Do you have a dream that seems so big you don’t know where to start? That all the things you’d need to do to get there loom like a giant mountain all around you and you can’t get going. Do you either give up or get stuck in not knowing what to do?
Whether it’s a personal or professional dream it can get you down if you have no idea what to do next.
One of my clients has had her dream for 10 years. It is very close to her heart, she knows the idea will make a difference to many peoples lives yet for 10 years she did nothing… In truth she didn’t have the resources, support or time to go full force with putting plans into action. Deep down she knew that. Each year that went by though she felt bad she hadn’t started, her self worth was chipped away and she began to believe that maybe she couldn’t do it.
So, how do you avoid feeling bad that you don’t get up of the couch and go full force into starting something right now?
First off….Life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Your dream might be ready to bloom this year or 7 years from now.
Secondly…You aren’t a failure if you haven’t achieved your dream yet. Starting now can be about setting a foundation in your life for when that dream is ready to be built. The smallest action today can make the difference in years to come.
So where do you start?
- Write down what your dream is. Describe it in as much detail as you can. Get really specific about how it will feel, what it will look like. Take your time with this. Let your mind wander when imagining living this dream. If words don’t cover it use pictures, sounds, feelings.
- Get clear on your purpose. Why is this dream important?
- Write down who it is for. In the case of a business dream, describe who your customer is.
Take a break and live a while in the possibility of your dream.
Now for the details – Part 2:
- Brainstorm everything you know about what it will take to achieve your dream.
- Take a break for a few days.
- Look over your list and group similar things together. Notice where you have gaps and add if needed (even if its a note to find out more information)
- Prioritize activities within each group
- Prioritize overall what groups are most important to work on.
This isn’t easy. Often we have to go back and forth between things. There might be things that are not feasible due to other life demands. Don’t get caught up on whats right and wrong here just go with your gut about the importance of each section at this point in time rather than the practicality of doing each. This is not a detailed action plan – it’s a way to help organize your thoughts. The point is to define what the big picture is and start to narrow down on the building blocks.
One of two things happen when doing the second part of this…
- You get overwhelmed with all the quantity of things you come up with.
- You despair because you know there should be more yet you can’t think of them.
Know this….there will ALWAYS be something you have missed off this list and there will ALWAYS be more yet to do. I don’t say this to freak you out! It’s the same for everyone. Know this and get comfortable with the idea.
Here’s what I do to quiet my mind:
- Add sticky notes onto the page of my top activities. Focus only on those when I look at the list.
- Leave room for all the things I will add with time – I add a “?” on sections where I know I need more but have no clue what it is – it helps my brain know that I know it’s missing. I make peace with not knowing yet.
Final actions : Find one item from the top of the list that you can take action towards. Something reasonable and possible to start this month. Maybe read a book, surf the web for information, start collecting fliers related to your dream, talk to other people who are doing something similar, etc etc. Choose one action and do it.
In a months time when you’ve started it or done it….cross that sucker off your list / add a huge check mark / put a smiley face sticker against it – whatever makes you feel good!
Then choose another thing (if that ones done) or decide to continue with last months.
After 6 months repeat Part 2. You may or may not have anything to add or change.
Each year go back to Part 1 and review if anything needs adding.
Whatever action you take each month is laying a foundation and moving you towards your dream.
Give yourself permission to do something without knowing all the answers, trust that you will gain those answers along the way, you will figure it out. Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Keep it fresh by consciously moving toward it.