10 years of ago I left the corporate world with the sole purpose of telling the world about the power of dreams – what a journey! Part 1
Ten years ago I left an otherwise very promising career inthe corporate world (pharmaceuticals) – and started my company DreamAlive with the sole aim of bringing the power of nocturnal dreams to you, and to everyone else. This is an account of that (now 10-year) journey – the good parts, and the (very) challenging parts of it.
Today, the mission has sharpened its focus into: igniting the corporate world with the power of dreams. This because the corporate world desperately needs it in its transition away from a deeply worn out paradigm in which money and (remaining in) power speaks louder than mission, meaning and human thriving.
A paradigm that fuels an ever growing stress epidemic, and a paradigm in which “quiet quitting” and “the great resignation” are symptoms of a (corporate) world deeply out of balance (for more on the vast potential of proactively utilizing dreams in the corporate world, see my mission paper).
Moreover, the following is an account of following, listening to, my own nocturnal dreams. Dreams that led me on this path, dreams that have kept me on it, and continue doing so, also by lifting me up when I am down. Telling me that I do have what it takes when my waking thoughts tell me I don’t.
And no, this is not a “it all began in December 2012, and today I’m a millionaire”-story. It did begin in December 2012, with me starting my own company, DreamAlive, as a solo-entrepreneur. And it does continue in 2023, and most likely will continue for the rest of my life. As it turns out, it was never about the money, although the dream of being rich at times has led me astray.
Image caption: One of my best early memories (2014) was when I was booked for a talk at the public library in Nuuk, Greenland. There I met “Gustav the Clown” (upper left image) who was to entertain the kids for Nuuk Culture weekend, we had a blast. My hair was quite long when mostly doing webinars during Covid-19 (upper right). And of course – another great memory – a public talk at Glyptoteket Copenhagen with ~600 participants (lower left), my first talk in front of such a big crowd. Lately a major milestone has been the talks I have begun doing for top / senior leadership networks (lower right, for Danish “VL-5”).
The full journey started about 21 years ago (2002), when I due to self-esteem issues started seeing a psychologist. A psychologist, who introduced me to the world of dreams. Frankly, I thought I wasn’t dreaming, and also believed that the idea of “listening to your dreams” was just a lot of mumbo jumbo. Boy was I wrong, on both accounts!
When I back then discovered the immense resource that our dreams are, I already envisioned doing talks at workplaces about this, because… “the POWER, ohhh the power of dreams!”
It took me ten years to find the courage to start doing so.
What have happened since then is hard to fathom. But I believe it is what happens when you start paying attention to those nocturnal dreams of yours. It has not been an easy journey though. Listening to your inner voice – as expressed directly and loudly in our dreams – never is.
It has been a journey with lots of worries, enormous amounts of fear, and many sleepless nights. Often because of this one question; “where will the money come from (next year, next quarter, next month)?!” Worries and fears that Covid-19 more than anything, and quite brutally, taught me to slowly let go of, simply because I found out that despite the world being shut down, money did come from somewhere!
In fact, it is only about a year ago that I have finally (utterly) stopped considering whether I should get a regular job again (and funny enough, since I have stopped considering it, my wife has stopped suggesting it).
On the journey there has been numerous dreams supporting me and leading me. Like the dream, already described in a previous newsletter, where a mourning woman buries a number of dead babies. A dream that I had on the night after having accepted an attractive “all-paid for” expat position in the headquarter of my employer back then, a huge American pharmaceutical corporation.
To me, babies are little creatures that can grow up and become almost anything, and the dream made it very clear to me that by continuing that career, I was burying a great number of other development opportunities and talents! I used that dream to find the courage to leave that career.
My first next step then was to start working as a management consultant in the consulting industry – a job I was fired from after just eight monhts; what a shock! Especially as I left my first career in pharmaceuticals with the awkward and inflated feeling of being worth somewhat more than other people (“you are so talented”, “you’re a rising star in this industry!”, “you’ve got it all laid out for you!” “I cannot believe you are leaving this career!”).
Also a career in which I was officially on an internal so-called “fast-track leadership career path”. Being fired was a humbling and highly developing experience.
In what followed… BOY have those dead babies been brought back to life! Firstly, I started working as a trainer in project management and leadership (still consulting industry, but now as a teacher!). In this job, I was awarded with the prestigious Danish Talent 100 Award for my abilities as a trainer/speaker to tune into my audience (babies fully alive!).
And of course, those babies have been alive and kicking at all the talks on unconscious intelligence / dreams that later followed. Yes, those babies primarily were all about my speaking and training abilities, but also about my writing abilities (more about those in Part 2 / next newsletter).
Another dream was a dream I had when as a full-time consultant (project management trainer), I was intensely, and more than ever, considering to start my own company. This in order to have more time to start building my dream business (yes, as one of very few people, I can use that term with it having a double meaning 🙂 ).
More specifically I had an offer to start working as a freelance trainer in project management/leadership, not knowing whether there would actually be any money to make. But it was a real option to break free and start pursuing my dream of telling the world about the immense resource that our nocturnal dreams are. Of following my calling, or “dharma” as buddhists would call it.
This was my dream: The setting in the dream is a competition in which a bigger group of people compete on being the first person to cross a huge peace of rough land (incl. mountains and desert landscape). At the outset I am strong, fast, and I am leading the competition. At some point we are to pass through a water slide running through a mountain.
The slide has been created by blowing up pieces of the mountain, in other words, it’s gonna be a very rough and bumpy ride. A ride that without a doubt will cause you pain and scars as you pass through the slide. This is where I stop. I simply don’t dare taking the ride, as I am deeply afraid of taking the beating I am no doubt going to get.
Once I turn around to leave the slide, and thus leave the competition, I see a large group of teenagers preparing for the ride through the water slide. They are laughing, having a really good time. They truly don’t care about the “little scratches” the ride will cause them, and on they go, throwing themselves head on onto the slide (end of dream).
When awakening from this dream I am quick to realize what it is saying. How did I realize that? Longer story, and something I have written a whole book (now a best-seller) about, but at this point in time, I just intuitively knew what it meant (more about my writing career / books in next newsletter / Part 2). The dream told me I had become too much of a safety-seeker in life, and that I had to lean more into the teenage “don’t give a damn”-kind of attitude to life.
The water slide symbolized what would await me if I decided to embark on the journey of starting my own company (in fact, follow my own path in life); a lot of beating, but also continuing the journey my soul would want me to take, as opposed to what everyone else seemed to think was right for me. I spent a week building up the courage, and then told my boss Claus that I was quitting my job, in order to start my own company. And yes, I have taken some beatings (big ones too!), but boy has it been worthwhile.
There has been so many more dreams supporting me on my journey, and in Part 2 (next newsletter), I will share an intense dream that I had no longer than about a year ago, at a point in time where I felt like I was about to give up the whole thing (again!). For now, do see the photo collage on my career as dream scientist (also a big part of what I do), incl. the description below the images.
Image caption:I am originally trained at Copenhagen Business School (MSc. in International Business / Cand.Merc IBS). From the beginning I intuitively knew I had to supply that with an additional education if I were to do what I dreamt of doing; sharing the important message about dreams / unconscious intelligence at workplaces in a science-backed way. I thus began studying psychology part-time at Copenhagen University (evening courses), and after a year of full-time studies at Lund University/Sweden, I in 2012 completed a Bachelor of Psychology (picture middle left). That was where my scientific dream research began, research that has so far resulted in three research articles (all published in an American peer-reviewed journal called Dreaming, published by American Psychological Association). Top image; Men’s Health US picked up my first article on the effect of sharing dreams in a love relationship (= greater intimacy). Image at bottom – my son Isac and I visiting my research colleague; internationally leading dream researcher Michael Schredl, Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.
In my next post (part 2 of my journey with dreams), I will be sharing how I suddenly started appearing in the media (TV, radio, print) as dream expert, and lately have had some major breakthroughs there. Something which to begin with came as somewhat a surprise to me, especially because it happened much faster than I had dared dreaming about. At the same time, it also felt very natural, mostly because I had imagined it happening (oh, the power of imagination!).
In part 2 I will also be sharing about the very first talks that I did (some for free, and some where only 2 people showed up!). And I will be sharing how it has been possible to survive – where did the money come from?? (Spoiler; I am not yet able to live fully from “the dream business”, and compared to just a few years ago, I am okay with it! Actually it has proven to be a great advantage that it is not yet af full-time business. How? Find out in the next newsletter).
Finally, I will also be sharing the wildly intensive dream that one morning led me to rush to my office – and continue the dream project with wild fiery energy – despite the day before (again…) being close to giving it all up.
To be continued in Part 2… – and DO share this article so more can utilize the power of their unconscious intelligence.