"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." ~ Anatole France
I haven't read every personal development or self-realization book out there, but I suspect that every one of them has at least a chapter that's all about defining your dreams and focusing on what it takes to achieve them.
As Lewis Carroll said, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." In other words, without focusing on a goal, it really doesn't matter what you do, or how hard you work at it.
It's funny, but in the past, I've only asked my clients to imagine their "ideal" lives one year out. But recently I've come to suspect that – as one of my clients (who has accomplished some really amazing things lately) so eloquently put it – you "need to think really big to get unstuck and expand into possibilities."
If you're ready to get moving, you need to focus on a goal. And if you want to move far and fast, it seems to help to have a really big goal. With that in mind, I'd like to offer five concrete steps you can take to put yourself firmly on the path to your dreams.
As it happens, I recently found three – and not in a personal development book either! It's a book on marketing: Double Double by Cameron Herold. Here are the steps:
1) Create your "Painted Picture": Describe in vivid detail your life three years from now. What are you doing? Who are you doing it with? What does it look like? What do you do every day?"
Cameron described how a three-year vision challenges you to think "bigger". It makes sense that clearly imagining goals, down to the finest details, are essential to the process of achieving success for big brands, like Apple, but can you see how it would also benefit you?
The thing is, people rarely take this step. Again, as one of my clients realized, we're so focused on getting through our day-to-day lives that we have absolutely nothing to pull us into our best selves and our best lives. The Painted Picture creates the pulling power. And by giving you the space to dream really big, the pulling power is that much greater.
2) Share your big vision with anyone and everyone.
In the past I have written my Painted Picture (what I called Vision Statements) and shared them with my coach. I have encouraged my clients to write them and share them with me. But I have never imagined broadcasting them to a wide audience.
I imagined that by writing my Painted Picture I was doing all that was necessary to get the Universe to conspire on my behalf. I think Cameron is saying avoid the "middle man" and go directly to the people who, given a chance, are in the position to help.
Now that I've asked my clients to do this, I've seen amazing things happen. Ideas and support almost immediately manifest. Just today on the private forum for my group coaching program, a member posted a question and there were 4 immediate responses. She quickly wrote back, "Thank you all for your comments and solutions. I should have posted this sooner!"
I think we hold our dreams "close to our chest" because we feel self-conscious about sharing them. The "Who am I to want so much?" will surely come up. Only to be followed soon after by the thought, "What if I fail? I'll look like a loser." But I hope the above example will convince you that you have SO much more to gain by sharing your vision.
3) Focus on taking daily actions.
No way around it: You have to do something. I've written a lot about this topic before. Cameron also recommended Teamly.com as a fun and free way to keep track of your daily tasks related to your dreams.
4) Believe you can do it.
I've written a lot about this too. Thousands of words can be summed up by these 4: You. Can. Do. It. Repeat them to yourself often.
5) Celebrate your successes!
Often we finish one task or accomplish a goal and rush on to the next without acknowledging that what we just did was important and meaningful. So when you've achieved a goal or you're done with a task, find a way to celebrate, even if you only take a quick walk outside or drink a glass of water in a beautiful wine glass.
Celebrating your accomplishments helps cement them, and can make future tasks and big projects seem much easier.
What do you think of the list? Are you willing to do the steps? I know #2 on the list – broadcasting my dreams – gives me a great deal of anxiety. I'm sure it does for you too. When I shared this process with one of my clients, she audibly gasped.
But Cameron provided compelling evidence for the fact that it works. I'm willing to give it a try – so watch for me to publish my Painted Picture. (If I can effectively suppress the urge to go into a Witness Protection Program instead.)