All of the weeks leading up to and directly following the new year, people are developing and preparing plans for their future. As I’ve spoken to clients and associates this year about their Vision Trees, vision boards, and general resolutions for 2016, I’ve observed one thing consistently across the board. This is a year of big dreams. I get it. I’m one of those people, that felt extremely energized about the prospect of what this coming year has to offer. I even wrote an article about it on my lifestyle blog, www.allfrillsbeauty.com. There seems to be an overwhelming desire for a better life, and people are quickly understanding that they are fully equipped to create that life for themselves. So now that YOU have your big dream in front of you, it’s crucial that you get a plan together to make sure you start moving toward the life that you want for yourself.
But the question is, where do I start? Before I give you the magic bulleted list of planning, there’s something that you MUST do prior to setting your plan in motion. You need to prepare your heart and mind for success. The truth is, so many dreams are never realized, because the dreamer was not fully equipped to handle the journey to success. Oh yes… it is a journey. While most of us are privvy only to the highlights and outcomes of many business and personal success stories, the real work and real growth is in the struggles and challenges that were overcome. Your success and failure is determined by how equipped you are internally.
Identify your Passionate Purpose
There are several activities that you can do to help strengthen your resolve, but there is one thing I coach my clients toward and that I use myself, that makes a huge impact on the way you approach your goals. We all have different motivation and values that fuel our movements. So when you identify your passion and purpose for doing something, you will attach more urgency and eagerness in seeing it come to fruition. That’s why its important for you to find the passionate purpose for your dream. But what is passionate purpose? Let’s break it down.
Passion – any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling
Purpose – the reason for which something exists or is done
I’ll give you an example of one of my big dreams this year. I am pursuing a certification to be an Integrative Wellness and Life Coach and expand my business to include life coaching. There are a lot of great reasons for me to accomplish this goal, including increased income, credibility for my future books, and a fancy title attached to my LinkedIn profile. But my passionate purpose for becoming an Integrative Wellness and Life Coach, is I have an intense desire to help women entreprenuers achieve greatness without having to compromise their integrity. I have strong emotions tied to my early consulting years, as a budding entreprenuer being steam rolled by other female entreprenuers looking for a way to edge out the competition. After licking several wounds, I’ve learned that all of that bad behavior is both unnecessary and detrimential to achieving success. So I find that my dreams for this year and beyond are fueled by my passionate purpose to develop successful women leaders who are driven by integrity and character.
As you’re defining what your passionate purpose is, I do want to give you a quick warning. If your passionate purpose is strictly about making money, you’re attaching your dream to a very shallow foundation. Not that wanting to make money is wrong. I love money. I wish I had more of it. But even if you’re driven by money, consider WHY you want the money. As a single mother of a young son, when I consider my financial goals the purpose is tied to the opportunities and realities I want to create for my son. I love my son more than anything, so that passion that I have for him and his future, keep me pushing even when the challenges seem unbearable. Quitting is not an option.
Consider What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Every dream has a price. Some sacrifices are bigger than others, but you will need to be prepared to give something up to achieve your dreams. It may be something small like giving up a few hours of television, or something more significant like cracking into your retirement savings for start up capital for a new business. As an entrepreneur, I have been able to work from home and take care of my son. As a result, I gave up different income opportunities that I could have had working full time in Corporate America. I’ll never regret my decision to work from home, but I was willing to downsize my life to do it. There will come a point in the pursuit of your dream, where you will have to consider what you are willing to give up or do without in order to make your dream a reality.
It’s All About Perseverance
On a recent 21 day fast with my church, I picked up “The Fasting Journal” by Pastor Jentzen Franklin, to keep me focused on my journey. One of my favorite passages in that book was when he described the stages of a vision. It definitely supports so many people’s accounts of how they saw their dreams fulfilled.
According to Franklin, the 6 stages of a vision are:
- I thought it – God gives you a vision.
- I caught it – you start to get excited about the vision.
- I bought it – you consider the cost of the vision and pay the price.
- I sought it – nobody can talk you out of it.
- I got it – you actually possess the dream and are glad you paid the price to get it.
- I taught it – you pass it on to the next generation.
Most of us only hear about the end of the story, when people are sharing their experiences and keys to success. I have seen clients read a story about someone’s success in their same industry, and only glean the action items and tactics that got them to their desired outcome. But they miss the reasons for the decisions, the problem behind the creative solution, and the number of all of failures they had before they figured it out. Autobiography’s are great for professionals to read, because they document the lifetime of experiences and lessons successful people underwent before their dreams were fully realized.
Ready, Set, Achieve
After all of that preparation, I bet you’re ready for that bulleted list. No fear… I have one for you. With your heart and mind in the right place, here are some next steps to get your plan started:
- Break it down. – The best way to tackle anything is to put it into smaller chunks. There are several ways to break large projects down into groups of tasks, and create action lists within them. For example, launching my Life Coaching business will require me to change my existing business model, so I’ll need to do things within areas like social media, website design, product offerings, networking and customer service.
- Create milestones. – Most people are familiar with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Oriented, and Timely). It’s important to draw a line in the sand with your dreams, or else they’ll never get done. If you have a large or complex plan, I recommend assigning one major milestone toward your goal per quarter.
- Survey your resources. – In your planning process, you’ll need to make a list of resources that you need to get your goals accomplished. Remember resources include time, funding, and talent. Where will you need to pull in help, and what can you do by yourself? Remember what you said you were willing to sacrifice? Well, here’s why you needed to be willing to make that committment.
- Get an accountability partner. – I’ve never been fortunate enough to just stop everything and work on my big dream. Most of us have a life planted in reality, that requires the time and energy. It’s easy to allow life to get in the way of your dreams, so it’s important to find an accountability partner, to keep you on task. If you do not have one readily available, feel free to contact me for a strategy session to see if you could benefit from coaching toward achievement.
- Use project management tools. – There are great inexpensive and free project management tools available, to keep you on task. Here are some of my favorites:
- Calendar – Yea, it’s old school… but I keep wall calendars and a paper planner in addition to my electronic calendars. The repetition of writing it down, and having a visual reminder next to my Vision Tree keeps me focused on what I’m working toward.
- Asana – Asana is a online project management tool, created by the co-creator of Facebook, that is free for up to 15 users. It allows you to create and manage tasks, projects, sections, due dates and times, attachments, internal communications, and team pages. The premium version is less than $10 per month.
- Basecamp – If you have a group working toward a goal, Basecamp is a great collaboration tool. You can keep track of where you are with your projects and keep constant communication on milestones and progress. You can try it out for free, then prices start at $29 per month.