When Your Dream Becomes Your Worst Nightmare

We all have dreams… BIG DREAMS, but what happens when that dream dies or is cut short?

My heart ached today as I watched this clip of Ann Curry’s last day on The Today Show.  This was her dream that came to fruition just one year ago.  Today it was dashed and surrounded with much speculation that she is to blame for the drop in ratings of the show over the last year.

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I don’t know what the real story is behind her dismissal, but all I know is that it must hurt in a big way.

We’ve all been there… the end of a dream.

Maybe your stage wasn’t quite as large as Ann’s but the dream was just as significant for you.

If you’re suffering from the death of a dream today, here’s what I would say to you (and to Ann).

  • You are not your dream.  While it feels like your whole world, you are more than your dream.
  • Don’t let the death of your dream define you.  Don’t let perceived failure crush you.  You are stronger.  You are still extraordinarily gifted.  Don’t let this moment in time stop you from continuing to be all that you are called to be.
  • Own what you can.  What can you learn?  How can you grow from this?  Let this be a stepping stone to something greater.
  • Go ahead and cry.  You need to mourn and let yourself wrestle with the emotions.  It’s okay.
  • Breathe deep and surround yourself with the people who love you dearly and unconditionally.  This is a moment to remember what matter’s most.  Your dreams will come and go but remember what really gives you life.

How have you survived the death of a dream?

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  • Mark Riggins June 28, 2012  

    Jenni this is so practical and good. The death of A DREAM is not the death of ALL FUTURE DREAMS. I started a church & closed it 2.5 years later. It was the best and worst 2.5 years. Nine months ago my family moved from West Texas to the coast of California to begin a new dream that was unexpected and is far exceeding what we ever imagined. Thanks Jenni!

    • Jenni Catron June 28, 2012  

      Mark, thank YOU for sharing that story. So encouraging!

  • Pete June 28, 2012  

    My favorite post you’ve ever written!!

  • Patricia June 28, 2012  

    Wow. I needed to read this today. Thank u.

  • Mindy @ New Equus June 28, 2012  

    When my oldest daughter was born with cerebral palsy, the dream of her life, my life and the life we’d have together died. God replaced it with something just as good…different, but just as good.

    • Jenni Catron June 28, 2012  

      Wow Mindy. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mark Wilson June 28, 2012  

    Wow, who let you into my journal?  That is a great prescription for dealing with the loss.  I recently suffered a blow and I ama  guy so I didn’t cry but I got mad, really mad at a close friend.  It helped to go through that anger with myself and then put it away to begin the learning and moving forward process.  Great post Jenni!

  • Sam June 28, 2012  

    Thanks Jenni.

    For me the most challenging part has been all these questions about did I really seek God enough in both the beginning and in sometimes choosing to end it? Did I miss something from Him? If I didn’t, how come it is hurting so raw? But through all the dreams I’ve survived through or buried, I have learnt this. Though I may not understand everything, I can choose to trust God in the middle of it all to use His wisdom and out it all together. Psalm 18 is my pitstop during such times.

    Psalms 18:20-24
    GOD made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
    When I got my act together,
    he gave me a fresh start.
    21 Now I’m alert to GOD’s ways;
    I don’t take God for granted.
    22 Every day I review the ways he works;
    I try not to miss a trick.
    23 I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
    24 GOD rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

    • Jenni Catron June 28, 2012  

      What a great passage for this, Sam. Thank you!

  • lynne June 28, 2012  

    This is an amazingly kind entry, plus something I really need!  Thank you!

  • Jason Wert June 28, 2012  

    Only in that I’m not dead yet.

  • Grant Jenkins June 28, 2012  

    This is great, Jenni. I’ve walked through three separate “death of a dream” moments, culminating in one huge defining one that changed everything for me. It’s taken me a long time to work through all the emotions and residual effects of those moments. Only recently have I been able to realize that while what I do does not define who I am, it doesn’t mean that I’m not indeed good at those things. I was in deep, and while the process has been painful, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Great post. It caused me to be really thankful for my journey today.

    • Jenni Catron June 28, 2012  

      “while what I do does not define who I am, it doesn’t mean that I’m not indeed good at those things” – I love that point, Grant and I love how you have developed a healthy perspective on it.

  • Betsy73 June 28, 2012  

    beautiful words, Jenni.  thank you.

  • Josh DeVine June 28, 2012  

    Great post, Jenni.

    I’d add another point, too.

    Reevaluate the dream.

    It’s been my experience that a broken dream may not always be a bad thing. I think we set out on a certain course and don’t always rethink our dreams as we ourselves change with time. That’s brought me solace and understanding several times in the past few years!

    Interesting discussion… Thanks for sparking it!

  • Nancy Jernigan June 28, 2012  

    Fabulous discussion on the loss of a dream.  This is such an important topic in the coaching arena and as the other posts have indicated – most of us have experienced the loss of a dream.  Great thoughts Jenni and such an important topic.   Ann did a heroic job of handling the situation on air. 

  • Montina Portis June 29, 2012  

    Excellent post. Thank you.

  • mlukaszewski June 29, 2012  

    Sad but strangely challenging video, and excellent insight from you Jenni.  Fantastic post.

  • Bonnie Solid June 29, 2012  

    Essential advise within this suffering.

  • Jeff June 29, 2012  

    And… Start dreaming new dreams!!! We all have a dream to live out!

  • Jonathan Riggs June 29, 2012  

    “You are not your dream.” Wow. That’s hard. And beautiful.

  • Margaret June 29, 2012  

    love your fourth step: “go ahead and cry”– we often forget that tears are okay and necessary for our soul to heal.

  • Patricia Wooldridge June 30, 2012  

    For years I have bypassed the Today Show in favor of Good Morning America, which I happened upon rather by accident. Couldn’t help but compare the upbeat atmosphere with that of the more hard-hitting Today Show. The GMA staff was covering the news just fine, and with great camaraderie; Today has always had interesting stories and news, but I decided it was, many times, a bit grim now that I had something else to compare it to.  My switching shows didn’t have anything to do with Ann Curry. I’m thinking a lot of people feel the same.

  • Kevin M. Stone July 1, 2012  

    Love Ann!

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