Many people dream about what they might be doing. They think, “I’d like to be doing [their dream], but I can’t in my current job.” Before you take a leap, figure out if your passion is a flash-in-the-pan or the real thing. Sometimes we become attracted to something because it’s the hot new thing to do or it’s what others expect of us. Enduring success requires connection with your deepest hopes.

Here’s three steps to establish that connection:

  1. Find someone who will listen carefully to you, without imposing his or her thinking on your dream. Have this generous listener ask, “What are your hopes for your talent?” and then reflect back on what you say. But don’t stop there. Go deeper. Have them also ask, “Why are those hopes important to you?” When you plumb the depths of your hopes, your development will become more focused and authentic. With this foundation, you’ll have the clarity and energy to accelerate through obstacles and multiply the payoffs for yourself and others.
  2. Examine the obstacles to realizing your hopes in your current job. Are these issues that you’ve encountered before or are likely to encounter in future jobs? For example, many people say their obstacles are a difficult boss, unsupportive co-workers, or lack of openings. Whether they change jobs or not, they will need to figure out how to navigate challenges like these anywhere they go.
  3. Consider whether you are running from something or toward what you really want. Often, unresolved issues follow us to our next job. After examining the first two points, you’ll quickly hear whether you’ve outgrown your job or need to grow more within it.

Talented people can do many things. Whether they truly sustain the creativity and effort to accomplish great things depends upon the fire within them. Many people fall short because they chase someone else’s dream rather than their own.