I have a great friend who is a true dreamer. He frequently talks about big things we should do ‘someday,’ but his words never amount to action! Consequently, he lives at a level well below his potential.
It doesn’t have to be this way, for him or for you!
Dreams don’t have to be vague, ephemeral hopes – even really audacious ones can be concrete! In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy made a big dream concrete when he said, “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon.” According to Albert Siepert, former deputy director of launch operations at the Kennedy Space Center, “The reason that NASA has succeeded is because NASA had a clear-cut goal, and expressed its goal.”
We sometimes resist dreaming big dreams because they seem impractical, or taking action because doing so is intimidating. In reality, however, any dreamer can embrace thinking big and put ‘someday’ on the calendar. Being a ‘doer of dreams’ is not a gift, but a skill – one that anybody can develop.
Here are seven steps necessary for moving from ‘dreamer’ to ‘doer!’
1) Imagine the Possibilities
Every single person on the planet has an internal monologue rolling during every waking hour. What’s yours telling you? Take a moment to really consider the answer. For most of us, that little voice is much more negative than we’d like to admit!
Are you a possibility thinker? Or, does your mind tend to default to doubt?
If doubt is your default, give yourself permission to dream!
Forget about practicality, stop thinking about your life as it is, and start thinking about what it might become. Pull your perspective out of the present, and visualize what might happen in the future. Awareness of possibilities is the first step toward achievement. Some people are encouraged to dream about possibilities from a young age, but others are discouraged. Don’t sell yourself short. Before you can think about setting goals or taking action, you must start by imagining the possibilities for your life! Everything begins with a dream!
“Try to run before you learn to walk, and you’ll never stop crawling.”
– Danny Iny, Author, Blogger, Entrepreneur
2) Write Down Your Dreams
Do you have a dream? Most people claim to but, when pressed, offer only vague descriptions of things they would like to do someday or someone they would like to become. What stops us from solidifying those hopes and taking action?
Some people are legitimately lazy, but for many of us the struggle against procrastination results from uncertainty about what to do. Sometimes, a desire can seem so big or so far off that it’s impossible to break it into smaller parts. Since we can’t seem to identify manageable tasks, we wait to take action. We hope that tomorrow the course will be clearer, or next week we’ll feel like putting in the effort.
Sadly, our dreams remain far off.
Fortunately, we each have the ability to rein in our dreams, and the first step is simple! It starts with writing them down. Writing down your dreams begins the process of turning them into goals by instantly making them more tangible.
Interestingly, this practice causes many people to realize that they don’t actually know what their dreams are. This can be disconcerting, and if you fall into this category, here are a few other things to consider.
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
– Habakkuk 2:2-3, NKJV
3) Identify the Implications
Once you’ve written down a few dreams and feel confident that they really are your own, it’s time to consider the stakes. What will happen if you don’t pursue your dreams? What if you do?
How will your life be different?
How will your family’s life be different?
What sacrifices will be required, one way or the other?
You must connect with what’s at stake. Notably, there will be both positive and negative answers to each question: sacrifices; benefits; investment of time, effort, and money… In addition, it’s necessary to consider both the short- and long-term implications, so it’s important to be thorough.
At this point, you’re probably realizing that moving from ‘dreamer’ to ‘doer’ requires effort. That’s true – and that’s also why there are far more ‘dreamers’ than ‘doers.’ Still, before you can find your way, you must discover your why. That is what will propel you through the challenges you must overcome on the way to achieving your dream.
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
– William Shakespeare
4) Put the Pillars in Place
Many people short-circuit their dreams by asking ‘how’ too early, and too often! Don’t ask ‘how’ to get from where you are to where you want to go. Instead, embrace ‘big picture’ thinking. As bestselling author and former CEO Michael Hyatt suggests, ask “What would have to be true for my dream to be a reality?”
This is a more comprehensive question than ‘how’ because it forces you to focus less on the mechanics and more on the individual components necessary for achieving your goal. You likely know that certain pillars will have to be in place to support your dream. You just may not know how to get them into place.
But someone does!
Don’t worry about the ‘how’ at this point – otherwise, you’ll quickly realize that you don’t know the answer and lose heart. Just focus on identifying each and every one of the necessary pillars. Read books. Reach out to other people. Build a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ to help you reach your dream.
One of the amazing things you’ll experience is that, as you do the necessary research, you’ll run across many resources to take care of the ‘how.’
“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
– John Wooden, Hall of Fame UCLA Basketball Coach
5) Determine Your Role
As you start to identify the pillars, the picture suddenly becomes much clearer. At this point, it’s time to transition from the big picture to daily actions. What can you do to affect the outcome you’re seeking?
This is the place people are most easily derailed.
As mentioned, many times we find ourselves overwhelmed! It’s impossible to see all the steps necessary for achieving the dream, so instead of doing something we just do nothing. But things are much different at this point in the process than before your dreams were even committed to paper.
Now, you’ve assembled a framework!
If you’ve ever put together a 1000+ piece puzzle, you can build your dream. You may not have realized it, but by placing the pillars of your dream you essentially assembled the border of the puzzle. Look at each one of the pillars you’ve identified. Now, consider all the resources you uncovered during your research. Tap the individual resources just like you would carefully examine and place the puzzle pieces. What can you do tomorrow to make progress on your dream?
Perhaps there is a book you ran across that you want to read.
Perhaps you need to schedule a meeting with someone who can help with the ‘how.’
Perhaps you need to put a new habit in place over the course of the next month.
Regardless, as with the puzzle, it’s doubtful there is one ‘right’ way to go about making progress. It’s time to take action!
“The important thing is to do the next right thing.”
– Michael Hyatt, Author, Former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers
6) Develop a Time Frame
A goal is simply a dream with a deadline. When would you like your dream to happen? It’s natural to resist imposing deadlines because they make dreams even more concrete. Once a time frame is in place, it suddenly becomes possible to fail!
But the threat of missing deadlines creates a sense of urgency that can motivate you to take action. This is extremely important because time’s incessant flow can be quite cruel! It will not wait for you to be ready to pursue your dream, or for circumstances to be opportune.
Instead, we must embrace inconvenience, swallow hard, and develop a time frame. Consider the pillars you’ve put in place, and the role you’ve determined to play. Based on your current understanding, when would you like development of each pillar to be complete?
Note that your deadlines will change and your time frame will shift. The point is not to hit every goal, but to institutionalize action. Developing a time frame puts ‘someday’ on the calendar!
“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”
– Peter Drucker, Business Consultant, Author
7) Review Your Goals Regularly
Once you’ve developed a time frame, it’s time to slot pursuit of your dream into the rest of your life. What are your priorities? If you’re not sure, look at your calendar and your bank statement!
For many people, neither offers any evidence of their dreams!
I dream of being a best-selling author and highly paid speaker, but for years I didn’t invest any time writing or speaking! In those days, looking at my calendar and bank statement caused disappointment because I knew I wasn’t doing what I needed to do in order to achieve the results I desired.
Happily, things have changed.
Now, my calendar demonstrates that I write every morning from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m., and leave home before 6:00 am to make that happen. My bank statement indicates that I have invested in the necessary training and information, as well. It took me a while to get here, but I know that anyone can do it.
When it comes to dreams, significant investment is always required. Reviewing your time frame regularly helps determine your priorities and focus your efforts for the coming days, weeks, and months. If you’re intentional, you can make a little progress every single day.
Over time, this compounds powerfully.
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
– T. E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia, British Army Officer and Writer
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Leave a Comment: What other tips do you have for helping ‘dreamers’ become ‘doers?’ How have you put ‘someday’ on your calendar?