How I got my dream job using the Dreambook Planner

A little goal setting can go a long way.

I’m not exaggerating at all with the title on this one. I got my dream job last December, and I have the Rituals for Living Dreambook Planner to thank, at least partially.

Here’s how it happened. At the beginning of each year, I meet my bestie, the poet Stephanie Lenox, for a “Board Meeting.” A fellow lover of stationary, paper clips, planning and vision creation, Stephanie is the author of The Business, perhaps the funniest book of poetry you will ever read on work in an office.

Stephanie and I meet to set goals for ourselves, and to hold each other accountable and champion each other as we go about the daily rituals of being a writer. Having such a friend is so important in this life, whether you are writing or not.

So Stephanie and I meet, and we bring along these new Dreambook Planners put out by The Dragontree, an online destination for self-discovery. At this point, I was learning much about myself as I got clear on my writing goals. I know I’m a big picture person, but getting all of the parts working as a whole to meet my vision can be a challenge for me. I have a lot of ideas, a lot of projects, and difficulty prioritizing them. I’m relatively successful as far as professional writers go, but I’m ready to make the next big changes in my process and life in order to really do the work I was put here to do. Then again, I knock myself around a bit wondering some days what that purpose is.

I’ve made a name for myself as a travel writer, but over the past few years, I have gotten more and more obsessed with nesting. Call it a move towards middle age, a chance to really sink in, or just plain old hormones. Never mind that there is so much similarity between the two. If you are a person who feels  place deeply, as I do, you will recognize the feeling.

Yes, if Haley Joel Osment in the 6th Sense, I would say: “I feel spaces.”

So there I am, ready for a necessary rebrand of my work, when I meet the Dreambook. It’s a 300+ Page PDF download (it also comes as a printed book you can order) that challenges its users to identify and connect with their deepest longings in life, establish rituals of reflection and re-invigoration, and create the time and space to set goals and meet them. There are other focus planners out there, and certainly other calendars, but I am a busy woman drawn in about 50 directions, and I appreciate how the planner carves out room on the page for things that are just as important as “Getting Sh*t Done.”

I did the exercises, I filled out my lists, and like usual, I made too many things to do. Among the awesome life goals I wrote down and accomplished this year:

  • Got a writing assignment to go to Maui
  • Curated a bonsai exhibition at our family business
  • Rebranded myself with this new website (hi!), a new logo, and a new way of looking at my work
  • Wrote 3/4 of a memoir book proposal (stopped short a bit there)
  • Joined a women’s choir
  • Took a romantic weekend in Portland with my husband
  • Wrote for Oregon Home magazine
  • Protested Betsy Devos visit to McMinnville
  • Began ukulele lessons with my son.

The theme I chose for the year?

2017: The Year of Feeling at Home in the World.

That’s me. Always trying to feel at home, and yet be in the world. It’s a tough task most days. On the one hand, it is a phrase deeply connected to my work-at-home lifestyle, but it also speaks to how important it is to feel like I am having an impact, that my actions matter, even if I’m so sheltered by domesticity.

Come December, I experienced a real surprise. I got a nice email from an editor I work with often inviting me to apply for the editor position of Oregon Home magazine. I think I might have done a Willy Wonka heel kick at the thought. I can’t think of a better job for someone who grew up visiting open houses, obsesses over spaces, and whose number one calling in life is to create experiences for others.

It is my D*R*E*A*M JOB.

“What kind of magic juju visioneering is this?” you might be asking.

I have no idea how it works, but I do know that nothing has been more powerful for me this past year than realizing your own priorities and aligning everything in my life in order to achieve my desires.

Some days I feel lucky, [SO GRATEFUL!] but most of the time I give myself more credit and look back on my 10 years freelancing with the understanding that I am the one who got me here.

But what about creating space for other priorities? There are pages for that. I find it helpful that there aren’t numerous boxes to really go nuts in, but just six. Six priorities for the year, six major things to take on. I’m a person who is self-directed, but I also value other experts imposing limits on me, otherwise I can feel too scattered and take on too much.

Finally, I should mention that using a planner like this can be a challenge if you decide to go all-in on some areas of your live without focusing on others. I didn’t really include any health goals in my 2017, and sure enough, I spent the last quarter of the year sick and going to the doctor’s every other week. I’m better now, and I’ve got a better routine, but it wasn’t worth hitting this low. I focused a lot on my interface with the world (relationships, branding, my creativity, speaking, travel, and home projects) and did not include anything about personal health beyond joining the women’s choir (hey, singing is supposed to boost immunity!).

That’s my biggest change for this year: Getting straight on personal health. For me, that might mean less of an obsession with everyone else’s experience of things and more of a focus on what it feels like to be in my own body day-to-day. It’s going well so far.

Have you used a planner to make a big change? Read more about the Dreambook here.