“If you can dream it, you can do it. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
[Don’t worry. This isn’t an ethereal, head-in-the clouds approach to following your dreams. I’ll offer real, practical advice that you can put to work today.]
Dreaming is great. It should never be stifled, always encouraged. But by itself, it’s not enough. If you really want your dreams to come true, you need a plan. Here are six steps you can take to actually make your dreams come true.
- Define. Then Commit
This is not as complicated as we make it. You don’t need to define your life purpose and what every day will look like from here on out. Instead, start with what you love. It really is that simple. What makes you happy? What do you love to do? What makes you come alive? What do you sit and think about the most? Take that idea and start to define it. The dream may change slightly as time goes on, but for now define it as best you can. Gary Vaynerchuk, for instance, is dead set on buying the New York Jets one day. That’s his dream. It’s huge and may seem impossible right now, but it’s defined. (By the way, he’s worth between $10 – $20 million right now. The Jets are worth about $1.3 billion) The more clearly you can define your dream, the more likely it is you will achieve it. With a distinct, measurable goal you know exactly what you’re after, then you can take very intentional, focused action.
- Take action. Every. Day.
This may be the most important thing you can do when going after a huge dream. Most people never move from dreaming to doing. Once you’ve defined your dream, taking action is easier. You’ll experience a sort of euphoria the first couple of days you do this. Then the enthusiasm starts to wear off. It’s like starting a plan to lose weight or trying to write a book. It’s a big undertaking that takes continual effort day in and day out. It’ll get hard. It won’t always be fun. But it’s the necessary process to bring a dream to life. Buying the Jets takes a $1 billion+. Gary Vaynerchuk is doing little things every day to grow his wealth. Do something every day to get closer. Every. Day.
- Love yourself.
This is an often overlooked step in the pursuit of dreams. You are an amazing person with unlimited potential. Treat yourself like you deserve to achieve your dream. Be positive. Don’t play the victim. You are good. You are capable. You are loved. It’s amazing how the mind opens up – creativity, energy, attitude, etc. – when you love yourself.
- Get rid of fear.
You will always be able to think of plenty of reason why it won’t work. Fear tries to paralyze us in our pursuit of reaching our dreams. Most of the fears that hold us back are hidden well beneath the surface. We may not even know they are there, but they call the shots. They hold us back. They make us shoot way lower than what’s possible. Fear can take many shapes like fear of failure or fear of what people think. Fear is often what’s driving our common excuses. “I don’t have time right now.” “I don’t have the money right now.” “I’m not good enough yet.” Get rid of all your excuses. This may sound crazy, but go after your fears, find out what they are…hunt them down. Once you expose them, you can get rid of them. For an amazing strategy to do this I recommend #Fearhunters by Noah Elias. It will change everything for you.
- Treat little decisions like big ones.
Little steps taken over a long period of time make a huge difference. It’s easy to look at our dreams and try to figure out how to jump from step one to step ten in one jump – how to bring the future, fully completed version of our dream into the present. That never works out so well and can be super discouraging. Instead, figure out what you can do today to move a little closer to your dream than you were yesterday. If you want to be a writer like J. K. Rowling, don’t try to write an entire book series today, just write one page a day. If you want to be the next Walt Disney, like Noah Elias wants to be, don’t take out a huge loan to build a movie and animation studio, start by creating one art piece at a time. Walt drew a little cartoon mouse one day. The he kept drawing and kept growing. The little things also include habits. If you have tons of free time, use it to create or learn something that brings you closer to your dream.
- Actually believe that your dreams are fighting to become a reality.
This isn’t some hokey mystic concept. Your dreams do want to become a reality. Once you start really pursuing them with all your heart, you’ll notice that some things just happen to help you reach them. J. K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishing companies before someone paved the way. That someone was an eight-year-old girl who happened to be the daughter of the president of a publishing company. Harrison Ford couldn’t land any good acting jobs so he took up carpentry. One day he was called to install cabinets for George Lucas. We all know how that went. There are a TON of stories like these. It’s hard to explain, but just believe that your dreams are fighting to come true. Things will start falling into place if you’ll be persistent.
Our dreams really can become a reality if we have the courage to pursue them. It’ll take a lot of work. You’ll get tired. You’ll want to quit and go after something easier until the “time is right”. But that time will never come. Be courageous and start today. Then just keep going. Keep moving forward one step at a time.
“…but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” – T. E Lawrence