To one degree or another, just about all of us are unsatisfied with ourselves and our circumstances—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A certain amount of dissatisfaction is necessary if we’re ever going to make progress. To become all that we can be, we must dream of being more than we are. The problem is, too many of us stop there, in the dream stage. Why do you suppose that is?
More often than not, it’s because we don’t think we have what it takes to turn our dreams into reality. And we’re usually right about that. We can make some changes by sheer willpower or working harder, like reaching a new sales quota or dropping a dress or pants size. But what about the bigger changes, the changes inside that we know would make us so much happier and enable us to truly make a difference in our corner of the world? It’s that kind of change that is usually most elusive.
We’re not good enough, we tell ourselves. We have too many flaws and make too many mistakes. It’s just not in us!
Jesus summed it up so simply when He said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” The secret lies in putting ourselves in God’s hands and letting Him do the impossible for us and through us and sometimes in spite of us. We’re small, weak, and incapable, but there is a very big and strong and capable God just waiting to help us.
A dream without a plan is soon exposed. As Warren Buffet has said, when the tide goes out, you discover who’s been swimming naked.
Dreaming is good when it leads to a learning agenda that directs our intentions towards what’s most important to us. John Kotter has said there are two kinds of people in the world: (1) those who accept their life, and (2) those who lead their life.
Some people just get up, look at their life, and hope (dream), something good will happen. The successful person says, “I’m going to make something happen. I’m going to build on trust; make that relationship work; take control over the things I have influence over; lead my life; create a personal learning agenda that will help fulfill my dreams.”
The key to transforming dreams into reality is to set goals that can be broken down into doable steps. As Mark Twain said, “The secret to change is one step at a time.”
So how do you create a learning agenda that will help you fulfill your dreams? For starters, is there a gap between what you know or the skills you have and the information or the skills you need to actualize your dream?
Below are Seven Steps to turn your dreams into reality:
1. Start with the end in mind.
Determine your goals and ask yourself: Where do I want to be next year? What do I need to do to accomplish these goals? Your answers instantly become your learning agenda.
2. Assess the skills or knowledge you’ll need.
Some goals won’t require new skills or knowledge, but others will. What specific skills are needed to make your dream(s) come true? What skill that you already possess would you like to improve by 25% within the next year?
3. Explore the best sources.
Is it going back to school? Enrolling in a training course offered by your employer? Developing a relationship with mentors and/or coworkers who can teach you new skills or insights? Look for that optimal source for every skill you decide you need to learn.
4. Create your learning agenda.
You now have the information, so start creating your learning plan. It should lay out the skills and knowledge you need to acquire. It should include a timeline of where and when you will go about it. And it should be in writing.
5. Begin with the most important.
Don’t start with the hardest or the easiest. What is the most important thing you can do right now? Not every action is of equal value. Evaluate and then rank them according to value.
6. Get moving. Execute.
What is your W.O.W. (Within One Week)? What step will you commit to this next week? Let the fun begin—you are putting your learning agenda into action. The sooner you get going, the sooner you’ll learn the knowledge and skills you need to enjoy and achieve your goals!
7. Identify your limiting beliefs.
We all have them. When you identify them they begin to lose their power. Don’t doubt your dream. I’m too young. I’m too old. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money. These doubts are common to all of us. One of the best ways to fight your doubts is to be clear on where you want to go. You must take the first step. That’s what builds confidence. Every time you do something you didn’t think you could do, your confidence is built. Action leads to confidence more than confidence leads to action. It’s easier to act my way into a feeling than it is to feel my way into an action.
Stand up for who you are and what really matters to you. You can choose what you will believe, and it will shift your mindset to be clear on the action you will take. This action will be proof to yourself that YOU believe in where you are going. I am not talking about clicking your heals together, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, saying I believe…I believe. I’m talking about putting a stake in the ground, and making claim to your life.
So go back and review these seven steps for creating your learning agenda. They will become part of your Doubt-Removal System. This will shift your mindset, and this action will deal with your limiting beliefs.