Talking to a friend this week inspired me to write this “create a new life” post. She’s got a brilliant head on her shoulders, very creative and has great determination. She might even be like me; hard to get going, but once a plan is in place, watch out!
I think we all have some amazing dreams sometimes. We see a problem in the world and want to jump right out and solve it. This is the recipe for medical discoveries, innovative technologies, and some of the greatest accomplishments of mankind.
So why do so many of our dreams lie dormant? Without them, we might not have penicillin, telephones, or even the wheel. Imagine for a moment if there were still phone booths everywhere. Could you imagine how much a call from a phone booth would cost now?
Do you think that Alexander Graham Bell knew how to make a phone when he decided to make one? Did Alexander Fleming set out to find an effective treatment for bacterial infections before discovering penicillin? Nope. And I’m sure we can come up with a huge list of these similarities.
If they knew how to do it, they’d just do it. They were trying to create or discover a use for something that had never been conceived. Before they did that, they had to know for themselves, that they could do it.
Same with you; you are having a dream about something that’s never been done in the way you are thinking. You are looking at yourself as someone who is doing something they aren’t doing now. So we’re going to talk a little bit about how you can get there.
Step 1 – Visualize Yourself
Say you have a dream about providing housing for the homeless. You are picturing this scenario in your head and it sounds great, but what’s missing is where you fit in. People you imagine are bettering themselves with a good job, raising a family, and educate their children in a safe place.
Who is this new person doing the thing you’re dreaming of? What are they doing? Are they managing the properties? Do they go out and find funders for the foundation? Is this person an entrepreneur working to expand with new programs like credit management, worker retraining, or family counseling?
Thinking about what you do starts to cement the idea in your mind. It gets you excited and you’ll need that later down the list.
Step 2- Why Wait?
When I started my computer services business I knew my future schedule. I’d be getting up at 7 AM, having breakfast, reading a bit, and going to the office. I’d dress business casual and I’d always arrive a little early so I could get a handle on a busy day.
So when I started the business in my home, by myself, with no clients, I got up at 7 AM, had breakfast, read up on the news, and went to my desk. I dressed business casual even though I didn’t have a single appointment.
Some might say “fake it ’til you make it” and I admit to calling it that a few times, but it really is telling myself “why wait”. Be this person I am going to be, now. Think of that role from step 1 and work that into your schedule. Are you going to build the houses? Well maybe you don’t need business casual; you might need some jeans!
Step 3 – Work Backwards
Imagine getting some stepping stones to run from the street to your front door. You seem to have plenty of them so you don’t worry about how to put them down. You grab one, look down, and place it, then grab the next.
You start to see that the stones look kind of cool if you stagger them a little bit. Some of the faces seem to compliment each other so you start getting a little creative. It’s really looking good now, better than you envisioned the path would look.
Before you know it, you place the last one, look up, and you are facing the garage door. You were so focused on the journey that you lost sight of the destination. Looked like a door so you were on target but it’s not what you wanted.
Planning backwards is a way to keep the destination in mind, and not getting lost in the day-to-day. Another benefit is that you can see progress from the other direction. By visualizing the process in reverse, you can more easily anticipate what lies ahead in the next step.
Step 4 – Find Partners
Alexander Graham Bell couldn’t make a call and answer the phone. That would prove out the experiment. Having someone on the other end to answer the call is what made the telephone.
Likewise, you can’t be on both ends. In our homeless housing example, you can’t be a master of site development, expert fundraiser, and brilliant business manager (maybe to start, but not when all this starts falling together). You’ll need some help, and you’ll need people committed to your vision.
Take them on this journey with you. Bring them into your imagination and show them where they will be when the dream becomes reality. If they have a place in it that they love, they’ll be the ones you need – especially in this last step.
Step 5 – Persevere
What is going to work against you? You might get a look at that as you’re working backwards through your planning. There might be regulations, laws, or even literally a mountain.
Some people are afraid of change. They don’t want what you’re building anywhere near them. People will say that it can’t be done – if it could, someone would have done it. They’ll say nobody will like it, nobody will support it, and nobody will help you.
They. Are. Wrong.
Human beings are the masters of creating obstacles, but just as equally in soaring over them. Remind yourself of those innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs before you, and the challenges they faced. They were no strangers to being shunned, facing bankruptcy, failing, and even sometimes bodily harm.
Don’t forget your partners, share your thoughts, and how you can work together to overcome these challenges. Remember the vision for yourself and what great things this dream will bring to everyone.
You might have to bend a little to get to where you’re going. You might even have to change your dream a little. Although you may not have your dream exactly as you dreamed it, the benefits of it may still shine through.
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