Do you have dreams? I hope you do. Dreams are the beginnings of success. Every great innovation began with a dream. Pick a company that has made a big impact on the world: GE, Apple, Amazon. They began with a dream someone had. So do you have dreams? Sadly, it is reported that only 20% of us actually have dreams to do something bigger or better. I hope you are part of that 20%. I hope you have great dreams. That is the beginning of innovation. That is the beginning of something great happening.
I have a dream, now what?
Do you have a dream? If so, follow these three steps to get you started in the right direction.
Write it down
My first suggestion is to write it down. A dream in your head is only a dream. Writing it down brings with it a sense of reality that wasn’t there before. When you write it down you can now reflect on the words. You can start to imagine what it would look like. Only 4% write their dreams down. Back in the middle and late 20th century, Harvard and Yale each conducted studies of this. They found that only 3% of their graduates wrote down their goals and dreams. But when they went back and looked at these graduates 20 years later, they found that they were by far more successful than the other 97% of their class. In fact, it is estimated that this 3% outperformed the other 97% in total. Now that is amazing!
Second, you should envision what achieving the dream looks like. It’s strange but true. If you visualize what success looks like, you have a much greater chance of achieving your goals. I love golf. But golf doesn’t always love me. I am by no means a golfer of any caliber. But I have fun and enjoy the game. Sometimes I find myself standing over a shot and before I swing, I have a negative thought. I think about the water in the way, how far I need to carry the ball or the fact that I have hit the last three approach shots into a bunker. What I should do in these situations is simple. I should step back, gather my thoughts, picture how the shot will go. And then step up and swing. But 9 times out of 10 I just swing away (probably 99 out of 100). Now here’s an interesting fact. I would guess that in 20 years of playing golf, this has happened to me literally 100s of times. And I am relatively certain that when I have had a negative thought before the shot, exactly zero percent (that’s 0%) of them have turned out well. Now, picturing a successful shot doesn’t guarantee success, but picturing failure is almost a guarantee of failure.
Tell a friend
Third, tell someone. Telling someone your dream raises accountability and builds a constituency around your dream. Martin Luther King had a dream. And he shared it with the world. By sharing it, he brought on an army of supporters from every race, creed, nation, and walk of life. Others embraced his dream and with it, he changed the world. I believe if he had used other languages, such as “I demand a change” or “I have a demand”, then he would have been dismissed as another zealot. But people rally around dreams. They start to think about them and take them on as their own. Before long, millions were dreaming the same dream.
In real life
One of my clients had almost a great year last year. The first half of the year was great. He then realized that he had nothing in the pipeline for the back half of the year. And in his particular business, budgets get tight during the latter stages of the year. He realized that he had been working on working in the business and not on the business. So after wrestling with himself for a while, he realized he needed to do these things.
First, he created a plan and wrote it down. He had already been visualizing what success looked like (step 2), but he had never wrapped words around it. So he put some effort into developing a strategic plan, both with goals and financial projections. And now, he’s shared it with a few of his closest friends and mentors. That makes it real. That makes him accountable. When you are self-employed or lead a small company, you need that.
Put it Into Action
So you have a dream, you’ve written it down, and you’ve shared it with some people who will hold you accountable. Now what? Well, now the fun begins. You need to put your dreams into action. I will be writing a blog about that in a few weeks. In short, I say, a dream without execution is just a nap. Don’t nap your way to failure or mediocrity. Put together an actionable plan that will bring your dreams to reality.
Hire a Business Coach
If you want to have an accountability partner to help you achieve your dreams, hire a business coach that will help hold you accountable and educate you on the steps needed to get there. If you don’t have a business coach, give me a shout today!