Let the dreams begin
In my years of setting up successful businesses and carrying them to the six and seven figure mark, I have discovered a few key truths. One, is that too often, people cruise through life with their dreams in their back pocket. They rarely take the time to do the work, to focus introspectively and intently on what will make them happy, fulfilled and successful. Planning your life is equivalent to having a map that guides you to the right destination. Unless you have already been to the place you want to go a bunch of times and already know how to get there, you will NEED a good, detailed map. It would be foolish to get in your car and drive around aimlessly, hoping to eventually reach your destination. Invariably, you’ll run out of gas in the middle of nowhere and wonder how you ended up there. Despite this, so many people in the world today fail to plan their lives and end up lost or stuck where they are.
It’s all about DRIVE
Which brings me to my second point, and it’s what I always tell people – the difference between those who dream and those who do is DRIVE. Productivity is never a byproduct or an accident. It is the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort, or what I simply call drive. People make habit-forming choices and decisions at a young age that often carry them throughout the rest of their lives. Some are great, like choosing to stay connected with friends, and some perhaps aren’t as great, like neglecting yourself and prioritizing everything and everyone else.
Take time to examine your life
So today, I am going to ask you to introspect, and answer a series of seemingly tough questions for yourself. This ought to help you get thinking in the right direction, and then get moving.
Do you have a plan for your life, or a dream? Have you ever thought about what your passion or strengths may be? Are there things you’d like to pursue but haven’t yet figured out how to? What kind of person do you want to be? What is most important to you in life? How would you like to be remembered? What will your life be like if you never change the way it is right now?
If you ask a large group of people what they would like to achieve in their lives, the answers may vary considerably. Some of the more common answers you can expect are:
I want to make more money
I want to be happy
I want to be healthy
I want to lose weight
I want to travel and see the world
I want to have meaningful and happy relationships
I want to stop worrying
I want to be respected
All of these are worthwhile goals to pursue. But don’t be surprised when you ask the same group of people if they have a plan to achieve their goals, that only a few may have taken the time to do that. In other words, while all of us have desires and dreams, very few of us have actually taken the time to write down or make a plan about how to achieve them.
Fortunately, this is where I believe my genius lies. I help people go from dream to DONE. I have put together the 5 steps I use to help people give their dreams arms and legs; to put those dreams into action and build the life they thought was beyond their grasp.
1. Find your passion:
The trick is to find something you’re good at and keep doing it until you’re living your dream. I know, that’s easier said than done, but if you keep trying to discover something you like doing and could be good at, you too will find your niche.
It helps to make a vision board of your dream life and from there, think about what you’d like to do next once you achieve each milestone – what is your next big dream? By pursuing and practicing your passions even on the smallest scale, you allow yourself to dive deeper into something new. You give yourself up to something that’s bigger than yourself, awaken your senses, stimulate your brain, and make yourself happier.
If you’re feeling stuck, unhappy or unfulfilled, I encourage you to think about these questions. Take some time to sit with your thoughts. Our passion can lead us to our purpose. It can shape our decisions, lead us to greater happiness, and help us leave a legacy we’re proud of.
2. Play to your strengths
What are your strengths? The first step in growing your strengths is identifying them, and that can be a tricky task. Weaknesses are obvious. Here’s a formula to remember. Your strengths + Your passion = An unstoppable you. Sometimes you have to look at things a little deeper to find your strengths. For example, unexpected praise for something you didn’t think took that much effort. Life has a way of showing you your strengths if you pay attention.
In my experience, I’ve seen people often identify their strengths and weaknesses in the wrong way. They think of strengths as things they are good at and weaknesses as things they are bad at. Here’s a better way to think of it – figure out what energizes you. It’s more likely that your strengths are activities that make you feel successful. They fully engage you, and when doing it, you find yourself in a flow state. After doing the activity, you feel energized, fulfilled, and powerful.
I’m talking particularly to fellow moms here: It’s definitely possible to be good at something you hate doing, but that’s not the type of strength you necessarily want to improve. Instead, think of the things that energize and excite you, even if you don’t excel at them yet. Those may be the strengths you should prioritize, develop, and grow.
3. Figure out who is on this journey with you
When you’re making a life plan, you should work around your values – what’s important to you, and what you would like to hold on to in your life. Do you value family, but find yourself spending too little time with your family because you’re working overtime at a job you hate? Are you hoping to make this journey with someone that you are yet to meet?
Don’t assume you have to do this all by yourself. In fact, nearly everyone I know needs support. They need someone to cover their blind spots, pull them up when they’re down, and help them see another perspective.
When you envision success, who are the people beside you?
4. Evaluate your finances
Is this a dream that will take a lot of money? Do you need to save towards making your dream a reality? Will it require investing in yourself, or your company, or resources?
Some money goals are short term, some longer term. E.g. it is possible to save for an emergency fund in a year, but early retirement is a longer term goal. The sooner you start planning how to finance your dreams, the sooner your plan will come to fruition.
If you don’t have a budget, then take the money out to achieve your goal as soon as you get paid. Make sure there is enough for the rent and bills and then economise on the rest.
5. The timeline for your dream
Think about where you’d like to see yourself in a year? What do you want to be? What would you have liked to accomplish by then?
When you set goals, it’s good to have long term goals and short term goals. The long-term goals give you the vision and the short term goals keep you motivated.
You can set goals on your timeline 10 years into the future from now, but most likely the timeline is a bit too long to have a real specific (and an awesome) goal. To see yourself 10 years from now will help you envision where you want to be and will give you direction.
So while it’s great to look far into the future, you should also set goals for up to 9-12 months from now. It will help you stay connected and committed to your goals.
Pro tip: Keep the timeline in a place where you can see it. And look at the timeline as often as possible.