In the defining speech of his lifetime, Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, which he declared in front of an audience of millions gathered around the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. He went on to share, in very specific detail, what America, once his dream was realized, would look like. Would feel like. Would be like. He was passionate, energetic, bold, specific, and courageous. He gave us a vision, a voice, and a face for a better United States of America. So, why not take the time to think and act differently about your dreams and actually make them happen? Here’s how:
Getting a new job, renovating that bathroom, getting fitter, learning to sail, starting to date again or repairing that relationship with your son or daughter are all amazing dreams. However, dreams need to be specific. When dreams are vague, we tend to focus on all the obstacles, fears, and dreads – and these paralyze us from action. Instead of dreaming vaguely and dreading specifically, try the opposite. Dream specifically and dread vaguely. The more specific you are about each of your dreams (both big and small) the more you can clearly define what’s needed to make them a reality.
Climb Your Ladder of Intentionality
Having specific dreams is not enough. You need to become highly intentional. Think about them. Write them down. Declare them out loud. Get others talking about them. This is how you climb your ladder of intentionality. The higher you get, the scarier it becomes, because you’re “putting yourself out there,” and suddenly what seemed unobtainable starts to feel a lot more real and, therefore, achievable. As you’re weighing the risk of really pursuing your dreams, spend some time weighing the risk of NOT pursuing the dream. I think you’ll find the risk of inaction much greater over time.
Getting ready seems straight forward, but we rarely ready ourselves fully enough to realize our dreams. With your specific dreams in hand, and a high degree of intentionality, the better you can plan and prepare, and the more likely it is that you will succeed. Take the time to understand what you need to know, do, and know how to do, to accomplish each dream. Michael Phelps had a dream, which he declared to the world, but he didn’t become the most decorated Olympian of all time without planning and preparing well.
Summon Your Courage
Courage is a muscle that needs to be built over time. Break down each dream into manageable ‘steps.’ As you achieve each step, your courage will build. Using the sailing metaphor – you must build the courage to set sail, then the courage to venture out into the unknown. The more specific your dreams; the more intentional you are; and the better you’ve prepared, the more you will inevitably build the courage you need to overcome your fears; to trust yourself; to be optimistic and to bring your dreams to life.
Remember - not every dream has to be a ‘big’ dream. They come in all shapes and sizes. Dreams are the most powerful force on the planet. We all dream, and we all have the power to realize those dreams and unleash our full potential. So get started!