Please read Part 1 of this series, “Why Am I Not Reaching My Goals.” When it comes to taking action toward reaching our dreams, the key is to remember that any progress, is progress. There are so many things competing with our dreams – family responsibilities, bills, not knowing what to do and how to do it, etc. We cannot allow anything to stop our progress, even if that progress is slow.
So what does action look like, in plain terms.
TALKING – Yesterday I said that “talk” may sometimes keep us from our dreams, but talking isn’t necessary a bad thing. It is a step toward our dreams. There is something about talking about our plans, that makes them start to crystalize. Especially when we talk to people who have the power to help and support our pathways toward our dreams. Talk to people in your network who are doing what you’d like to be doing. If it’s an entrepreneur, talk to the small business owner where you shop or get services to see if they have any tips. Talk to your boss about your career goals (especially if they are within your company – although don’t tell your boss that you want his/her job ;). Talk to your family – your partner, your children, your siblings, about what you’d like to do.
Your parents may agree to babysit, so that you can attend a seminar or class. Your best friend may purchase a set of business cards for you. My family and friends have shown up in major ways for me on my entrepreneurial journey, and that’s only because I have shared the Masterplan with them. Sometimes people may not know how to help you, and talking may help you figure that out. The issue is that talking can’t be the only thing you do. At some point, you’ve got to start doing another verb!
PLANNING – One of the best forms of action on the pathway toward your dreams is to plan. Look at your calendar for the day, for the week, for the month. Identify time in your schedule that you will work toward your dreams. To plan is to create a detailed outline of how you get from where you are now, to a better place tomorrow. It means considering all of the financial and logistical things that you need to do, to get closer to your dreams. Perhaps you make a deal with yourself that you will work on your dreams for at least 30 minutes a day. That planning is progress and those 30 minutes per day will quickly add up. When you look at how far you’ve moved in a week and a month, it will motivate you to keep acting.
RESEARCHING – This is a part of the planning process, but it is so important to do your research. Examine the experiences of exemplars who are living your dream. Do you need a specific type of certification or certain credentials. Will you be able to be stationary or will you have to move. I have lots of friends who work in Higher Ed. They have all had to relocate to another state at least once in order to remain employed. Get to know what life will be like when you’re living your dream, so that you can be as prepared as possible for the changes to your life. Everyone wants to make more money, but few people understand the higher taxes that come along with that, and all of the support people that may be necessary – accountants, attorneys, etc. to help manage those funds. Think of research as a dress rehearsal for your future life.
TAKING RISKS – Dream chasing is risky. You can logically address the risks by creating a Risk Management Plan. For me, I decided that I could not leave my full-time job as a teacher, until I replaced my teaching salary. I wasn’t prepared to just quit my job without having something in place. Set up some terms for your dreams. Then, you have to put yourself out there. If you say you want to be an actress, you MUST get some headshots taken and go on auditions. If you just talk about wanting to be an actress, but you don’t actually do anything that is expected of actresses, then you won’t reach your dream. If you say you want to start a business, then apply for your EIN Number, and get your business registered with the city and the state. Attend a Small Business Workshop. The key to taking risks is to be very clear about what achieving your dreams really looks like.
MAKE SURE YOUR DREAMS ARE NOT REVENGE DREAMS – So many people have dreams that are not connected to their own individual happiness or desires. Don’t pursue a dream because you want to prove somebody wrong or prove that you could accomplish something for someone else. If you do that, your life will be hallow, because your happiness will be predicated on someone else, who probably doesn’t care anything about what you have going on and won’t even notice or acknowledge you, when/if you prove them wrong anyway. You’ll have the bragging rights to say you did it, but then what? Do you find another person to doubt you so that you can prove them wrong too. Do you rub your shell of success in the person’s face? Do you go on morning news and complain about this other person and how you’re so much better than them now? Make sure your dreams are rooted in your own personal desires that way when you achieve them, you can truly be happy and at peace.
YOU CAN ALWAYS PRESS THE RESET BUTTON. No matter what anyone says or how deep you get into digging toward your dream, you can always change your mind, you can always say no, and you can always change your course. Never feel obligated to be loyal to anyone or anything that is causing you harm, discomfort or dissatisfaction. When I used to teach, if I noticed that the students just weren’t into something we were doing, or were super confused, I would toss the day’s lesson plan out of the window and do something else. If it meant I had to spend an extra week explaining a concept, like irony, that they weren’t understanding, I’d do it. If it meant having to cut a novel off at the end of the year because we wouldn’t have enough time to get to it, I’d do it. You don’t have to beat up on yourself either. Dreams do not have expiration dates, and age is not a timestamp for what we can or cannot accomplish. YOU are the author of your life, and YOU decide how each chapter starts and each chapter ends.
I am very passionate about pursuing my dreams and helping others to do the same. I hope that this series has been helpful for you. If you’d like for me to talk more about anything related to chasing your dreams, feel free to either leave a comment, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep your question anonymous unless you give me permission to shout you out! Thanks!