Posted: 04 Nov 2010 12:52 AM PDT
The difference between a dream that happens and a dream that doesn’t has nothing to do with how realistic it is.
We all have dreams. We all know the dreams we have, even if we are unable to articulate them or unwilling to share them.
Most of us have been taught that our dreams, especially the big and important ones, are unrealistic and that pursuing them will result in wasted time, disappointment and failure.
We have been taught that we are better off doing what we are told than chasing fantasies.
The biggest difference between those who achieve their dreams and those that don’t, is that they pursue it. Not that they are necessarily better equipped or that the dream is more realistic.
It is never too late. Even if you have not articulated your dream, it is highly likely that you will have been preparing for it unconsciously anyway, such is the power of dreams.
Think about any dreams or ideas you have realised, no matter how small and you will recognise that you used a process similar to the one below.
Whether your dream is an influential role in your organisation or singing at The Albert Hall, the first step is to articulate it.
What is your dream?
Once you have articulated it, visualise it. What tangible evidence will there be of your success? What events will occur so that you know that your dream has been realised.
Will you be given a particular award, or job? Will you deliver a particular speech or get recognition from a particular individual or organisation? Will you perform on a particular stage?
When you have articulated your vision – make it present. Write about it, surround yourself with images of it. Talk about it with trusted (and supportive) friends. Keep it present, keep talking about it, doodling with it, lying in bed at night thinking about it. Bore your supportive friends with it.
Once you have a clear vision that you can articulate and repeat easily, start making your plan. The dream and vision do not have to be realistic, the plan does.
Working backwards, what is the last thing you will have to accomplish in order to allow your vision to be complete? What is the last thing you will have to do to before that? And so on, keep working backwards, in some detail, until you get to now. Put dates on all of the major activities and events and then you have a plan.
All you need to do now is to deliver on your plan and to continually revisit it. Keep checking that the plan and the vision are still what you want. Do not be afraid to adjust both.
When I have achieved any of my dreams it was because there was sufficient clarity of articulation and “presence” of visualisation. When I have failed it has been because I did not get a clear enough vision.
Dreams I have realised: to race cars, write books, find a loving relationship, cycle over the Pyrenees and move to Mallorca.
These were all dreams that happened because I was able to hold and make present the vision and create a realistic and deliverable plan for getting from where I was to where I wanted to be.
My big failure has been in defining the next stage of the vision.
I wanted to race cars – I got to race cars, but I never defined the next level of the vision or made the next level of the plan. As a result when that vision had run it’s course, I stopped.
I wanted to write a book – I wrote three, but I never defined the next level adequately. The books never really took me where I wanted to go, because I never articulated that next level clearly enough.
As we approach the realisation of our vision, it is vital to take the time to step back and look for the next level. This is as true for businesses as it is for individuals.
Microsoft was inspired for years by the vision of “A computer on every desktop and in every home” – while this was not achieved in a literal sense, it was achieved to all practical purposes and, since then, without a new inspiring vision, Microsoft has struggled to regain it’s focus and performance.
For help in finding the authentic path for your business or your life, give me a call.
Join us on our Authentic Business Radio show every Thursday at 5pm UK, 6pm Euro or 12.00 EST. This week we will be discussing “Live the Dream”.
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