Watching President Obama’s Farewell Speech last night was so inspiring. I remember seeing President Obama during his Senate Campaign at the Bud Billiken Parade (an annual parade held since 1929 in the Bronzeville/Washington Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, United States; it is the largest African-American parade in the nation). He was the most unlikely Presidential Candidate but he closed the gap between his dream of becoming President and the reality of being President.
For many of us, the distance between dreams and reality is talk. We talk about wanting to: get a better job, become an entrepreneur, find love, connect to more people, move out of state, get a degree, etc. As we talk the time passes, and the window (or door) toward change seems more and more distant. Perhaps for some of us, it’s not talk, but self-doubt. Sometimes when we doubt ourselves, we shift blame onto other things and other people to distract from our challenges. We’re in our 30s, talking about what our parents did to us. We’re in our 20s talking about elementary school teachers. We’re in our 50s talking about our first boss 20 years ago. I am not saying that we escape negative and traumatic experiences unharmed. I’m saying that we must do the work (get counseling or therapy, break cycles of abuse and self-destructive behavior, etc.) so that we can move on with our lives.
For many of us, the distance between dreams and reality is fear. What happens if we leave our current situation and the new situation is worse? What happens if we fail? The best way to mitigate risk is to plan for it. Check out this free tool here, that explores how to conduct Risk Management Planning. When it comes to fear, don’t avoid it. Try to identity what specifically is causing the fear and then methodically make a plan. If you are afraid of going broke, then you should create a savings plan and emergency plan if you start losing too much money. Sometimes it is helpful to think about the worst things that can happen short of death, and to create a plan for what happens if that happens. If you decide to pursue entrepreneurship, the worst thing that can happen is that you may not be able to sustain your business and return to working for someone else. So if you do have to pursue employment elsewhere, imagine where you would want to work. That way you’ve at least considered your options so it won’t be such a shock to your system when you hit your idea of rock bottom.
So now that we’ve explored inaction and those things that can prevent us from making our dreams our reality, tomorrow we can talk about what action looks like.