If you are old enough to remember floppy disks, syntax errors, bits and bytes and Dos, you will also remember thinking and wondering why you didn’t get every piece of information that you needed pouring out at your request. Unfortunately, we were reminded that what you put in, is what you get out. That is not any different with your mind. Your mind can be your best friend or your biggest critic. It depends on what you feed it every day. When you wake up in the morning do you think about everything you didn’t finish the day before or do you start the day feeling like you are excited about getting the day started?
Your brain is a pretty powerful tool that you have in your own, private toolbox. Whenever you think of something, whether it’s something you’ve done many times or something you are trying for the first time, your brain has a new path created for that particular thought. The more you repeat the thought, the stronger that path is, and your brain is helping to create the best path to make this thought repeatable and easy to remember. Sometimes those thoughts will be incredibly beneficial and other times…not so much. The not so much time can be that the new thought you are having is too difficult or too time consuming or just plain uncomfortable…even though the picture you have is exactly where you want to head. That’s called stepping outside of your comfort zone.
When you decide you want to make a change in your life (whether it be a physical change or a change in the way you think about something), there is a period of time that this is bound to feel uncomfortable because you are now needing to construct new neural pathways that support the desired change. Your brain doesn’t like this. It wants to take the path it already knows…also known as your comfort zone. But here’s the truth about that…once you step out, more than once, that will soon become your comfort zone so don’t fear the unknown…it will only be the unknown once.
Your mind is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal to create your life exactly how you want it to be. Some of us dream in vivid color, some of us write and others talk about it…our lives and what we want it to look like. When you describe it “as if” it was the present, it feels as if it is happening right now.
Some people think that dreaming big means you think too highly of yourself—that big dreams signal you are arrogant or perhaps directionless. But in truth, having big dreams means you are determined to live on purpose, are nurturing a vision, and are taking steps to make it happen.
Imagine how different your life would be if you actively pursued even a few of the dreams you had when you were little. Life was simpler then, and dreaming was something we all did and were not afraid to share. As we grow up, some of us abandon our dreams while others stop dreaming altogether.
It all comes back to your mindset. Allowing yourself to be inspired and encouraged by your dreams can prompt you to set goals and establish an implementable plan of action. If you believe you can accomplish those big dreams, why not go after them? Why settle for the small ones instead?
I can’t imagine a world without dreamers. Without them, we would not have the things we take for granted like cars, phones, lights, airplanes, computers, and the ability to connect globally.
Let’s think about how we can use our most powerful tool to create the life we want.
- Fear should not be an ingredient in dreaming big. We had no problem as little girls dreaming huge dreams because nothing stopped us. As women in business, what is stopping us now? Set your goals and set your sights. Little girls with big dreams can become women with vision.
- With your big dreams in front of you, make sure you identify the steps to get there. I always tell my clients to come up with a number (in terms of dollars, clients, applications, or whatever applies to them) they want to secure by a certain date. Then I tell them to work backward and break that number down into tiny little pieces to chart the steps to reach their goal. A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes a dream come true … and the cycle continues.
- Track your progress. If you do not track your progress, how will you know when you have arrived? Make sure your starting point, goals, and milestones are clearly defined. No matter how often we hear, “Success is a journey, not a destination,” I had to learn this the hard way. As a solopreneur, I thought, “Why do I need to do this? It is just me. I know what I want, so I will just go for it. Well that turned out to be one of the costliest mistakes I’ve made in business. You don’t have to use an expensive program to track your progress. You could simply use a spreadsheet or piece of paper, but don’t forego this important step. I ultimately rectified the problem two long, hard years after launching my business.
- Do not do it alone, and do not allow energy vampires to suck you dry or feed you negativity. Surround yourself with people who believe in and support you. In addition to a coach or mentor, develop of network of colleagues who can be your accountability partners, just as you can be theirs. People can inspire you or drain you. Choose wisely.
- Be open to failing. It is part of the process. When you dream big, you will have some hiccups. Brush off your bruised knees, pick yourself up, and continue on the path. The bigger the dream, the more steps you may need to take. Think of the forward and backward steps more of a cha-cha than obstacles. When you realize that failing does not make you a failure, you free yourself to try many different things.
Believe in yourself and dream big. As you consider the path to take, do not forget about the rest of your life, especially your family. Work hard, take action, and keep pushing through when things get tough. Focus on the things that only you can do and outsource the rest. Learn to say no, and most of all, dig in and stay committed.
Remember as Tony Gaskins said, “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.”