Last year you were unable to live some of your dreams.
Hopefully you are thankful for what you were able to achieve. No disappointment should block out the joy of sincere gratitude for what you have.
However, how can we improve our game this year?
Here is an option for you. This process increases your ability to achieve your most important dream(s) in 2019:
#1 - What’s your dream?
A dream is a destination. To get there you must clearly define it. Here are some key attributes to consider when defining a dream or TARGET destination you want to reach in 2019.
Clear: Define your dream in a clear and measurable way so anyone who reads your dream statement knows what qualifies as achieving it. One option is to use our TARGET goal format for writing your dream.
Focus: You have limited time in 2019. The fewer dreams you try to achieve this year, the more time you have to achieve them. There is a strong argument to only have one major dream for the year.
Schedule: Reserve time in your calendar to complete each task, achieve each milestone, and ultimately reach your destination or dream. Protect this time. Use what we call Stealth Mode to work without interruption: (1) Schedule the time in your calendar and notify others you do not want to be interrupted; (2) Turn off email, phone…; and (3) close your door / work in seclusion. When something unexpected occurs where you cannot invest the time, then reschedule this focused work time rather than cancel it.
Team: You may pursue a dream on your own, but still communicate your dream to others and ask them for accountability each step along the way to your destination.
You: There is only one person who controls your dream. It is you. Hold yourself accountable daily and weekly to make progress. Do not blame others or circumstances for delays and other challenges. Make progress weekly, if not daily.
#2 - Is it selfish?
It may be that only you benefit from achieving your dream. This is not necessarily bad, however ask yourself: Is this dream selfish?
By "selfish," I mean how does it affect others you care about when you achieve this dream?
One image to consider is a funnel with two outputs. The funnel represents your dream. When you achieve your dream the benefits - and any consequences - flow through the funnel to you and others.
If you are dreaming to compete more effectively in the marketplace or athletics, then the negative repercussions of your achievement fall upon those who are working against you. Therefore you lose nothing and only gain something of value.
However, be careful not to pursue dreams that hurt those closest to you. For instance, working so many hours over an extended period of time to achieve your dream that you miss experiencing life with those whom you love.
#3 - What new habit do you need to live your dream?
Everyone has one habit, or 101 habits, that could be improved. Some of our behaviors are outright bad, or simply unproductive.
I suggest you make two lists of your behaviors: One list is your five strongest behaviors that lead to achieving goals. The second list is your five worst behaviors that slow or block your ability to accomplish meaningful things in your life.
Choose one strength on your list that helps you achieve this dream more than the others. Consider how to invest more time in this behavior during 2019. Play to your strengths.
Choose one weakness on the other list that is holding you back more than the others. On your own, or with a coach or mentor, decide on a new, more powerful habit to overcome this weakness. Do not try to make this weakness a strength because that would take time away from using your natural gifts (strengths). Instead, simply overpower it with a new habit to stop it from thwarting your progress.
#4 - Make the tough decisions
Everyone struggles to make tough decisions. The big problem is when we move too slow or move too fast. As leaders, and achievers, we must make tough decisions in “Goldilocks time."
The fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears has several versions. The gist of my favorite version is a young girl enters the home of Papa bear, Mama bear, and Baby bear while they are out for a walk. She eats some of their porridge, sits in their chairs, and sleeps in their beds. In each instance the first two items she tries do not meet her needs, and then she settles on the third, which is, "just right."
In your career, you have may have waited too long to fire a nonproductive employee. This is procrastination and an extreme example of postponing decisions.
Another time, you may have judged someone negatively before considering all the facts. This is an example of the opposite extreme: Moving too quickly to a decision and thus making a poor one.
As you pursue your huge dream in 2019, there will be many tough decisions to make. Work on your habits as I mentioned in Step #3. Get help from a coach or mentor if needed. Whatever approach you take, make the tough decisions reasonably quickly, in Goldilocks time.
#5 - What is…?
What will your life be like if you continue to refuse to make the tough decisions, or procrastinate on pursuing your dream? (Again?)
Achieving dreams connects you to meaningful work and opens the door to new fulfilling opportunities. Some of us need a whack across the forehead to more fully comprehend the cost of procrastinating. A déjà vu moment…
Complete this table after you define your dream. Literally, I want you to write down what you win when you achieve your dream versus what you lose when you refuse to get in the arena and fight for what is meaningful to you.
Life is a pursuit of meaning. You have limited time. Make the most of 2019 by achieving a dream that not only gives you joy today, but feeds your soul forever.
#6 - Who can help?
Life is rarely a solo journey to achievement. Who can help you make these tough decisions and give you the accountability you need to reach your destination dream?
Find someone who is an achiever. A leader with enough courage to candidly explain when you step off the path to your destination, and she/he knows from experience that rabbit trail will eliminate your ability to achieve your dream.
Find a person who has a combination of hard skills that relate to what you're trying to achieve, and soft skills that enable you to engage with others as needed to accomplish your dream on schedule. You need a respectful, empathetic partner or team for encouragement, knowledge transfer, ideas, and firm boundaries to keep yourself continuously making progress.
Do not be fooled. This person or partner, maybe your spouse who has limited business experience or a person whom you totally trust who has different business experience. Choose wisely.
#7 – Pray
If you do not believe in God, then at least spend time reflecting on your dream and confirming it is your calling, not just a career move.
If you are a person of faith, then immerse your dream constantly in prayer.
First, to confirm your destination.
Second, to keep yourself on the path of your dream.
Third, to express gratitude for each learning opportunity (problem), progress, and miracle.
Fourth, to seek wisdom and then watch for the signs of confirmation along your journey.
Fifth, to celebrate reaching your destination dream.
Don't use prayer as an excuse to delay your decision or activities to pursue your dream.
This journey may be new for you. There are changes that may be difficult. Your efforts / these changes may be painful in the short term… However, look to the horizon. The sun is shining. There is healing there along with comfort, joy, prosperity, and fellowship.
Start here, wherever you are. Start now.
Let us know if we can help. If nothing more, I would be honored to pray for you.
My focus word for this year: Courage.
P.S. Today’s thoughts are inspired by Psalm 68