When was the last time you gave yourself permission to dream big about your passions and goals? If you’re like a lot of women I know, it’s probably been way too long.
Let’s face it, life gets in the way. The endless procession of musts, shoulds and to dos that crowd our minds and days can often make the notion of having ‘time to dream’ seem self-indulgent. So it becomes all too easy to write off our dreams and aspirations as unrealistic, a waste of time or something we’ll worry about some day. So we push them to the back burner while we get on with more important things.
But let me ask you, what could be more important than having a dream for every part of your life now – family, career, business, relationships, legacy, all of the above – and doing what it takes to bring those dreams to life.
Think about it. Every big win, every major achievement, every personal triumph begins as a dream.
History making jockey Michelle Payne dreamt of winning the Melbourne Cup since she was an even more diminutive 5 year old.
J K Rowling’s meteoric rise to bestseller status began as a dream that spawned a writing career that’s been magic beyond words.
And how long do you think Hilary Clinton has nurtured her dream of becoming America’s first female President and the world’s most influential woman?
Your goals are a product of the dreams that drive them
Dreams aren’t just flights of fancy or wishful thinking. They serve a vital purpose as a bridge between where we stand in the present and where we strive to stand tomorrow. They excite us, energise us and unlock possibility thinking, opening us up to all kinds of “What if?” scenarios. Whatever your personal measure of success may be; achieving it relies heavily on having a dream to begin with.
It’s our big dreams that plant the seeds of success in our minds, because they let us get in touch with what’s most important to us and help us create a picture of a future we can then work to realise.
And that’s where goals come in. It works like this … dreams drive goals. Goals provide focus. Focus guides planning. Planning directs action. Action gives birth to more big dreams and goals. Rinse and repeat.
How to close the gap between dreaming and doing
Dreams are what we aspire to. Goals are what we do to make them a reality.
Smart women dare to dream big, but also know there’s no such thing as overnight success. Great achievements are comprised of a series of small steps, efforts and actions that evolve over time. Not to mention a whole lot of drive, determination and discipline – and stretching, often way beyond your comfort zone.
What makes those women who pursue their dreams and take positive real world action towards their goals successful, is that they close the gap between dreaming and doing by focusing their approach in 5 specific ways.
1. Believe you can win.
Achieving big goals has little to do with our smarts, experience or resources, and a lot to do with how we think. Success in any effort starts in our minds. When you look at a goal do you see only obstacles preventing you from accomplishing it, or options to keep you moving closer? If you start from a place of “I can’t”, you never will. Begin instead by acknowledging past wins and obstacles you’ve overcome, and replace those limiting beliefs with liberating truths.
2. Dream big, but plan small.
Big dreams and goals matter, but they can cause us to feel overwhelmed by the size and complexity of the targets we set ourselves. To counterbalance that effect, plan small. Doing a little bit regularly adds up to a lot. Chunk your goals down into manageable pieces and do-able milestones that enable you to overcome the resistance and rack up small wins along the way.
3. Remember that failure forges success.
No point sugar coating it. When you set big goals, you should be prepared for a few bumps along the way. Even the most successful women have failed more than once. The difference is in how they process failure. They don’t internalise it because they know that failure is not actually the opposite of success, but an important component of it. So they analyse their fails, absorb the lessons and move on, building resilience to turn stumbling blocks into stepping-stones on the way to future successes.
4. Get started now!
Some goals will be harder to reach than others. Some we have to try on for size, fit and comfort. But don’t let over-preparation or planning become an excuse to do nothing. Procrastination is the real enemy. You can only see the path once you’re in motion, so just start. When you take that first step, no matter how small, it’s easier to move past distractions and impediments and gain momentum.
5. Keep fanning the flames.
Big dreams and goals don’t thrive in a vacuum. They need to be fuelled and supported. Smart women aren’t preoccupied with perfectionism and don’t let past experience derail future performance. They know that action, direction and traction are essential to keep their goals alive. Acknowledge that some progress is better than none, and take action every day – no matter how small. Stay focused on where you want to go, not where you didn’t go. Regularly revisit, revise and review to ensure your goals are in alignment with your inner and outer world, and create traction.
Will it be easy? No, nothing worth doing or having ever is.
Will you feel like giving up at times? For sure, but ask yourself what’s the lost opportunity cost of calling it quits and settling for less than you desire or deserve?
Will it be worth the effort? Absolutely.
So go ahead and dream big. You owe it to yourself to set your sights high and reach for those big goals. After all, what’s the best that can happen? You may actually find yourself making meaningful progress towards something that matters.
Nov 17 in Personal Growth