Step 11

The Dreamer’s Manual:
Sixteen Steps to Achieve Your Creative Goals

Step 11: Adapt

The chance that every dream you ever have will come true is basically nil, and that’s a good thing. If you got everything you wanted, you would probably be unhappy. So, given that some of your dreams won’t work out, how should you deal with the disappointment?

The key is to adapt to changing circumstances.

Imagine you are a voice actor who dreams of recording audio books for the most popular titles in the world. You spend many years training your voice and working your way up the ladder, until you finally secure a chance to audition for one of the top publishers. You are on the cusp of achieving your dream. The audition appears to go well, and your contact at the company promises to call you within a week to let you know if they can use you on any of their projects.

But, when she gets back to you, she says the consensus is your voice is too deep and you speak too slowly for the high-impact action and adventure stories they want to produce.

You have been rejected. How should you react?

Here are three options:

  1. Quit the industry
  2. Determine if you can change your voice to fit the publisher’s needs
  3. Research other genres of audio books in which your unique voice will be an asset

Let’s say option #1 is a non-starter, because you haven’t worked this hard to simply give up, so you try option #2. However, despite receiving special training, and long hours of practice, the new demos you record and send to the publisher are rejected. That leaves you with option #3 – research other genres in the audio book industry.

You search popular audio book formats and discover there is a big market for hypnosis and meditation titles. You then record new demos and send them to the top ten companies in the field.

To your surprise and delight, three companies love your demos and offer you work. Through determined effort, you found your niche, and it ultimately leads to a long and fruitful career.


Though you didn’t achieve your original dream of recording for the top publishers, you still found enough success to make a very good living and you are extremely proud of your accomplishments. You adapted to the situation and found a way to make it work for you.

Dreams are important, and you should do everything in your power to achieve your goals. But if you fall short, or if the results are not what you expected, there may be unforeseen benefits to your situation. Perhaps your work/life balance is better, because you do not have to work the crazy hours of a top audio book star. Perhaps you make enough money to be financially secure, but not so much that it leads to overspending and unhappiness. Perhaps you have more creative freedom, because you are working in a more nurturing aspect of the industry, and as a result, you develop lifelong friendships with coworkers and have a high level of job satisfaction.

In order to take advantage of the surprising twists and turns in life,  be flexible enough in your thoughts and actions to roll with the punches. You may very well land on your feet, in a better place than you ever imagined.

Adapt to changing circumstances and embrace unexpected opportunities

Step 11: Adapt


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