Planning takes us only so far. As a certified Project Manager, I can attest to the incredible usefulness of planning. Having a clear idea of where you want to go and a rough idea of how you are going to get there are good tools for success (however you have defined success). But for some reason, many people stop there… “Life” gets in the way, and our plans remain just that – plans.
Despite society at large telling us our dreams are not doable, practical, or are just downright impossible, there are people who follow their plans and succeed at achieving their dreams.
Here are three steps to take that will ensure your dreams, goals and plans remain on track, centered, focused, and are actually realized and achieved:
In order to move forward, we must take a step.
In order to be a successful golfer, the ball must settle nearer the hole than it was when you hit it.
In order for a Formula One car to finish a race, the engine must be turned on.
In order for you to share your music with children, you need a piece of music.
Do you see how each of these grand and lofty dreams include a very simple step? That’s all it takes – a collection of very simple steps. And that next step is all we will focus on today.
1. Identify your most heart-warming goal
By now you appreciate that I expect to see SMARTER goals that actually are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely, exciting and relevant. “Present 5 meet-the-instrument workshops for 100 children by September,” is a good goal.
2. Figure out why
Why is this a goal? Why do you want to do this? How will achieving this goal benefit you? Keep repeating these questions until you find what I call “The Source.” This is your real motivation. Your thinking could sound similar to this: From presenting workshops to 100 children I could get 5 new students. 5 new students means my income increases $6,000 a year. With an extra $6k I could afford a new bow for my viola. With a new bow, it will no longer be quite as difficult to make a warm, deep sound that makes the instrument resonate and sing. When that happens, my music will affect so many more people much more deeply, and they will want more of it.
A rabbit hole? Possibly, but do you see how presenting five more workshops actually helps me positively affect people listening to my music through the purchase of a new bow? That’s no longer a rabbit hole, but a clear motivation behind my goal.
3. Identify one action
What one thing can you do today that brings you closer to your dream? In our example, asking a teacher or school administrator if I could present a music workshop for their students. Another step might be to design a flyer, or draft the workshop’s script.
In fact, one action you could take is to bypass your goal altogether, and take a new look at all your financial resources to see if you can find $6,000. After all, a new bow is the priority. Presenting workshops is a fun and very worthwhile side-effect.
Taking just one little step every day towards either your goal or your driving motivation (a.k.a. dream) will provide you with very surprising results: actual realization of your dreams much sooner than you think.
Don’t try this – do this.
Your dreams are closer than you realize.