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Read the fine print of your dream

"In the factory we make lipstick; in the drugstore we sell hope." That's what Charles Revson, Revlon's founder, supposedly said.

Self-help guides work the same way. They promise a new life, easily and effortlessly, starting tomorrow.

Take Marsha Sinetar's best-seller, Do What You Love -- The Money Will Follow." Everybody remembers the title, but Ms. Sinetar's text spells out the reality. Sure, the money will come -- but not soon and not a lot.

Or consider Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star, filled with inspiring stories of successful career-changers. Each story also includes a line or two like, "It was hard at first. Money was tight. But now"

While dreams call for sacrifice, moving to your dream can also reduce your expenses.

Tama Kieves, author of This Time I Dance, says she bought objects to fill the empty space in her previous life as a frustrated lawyer. As a fulfilled writer and artist, she no longer craved shopping sprees at the mall.

I live in shorts and a tee most of the year and my clothing budget is close to zero. I suspect there's a dry cleaner somewhere in Silver City, but I couldn't tell you where. "Never having to dress up" was always a key part of my own dream.

Can you pay the price? Only you can decide.

Some of my clients could move from a palace to a hut with no regrets. Others feel deprived when they have to sell the yacht or give up one of their two full-time servants.

Your family pays a price, too. Relocation typically includes family members who move and those who are moved, such as the "trailing spouse." A career change also creates a "trailing family."

One of my former colleagues was reluctant to change careers because, "My partner likes being married to a college professor." Yet other freedom-seekers hear their families say, "We'd rather have a happy breadwinner than a rich one."

The highway to your dreams is guaranteed to include some bumps and detours along the way. You may welcome the detours and get a laugh out of the bumps. You may actually enjoy changing a flat tire now and then.

A few people do move to their dreams in a chauffeured limo with champagne in the minibar and soft music coming from the speakers, as they zip along a recently-paved express lane.

If rattling along in a bus signals torture, not adventure, wait till you can afford the limo. Resentment will cause your journey to grind to a premature halt.

When you reach your dream destination, you'll probably want to share your story with others.

Hardships? Cost? Who can remember? Who cares?

You'll bury the details in the fine print and future freedom-seekers will skip to the happy ending, just like you did.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast move to career freedom. Visit her site or call 505-534-4294.

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Career and life transition