He is here, alive and well, living amongst the people of Guanajuato. His credo of striving for justice for humanity, the right to follow one’s dreams, and the embodiment of kindness and determination are in evidence everywhere. The “he” I am referring to is Miguel Cervantes’ hero, Don Quixote, from his novel The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, it follows Alonso Quixano, a nobleman who studies the adventures of knights, chivalry and romance. He is so consumed by his passion that he retreats from the world of reality, and begins his quest to right the wrongs of the world and earn a knighthood. He is accompanied by his faithful friend, Sancho Panza, a farmer turned squire and, along the way sees evil doers (windmills) that he tilts against, and prostitutes that he envisions as ladies in distress.

So how did this famous Spanish hero and his story become entangled with the people of Guanajuato? It goes back to a 19-year old Spanish refugee, Eulalio Ferrer, who immigrated to Mexico in 1939 after serving as a soldier during the Spanish War,being imprisoned in a French refugee camp, and bearing witness to the indescribable horrors of war. Once in Mexico he came across Cervantes’ book and found purpose, solace, and renewed hope in the hero Don Quixote. As the story goes, Señor Ferrer not only became a famous and wealthy publisher in Mexico City, but he amassed the premiere collection of all things Don Quixote, which he eventually housed and donated to the city of Guanajuato.

How many of you out there identify with Don Quixote at times? Trying to make your dreams reality but wondering if you are in fact just tilting at windmills? Those windmills can represent transitions that involve moving from one industry (or job) to another, starting your own business, being laid off without notice, leaving a long-term partner, or redesigning your life to fit a new direction.

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During these transitions, some of which you’ve chosen and others not, there will be naysayers, difficult challenges, and times when you question your sanity. During these times people may say to you, “Why did you chose to leave your job now?” or “What were you thinking?” or “How long is this going to go on?” Believe me, I know. I remember when I left my last corporate employee job to start a business, a caring colleague shared, “I’m not saying good-bye. I know you’ll be back. I mean, who in their right mind leaves a great job to start their own business?”

Whatever your transition, you have the right to live a life that is purpose-driven, joy-filled and abundant. And, like Don Quixote, you also should pursue your quest to make those dreams a reality. Along the way:

    • Find friends and supporters who share and believe in your quest. Everyone deserves their own Sancho Panza to believe in and support their quest.
    • Recognize the challenges you are up against. Though they may feel like windmills, when broken down into doable chunks of activity and reasonable timelines, they’re easily bested.
    • Refrain from challenging or arguing with naysayers. Instead, use their energy to propel you forward and prove them wrong.
    • Enlist the aid and support of professionals, life coaches, therapists, divorce attorneys, career counselors, etc. to mobilize your efforts. Even Don Quixote had his innkeepers to ask for support.
    • Celebrate small wins and victories along the way.
    • Make it a point to do one small action each day that propels you forward.
    • Develop practices such as positive affirmations, gratitude, journaling, and meditation to help quiet your mind and keep you focused.

Yes, it may sometimes feel like a futile quest to make your dreams a reality. At those times remember to also give yourself credit for the courage, determination and hope you are exuding in your life. And know that, like Don Quixote and the people of Guanajuato, you have a message and meaning to share with the world. Living into your hopes and dreams can make this world a better place.

ACTION: What actions can you take to make your dreams a reality?

Kathy Hart’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife (ages 40 – 65) with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at kathy@clearvisionconsult.com. The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the next journey into your midlife transition
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance