicits more dread than any other day. Unlike its four work week siblings, the hatred for Monday goes so deep it doesn't even get a cute nickname. It's no Taco Tuesday, Hump Day, Little Friday, or Fri-yay. No one is shouting TGIM and high five-ing their colleagues when Monday rolls around.
I am familiar with the creeping sense of dread that hits around 4:00 PM on a Sunday. I have experienced the slow descent into the realization that in less than 24 hours I would be back doing something stressful, unpleasant, or ill-fitting. I've had those jobs.
But I haven't felt that dread for the M-word in quite a while. The job I have now is meaningful and fulfilling, and leaves me room to follow personal pursuits in my off time. I've realized, it was never Monday. It was me all along. If you're wondering whether Monday is to blame, ask yourself this: is it Monday that plagues you, or does the end of the weekend just mark another small death of the dream that makes you feel fulfilled? Was it Monday's fault that it came, or your fault for allowing another day to pass without identifying, pursuing, and fighting for your dream?
When I worked in positions that did not fit me well or leave room for my individual, unique pursuits, I felt as if I was stuck in transition. Of what didn't fit, I was fully aware, and yet I did not know what would. I was stuck between one thing and the next, unsure of what to do.
There is something potent in the word pursuit. It conjures the image of a predator fixing its sights on something it needs to survive. Without the gazelle, the lion starves. The pursuit of the gazelle is instinctual. Likewise, the desire to pursue your own dream comes from a gut-level knowledge that this thing must be had. If you don't catch that gazelle, my friend, you are going to starve. Do you recall in nature documentaries what happens to lions when prey is scarce? They get desperate. They take risks and go after more dangerous and impossible prey and get trampled in the process. They start to lose energy. They sleep more, run slower, and eventually drop to the ground to conserve whatever precious energy they have left for the basic functions of life. The narrator utters concerning phrases like, "If she doesn't eat soon, the lioness herself will become a meal..."
Feed the predator, folks.
When we let the dream get farther and farther from our grasp, we give ourselves over to a slow, sluggish mental demise. We pursue toxic behaviors and people as an act of desperation. The dreamer and doer inside of us shrinks, and the world weary realist takes over. Take heart! When we see our dream as something worthy and able of being pursued, our entire outlook changes. There are things you can do that will fill you with energy and enthusiasm. We can feed the pursuer inside of us in realistic, practical ways.
Here's one of mine: I run, and I know of many runners who have been able to pursue running full-time through sponsors and race winnings. It is unlikely that I will ever be able to do that. Making a living solely from the pursuit of our dreams is not a reality for many of us. Instead, I find fulfillment in pursuing running in the mornings, evenings, and on the weekends. I can be sincerely invested in my job because I refuse to allow another Monday to pass without having chased after something that brought my dream life and my real life into closer congruence.
The most important lesson I learned from times of transition, Monday dread, and the reality of needing an income is that, although the facts of life are sometimes harsh, I cannot give up the pursuit of a dream and work that allows room for that dream. But I will have to fight for the dream. So will you. On to the pursuit.
Whether you're attempting to pursue a dream or haven't even identified one yet, consider attending our Dream Chasing Gathering on Saturday, May 14. Veteran dream chaser Charity Reeb and Bravery Board co-founder and big dreamer Madison Hedlund will share wisdom, lessons learned, and practical advice in a hands on workshop designed to help you identify and chase after your dreams.