Dreams without action is a world of make believe. Consider the following.
- 96 percent of college professors believe they have above average teaching skills.
- 50 percent of high school students believe they will attend law school, medical school or grad school.
- Time magazine asked in a survey, “Are you in the top 1% of wage earners?” Nineteen percent said yes! And 36 percent expected to be.
A dream without a plan is soon exposed.
“When the tide goes out, you discover who’s been swimming naked.” —Warren Buffet
John Kotter has said there are two kinds of people in the world: those who accept their life, and those who lead their life. Some people just get up, look at their life and hope 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 obvious lesson? The key to transforming dreams into reality is to set goals that can be broken down into doable steps.
“The secret to change is one step at a time.” —Mark Twain
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? These seven steps will help.
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 percent 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 co-workers who can teach you skills or give you 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, on no more than one page. It’s too easy to lose your “ball” in the weeds.
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? Evaluate and then rank them according to value. Enroll your action plan into M.I.T. (Most Important Thing).
6. Get moving.
Execute. What is your W.O.W. (Within One Week)? What step will you commit to this next week?
And of the utmost importance….
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.
- I never follow through.
- Someday I’ll…
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.
Confidence = Positive Self-Regard + Competence
One without the other will not equate to confidence. You need to build on both. And it’s not an overnighter. It’s day in and day out—building one day at a time.
You can choose what you will believe, and it will shift your mindset to be clear on the action you will take. I am not talking about clicking your heels 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.
These steps will become part of your Doubt-Removal System. This will shift your mindset, and this action will deal with your limiting beliefs.
This post originally appeared on LeadershipTraQ.com.