We all have dreams. But how many of us actually fulfill them? Making dreams come true is the cornerstone of the American Dream--we idolize those who manage to realize the impossible. Hundreds of books have been written about success, and yet, as they do when trying to lose weight, people still clamor to find the secret formula.
The reality is that each person's definition of success is different--as is the path we each follow to achieve it. However, in my work helping corporate types and entrepreneurs alike actualize their dreams, there are five common traits I've seen that turn dreamers into doers.
1. They believe in themselves.
This is the most important of them all. Success and dream creation come down to how much you believe in yourself. Not occasionally, but every day. Ask those who are living their dreams and they will tell you that believing in themselves is a regular practice. We all have negative thoughts--and if you consciously reverse them, you will be more likely to succeed.
2. They don't get sidetracked by failure--they learn from it.
Failures, disappointments, and hearing "no" are all inevitable realities of fulfilling any dream. How you deal with them is an indication of your aptitude for success. If you dwell on setbacks and then dismiss them without any self-reflection, then you miss the lesson or information you need to pivot your approach. If you take the time to process them, learn, and then reintegrate the lesson with your goals, you will be a dream-making machine.
3. They have a clear vision, which gives them purpose and fulfillment.
You must understand what your ultimate goal is--for both your career and your life--and what needs to be achieved to get you there. This vision will make you feel fulfilled because you know you're having the impact in the world that you desire. A vision will also help you stay focused in the face turmoil or hardship, because you know where you're going, so you don't mind how rough the road that takes you there may be.
4. They hire people with skills that complement their own.
You need to be clear about what you're good at--and what you're not. Find people to support you in the areas where you don't excel. In addition, understand your own need for support and don't hesitate to seek it at the right time.
5. They never give up.
When you have those days where nothing seems to go right, it's important not to give up. When you have those days where everything is right, rest assured that you're on the right track. No matter what, never throw in the towel. Innovate, pivot, and persevere? Yes! Give up? No way.
Incorporating these five traits may seem easy, but in reality, this is challenging. First, figure out which of these are personal barriers for your dreams. Then figure out a process or a support system to help you overcome your specific performance barriers.
Don't just tell yourself to do these things--make a commitment to them. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Commitment is what transforms a promise into a reality." Commit to making your dreams a reality, and pretty soon, they will be your new reality.