I have recently been thinking about big dreams and goals. Goals of any size are fantastic, but sometimes we have big dreams (speaking for myself) and one of the things I had to learn over the last few years was how to allow myself to dream big. I spent my youth having big dreams about things I wanted to achieve in life, and who I wanted to be, and somewhere along the line, I feel as if I traded those dreams for reality - that is aiming for things that were realistic. I remember even thinking about dreaming, and the first thought that would pop into my head - "how realistic is that?" and as a result I realise that my dreams got smaller and smaller, and pretty much disappeared. I found that I had gotten into a very every day routine (that almost felt like being on a treadmill) of working towards goals that I was really half-hearted about. But over the past couple of years, I have gotten back into the habit of dreaming big, and there are a few things I had to do give myself permission to have those dreams, and work towards achieving them.
Just this morning, I was thinking about one of my current big dreams, which is to write a book. Here are a few of the things that were really important to me in allowing myself to have that particular dream, but they are important for any big dream or goal I have, especially when I want it to come to fruition.
1. I can't self censor - As I was driving down the road this morning, a book idea hit me (in the car as usual) and the thought that immediately followed that was a caveat - can you really write enough to fill a proper book? You know that 20 pages is still a book. I had to stop that thought in it's tracks in order to allow the big dream to progress. If I am not careful, I can talk myself out of big dreams simply because I am afraid of feeling let down if I don't achieve them. The trick to dreaming big for me is to gently but firmly turn back that voice that is trying to protect my ego, which can minimize my dreams or destroy them altogether with a million reasons why I should wake up. Instead of asking myself why, I say why not! It allows the dream to form, and take root and ideas flow to start to give it shape.
2. I have to speak life - my next step is to speak positively about the dream, instead of downplaying it. This puts it into the realm of reality. In addition, I ensure that anyone I discuss it with will be positive about it as well, since that boosts my belief even further. I have heard of many a dream dashed when someone puts it in a negative light and when that happens to me I feel totally deflated. So for me and the people I discuss it with I want positive energy and positive words of encouragement. In these early stages, the naysayers can go elsewhere. Later on, I may find a use for them, when I need to iron out kinks in a finished product, but for now, I need to have positive conversations about the idea.
3. I need to write it down. Or draw it out... For me, the process seems so much more manageable if I commit it to paper. I can start the planning process and figure out if I need to do any research into the concept so that I can start to move that dream into reality. Something as simple as writing down that bucket list brings me this much closer to getting stuff done. When I am in the car, I will often leave a voice note for myself, so that I can write it down later.
4. I find a community - and for me this best consists of persons who are also dreaming big dreams and achieving them. This may be friends, aquaintances or even a virtual community of persons who are great for encouragement and accountability. These folks are my cheerleaders, as well as a source of ideas on how to achieve the dreams. I was surprised to find that once I started looking, there were so many other persons out there dreaming big and achieving that it was a great source of inspiration for me.
5. I "try a ting" (road test the idea) - now to dip my toe. For me (in the example of the book) that means writing the blog, or taking a creative writing course, even creating some writing prompts and working on them. But it may look different depending on how the dream looks. For me this has 2 purposes - the first to make me less risk averse. It is a way to reduce the fear of taking a huge risk, and sending a message to the excuses in my head - not today thanks. But secondly I can road test and tweak the idea so that it inches closer to becoming a reality
6. I need to be ok with failure - I need to be ok with hiccups along the way. People saying no... Things not going to plan... these are not failures, but just undulations in the road as I drive. The only real failure would be for me to give up on the dream. I heard someone say this morning "if no one is telling you no then you aren't dreaming big enough".
7. I must enjoy the journey - last but not least I need to have fun and enjoy the journey. There is much to be learned along the way, and sometimes the only way to achieve the dream is to learn lessons and have fun along the way.
Once I have mastered this process, the dream takes on a life of its own. Ideas start popping into my mind wherever I am, and I have scraps of paper everywhere with tips on how I can bring this to life. It starts to feel so much tangible - like I can reach out and touch it, and bring it closer to me, so that I can see it more clearly, and begin to work on it. In so doing, I can actually bring this dream into reality. And to those who are planning to do the 365 day challenge, I hope that you find this useful to start dreaming big about the goal that you will be working towards over 1 year. Start dreaming and you may be surprised at what goal you want to set.
And now I go, sending you big love from the dream clouds above a small island.
Ps I took the above photo a few years ago when I was on a cruise. I rose early to watch the sun rise, and here is a shot of it coming up over the hills as we sailed into one of the ports. I love to watch the sun rise, and believe that anything is possible!