Why are we all drawn to stories of the average Joe/Jane, who achieves their dreams, against all odds? I guess it is because they keep alive a dream that each one of us has - of breaking out of the situation that we are in and achieving whatever it is that we aspire to. At Influence Solutions, we work with thousands of people from dozens of different countries, cultures and industries. And I have yet to meet anyone who does not have this dream. It’s only natural I guess, since human beings are progressive animals;; whatever we have is seldom enough. There is always another mountain to climb, another desert to cross, and another ocean to navigate. And is this wrong? Is it not better to be content with our lot? I guess that is a personal decision - each one of us has to decide what is best for them. For me personally - I am a firm believer of what Marcus Aurlieus said - a man's worth is measured by the worth of what he values. I value releasing the reins on my dreams. I believe that dreamers help create the massive changes and advancements that will spur the human race on to better, bigger and loftier dreams. People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do, as the iconic Steve Jobs once said. While we aspire to reach the stars, it can feel daunting as we battle with time, energy, resource constraints and self-limiting beliefs. How do we keep our dreams alive, and turn them into reality? I’ve coached leaders and teams from over across the world on achieving their personal and professional goals, and I have realised that there are three things that make a difference.
1) Dream big, act small
When we dream big, we are inspired by the empowering vision of what is possible. However, to achieve the biggest dream all we need are some small actions. The smaller the action the more easily we get started. And getting started is all we need to do. Progress becomes natural as we continue on the journey in reaching our goals. By starting small and early, we also gain the insights of what works (and what doesn’t) with very little risk. We can tweak our actions as we go along, and calibrate things to get to the end goal. I have coached several executives, who have embarked on their entrepreneurial journey while holding full-time jobs. I would like to remind you what Lao Tzu said, 'The journey of a thousand miles begin with one step.' So, dip your toes in the water and dabble in your dreams. They are what make life worth it.
2) What gets scheduled gets done
A dream with a date becomes a goal. A goal with actions scheduled becomes a plan. An action plan gets us off the starting line. I credit scheduling as the key to launching my book on Influence, “Win People Over” in 2014. I haboured the idea of writing the book for 3 years. However compelling the idea, it was got pushed away by the busy demands of my personal and professional commitments. I harboured thoughts of taking 2 weeks off, going to a remote island to devote time to the book – But that never happened. So I scheduled time to write for an hour every morning. That writing time was sacred and free of distractions. With scheduling, I would write whether I felt like it or not. That enabled me to finish the manuscript of my book in 6 months.
3) Dreams come true when you love the journey, not just the destination
What do you think is more important in attaining your dreams - the journey or the destination? The process or the result? I had a dream of being a jazz pianist, performing my favourite tunes to an adoring crowd. In an attempt to check this off my bucket list, earlier this year, I hired a professional pianist to teach me. After a month of weekly lessons, I discovered that I was more in love with the idea of performing jazz than actually going through the drudgery of practice. I simply wasn’t motivated to put in the hard work to make things happen. That realisation was liberating. It enabled me to drop this dream, and focus on other things that were more meaningful to me. It also helped me to realise that the reason why I am able to hone my expertise in the area of Influence, is because I relish all the hours I put into researching, speaking, facilitating, coaching and writing. I enjoy the journey so much that it becomes the destination. In summary, live your best life by living your dreams. By all means go for that big, fat, hairy goal. But don’t let dreams remain dreams - set sail and leave the harbour. You will figure out how to navigate the storms when they hit. You will learn to cruise towards your destination by taking small actions, making time and embracing the amazing journey.
Building upon the words of Mark Twain - twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do.
Explore. Dream. Discover. Do.