If I wasn’t going to be a host on CNN, NBC was my next dream choice.
My sister and I dreamed of painting New York City red ever since we were little girls. We made our crazy dream a reality and turned it into a plan. We had the best time!

WE all had dreams growing up.

Mine were excessively strange — I wanted to be the pink Power Ranger, to have a magic wand that helped me with math tests, and to work in the Willy Wonka factory (hello, candy!)

Then I became more “mature” and my dreams evolved to which European royal family I was going to marry into (I had a flowchart of which princes were around my age group and even thought up of scenarios of how we would meet), having my own hit talkshow and being the first Malay Pulitzer Prize winner.

Now I have a new set of dreams (of which I will keep to myself at this time) and I’ve realised that with age, most of us lose the ability to dream, let alone dream BIG. We are bogged down by the realities of life and are too busy “adult-ing”.

I look back on my pink Power Ranger days and I envy the excitable, imaginative and daring little Iman I once was.

In-between meeting deadlines, rushing off to meetings and compiling budgets, I’ve had some time to ask myself, “Why don’t I dream anymore?”

Why am I so boxed in with my everyday routine that I don’t have outrageously crazy and fun dreams hanging above my head? You would be surprised how many people seriously limit their dreams. They get embarrassed by their own thoughts and convince themselves that their dreams are too ridiculous.

But they’re your dreams. There should be no limit to them. I once read somewhere, “plans have to be realistic, dreams don’t”. That is a powerful reminder.


Little Iman...probably dreaming about no-nap time days and endless buckets of chocolate ice cream.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO DREAM

Dreams are, at worst, harmless. They stay in your head and only happen if you do something about them. Otherwise, they are safely in your mind — so do not limit them. You are allowed to dream as big, high, wide, bizarre, extravagant, crazy, impossible, wild and colourful as you want.

Allow yourself to wish for anything your heart and mind desires. Dreams are all private — no one is going to judge and smirk at you for having big dreams. It is an intimate thing between you and no one else. Please don’t judge me for dreaming about wanting a pool filled with Willy Wonka Rainbow Nerds candy.

Do you dream about starring in the next big movie opposite Ryan Gosling? Sure! Do you have thoughts about owning a spaceship and travelling to the moon. Okay! Do you dream about being a social media superstar with 100 million followers? Go for it!

Many people think their dreams have to be realistic to be worth dreaming. But that’s a plan and that’s completely different.

I have plans and I take the steps to make them happen. Dreams are allowed to be so so absurd that they are never likely to come true.

I firmly believe that we all have to dream big and plan well. No matter how audacious your dreams are, you have got to have a plan.

Your plan is a guide, a focus, a roadmap, a strategy, an agenda.

Your plan says that you are going somewhere, do something, be someone by a certain time. It gives your life and decisions structure and shape. If you float through life and allow it to simply be anything based on the circumstances and people around you, then you are wasting your time on earth.


I had always planned on attending and being part of Carleton University - that was my only plan! I applied only to Carleton and had no back-up schools. Thank goodness it worked out!

HAVE A PLAN

A book I’m currently reading painted it perfectly, “not all plans work out, not all maps lead to the treasure — but at least you’re in with a better chance if you have a map and a shovel than if you just dig at random.”

There are people out there who don’t dig at all — you do not deserve to be one of those people.

Having a plan demonstrates that you have put some thought about your life and you are not just wanting for something to happen for you. Detail out what you want to do, give yourself a timeline, work out the steps that will get you to your goal and push forward.

If you do not plan your plan, it will forever stay a dream.

Your plan should not be your dreams. Your plan is something you intend on doing, something that must happen — instead of something you want to do. Having a plan means you’ve thought through how you’re going to do it. If my dream to marry Andrea Casiraghi was my plan, I would have bought a one way ticket to Monaco and never looked back — but I chose to keep it as a dream and bought a plane ticket to Canada instead.

Of course, just because you have a plan doesn’t mean that you must follow it, stick to it and obey it to the letter. Your plan is always up for review, for improvement, for change when needed. I’m the perfect example of this! I went to school for Journalism and Political Science, thinking that I was going to graduate and have my own TV show on CNN. I am worlds away from that plan but thankfully, I re-evaluated my plans which led to where I am today.

Your plan should not be inflexible. Circumstances change, you change, your plan changes. The details of the plan do not matter. Simply having one does.

Having a plan gives you a fall-back position because when life gets too hectic, it’s easy to lose track and forget what we are here for. Having a plan means that when life gets clear again and the dust settles, you can ask yourself “What was it I was supposed to be doing? Oh yes, the plan is to.” and you pick yourself back up and get back on track.

So plan well, plan towards your goals, plan to change your plan when the time comes, dream big, dream impossibly, dream bravely. You will go as far as you’d want to take yourself.


Lady Liberty and I.

Journalism graduate Iman Azman continues to navigate her way through the creative industry as a member of the duck group’s marketing team. Here, she muses about her work, finding balance in life and shares what it’s like diving in headfirst into new experiences and opportunities. Follow her journey on https://www.instagram.com/iman_azman/

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