By Dawn Shuler
Most of us have lovely dreams and big goals. Your Big Dream might look something like this:
I want to build a premier retreat center in North Carolina.
I want to be a keynote speaker.
I want to write a book.
I want to design and hold a year-long program.
And so it goes.
These are lovely dreams, but the harsh truth is that they will stay dreams unless you take action.
I have a coaching client (we’ll call her Diane) who works with companies and organizations to help them improve their employees’ lives. She’s been dancing for months with a boutique store owner who wants Diane to customize a program for her and her employees. The problem is that she is so busy, she’s not returning Diane’s emails to set up a meeting to solidify details.
During a coaching session, we brainstormed some tactics for continuing to follow up without being annoying (one of an entrepreneur’s biggest fears).
“Try emailing her.”
“I’ve done that already.”
“Why don’t you call her?”
Deer-in-the-headlights look. “I can’t do that!”
“I just have this feeling that there’s this deep block, and she’s resisting something, and if I called her, it will just cause her to resist more.”
Do you see what’s happening? Diane is making up stuff (that may or may not be true) about what’s going on with her prospect… without even having that conversation.
Now, although I’m incredibly action-oriented, I don’t believe in pushing people too far, even if I’m right. 🙂 So, I try another tactic.
“All right, so what WILL you do?”
Another deer-in-the-headlights look. “Well, I’ve been thinking about that.”
“And how far has that gotten you?”
We actually had to unwire some old programming, and the crux of the session was that action is the only way to forward dreams and goals. You can do all the visioning, affirmations, goal-setting you want, but if you never take a single action, then those dreams remain on the dreamy plane…. lovely, but not solidifying into reality.
Here are my 9 steps for taking action toward your dreams:
1. Brainstorm what needs to happen for your Big Dream to happen. This is general level stuff like research locations for retreat center, visit local retreat centers for ideas, list topics that you would love to speak on, brainstorm companies you would love to do keynotes for, jot down possible titles or table of contents for your book, mind map your ideas for a year-program.
2. Document your brainstorming. Any time you can transform the nuggets of an idea into words, the more real they start to become.
3. Detail as many small actions as you can. This is where you write everything down that you can think of that could be a possible action. Here are some examples using the build-a-retreat-center example above: Plan visit to North Carolina to look at properties, meet with financial advisor to determine how much you need to finance the property and building, look up realtors in North Carolina, decide if existing properties are an option or if this will be a new build, sketch floor plans, create the mission statement for retreat center.
4. Plan time in your schedule, ideally every day, but if not every day, then regularly, so that you are touching your dream, giving it shape, loving it, and encouraging it to manifest.
5. Use your Action Plan you created from Step #3, and work from that. Today, do an action on that list. Tomorrow, do another. Add more actions. Break them down into itty bitty steps. Add more details.
6. Notice where you’re resisting. It could be that this particular step feels too big and scary. So break it down even more. Or you’re feeling some fear about being unworthy, no one cares, and so on. Use methods that work for you to center and ground and move through the fear.
7. Ask for help. There is no shame in not knowing something or not being good at something. If you don’t know something (like how property transactions work in North Carolina, for example), research or find a professional who knows what you don’t.
8. As you get closer to your dream becoming a reality, attach dates and milestones to your Big Dream Goal. Now you’ve involved your calendar, so your chances of success just doubled!
9. When you falter (and you will), revisit your Big Why around your Big Dream. Why is this important? Why do you want to do this thing? Connect with your Big Dream on a deeper, soulful level.
Every action you take gets you closer to your Big Dream. So take a step now.