Most of us go through life hoping that someday we can have what we want, and have all our dreams come true. Many of us know what our dreams are, and can articulate them. They also change over time. However, when we dream about what we want, we often – almost automatically – stop and allow our minds to rationalize all the reasons why our dreams shouldn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t happen.
At that moment, you’ve hit the proverbial “wall in life,” and stopped! Most people are good at rationalizing why something won’t work, and never come up with reasons why it could, should and would happen. They’ve limited their dreams from happening now, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year – maybe ever.
Fortunately the walls in life that have stopped us from pursuing – and achieving – our dreams are all just in our heads! It’s not our parents, families, teachers, bosses and/or education level that have been limiting us. It’s simply how we view life, our willingness to have what we say we wish to have, and then do what it takes to achieve it. Walls in life are not insurmountable. To give up because we believe “it must not be meant to be” takes away our confidence and competence in fulfilling our life’s dreams.
How do we achieve our life dreams? Our goals for tomorrow? Next year? What about 5 or 10 years from now?
It sounds simple, and it can be, even though it may not look that way from where you’re standing or sitting right now: Write out your dreams, and write them into goals and action plans. Address your fears and insecurities as they arise, and know that they simply represent a “wall in life” that has probably stopped you before from having what you said you wanted – and that you can overcome the wall.
A 47-year-old woman had had a dream of living in Colorado since she was 15. When she was younger she had been on a 4-H exchange trip and truly enjoyed the drier climate, sun and mountains. She vowed to move there soon. Graduation from high school, college and a graduate degree came and went. She worked for several different companies and moved around the state where she had always lived, as had her parents and family members.
Moving was always a possibility; however, there were always reasons why not to (e.g., couldn’t find a job there, schools were less expensive in-state, her mom & dad lived here, etc.). Then at age 47, the “lights went on” and it became clear she needed to make a commitment to do this for herself. It was clear to her that the “perfect time” was “by when” she made it happen! She developed her plan, shared her dream and requested the networking resources necessary. The goal was set for 4-30-2003. She arrived on 4-09-2003!
While it hasn’t been easy living in a new region of the country, not knowing anyone, not always knowing what to expect from new resources, she loves where she is living. That brooding sense of not being fulfilled is gone. Most importantly, she believes in herself. She knows she can make her dreams into realities.
The “perfect moment” is when you decide that it is. It doesn’t matter the reasons you give yourself for when you will or will not. Being afraid of change and not being willing to blast through the walls in life are all that are in the way of accomplishing your dreams.
How do you accelerate this process? Write it out. Walk it out. Talk it out.
Take time to write out your goals. The woman made her move to Colorado sooner than expected because she wrote out the end goal, and worked backgrounds to put in place tasks and milestones for it to happen. There wasn’t an “if” – there was simply a “by when” each item was to be completed. When she didn’t complete that item, for whatever reason, she would talk it out with her closest friends and get back in action. She also kept a journal with recording her fears and excitement of moving so far away by herself. Seeing them written in black and white helped provide her with a new perspective, more compassion for herself, and renew her determination that “yes, I can do this.”
Walk it out … or exercise regularly. Even a mile a day will help you feel good and can keep a positive mindset needed to help you move forward in accomplishing your goals.
Talk it out … with a trusted friend. Include those familiar walls that pop up when you’re least expecting them. Share with a coach or mentor your goals, someone who won’t buy into your “BS,” or what’s commonly known as “excuses.” If you include in your plans the opportunities to “hit the wall,” you can blast through them quicker. Most people make the mistake of trying to go it alone, without the benefit of others’ insights and help, thus limiting what’s possible. Talking with a good coach/mentor will keep you in action, and provide insights into making the process easier!
©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2005-2007
Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo — your partner in developing work and career strategies for selection, results and growth. We improve your bottom line! firstname.lastname@example.org