"Happy talky talky, happy talk. Talk about things you'd like to do. You gotta have a dream, if you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?" (South Pacific)
Are you a dreamer? If you are, that's a good thing! Because as the song tells us, without a dream, you'll never have a dream come true.
Dreams are exciting and motivational, and ya gotta have 'em, but they require focus, intentionality and specific activity in order to make them happen.
So how do you make your dreams come true? It's all about developing what I call, "The Success Mindset", the kind of mindset that produces lots of ideas but maintains them in a disciplined structure. Creativity is richer within boundaries.
Here are some simple steps and tools to help you achieve the rich mindset that will make your dreams come true. These steps involve tapping into the power of consciousness, externalizing it in hopes and dreams, then channeling and enriching those dreams with focus and intentionality. Recording is a critical part of this process at all stages:
1. You Gotta Have a Dream
Talk about things you'd like to do. Maybe you have lots of dreams, or maybe you're having a hard time finding even one. Begin a lifelong exercise to encourage and channel your own creativity, by writing a journal. Get yourself a blank journal or a loose leaf notebook with paper and a pen, and plan to write for 15 minutes (timed) every morning. Create your own prompts -- drop at least one word on a slip of paper into a box or bag each day for a week before you start journaling: fly, breathe, wealth, love, fix, want, hope, wish. Anything that occurs to you or that you see or hear is ok.
After at least a week, you're ready to begin your lifelong project. Continue to drop a word into your bag each day, but now add sitting to write for 15 minutes each day. Pull a word out, and write about it, non-stop. 15 minutes, no more, no less. Your mind will start to churn things out -- this is your success mindset in development. Limiting yourself to one word for 15 minutes takes you down unexpected paths of your imagination. You'll get in the habit of thinking and noticing as you record each day. You'll start to channel an overactive imagination...and stir up an under-active one.
2. Choose One Dream
Once you engage your imagination, choose one dream. Start small while you're practicing. Soon enough these steps become second nature, and you can take on larger dreams and projects, even multiple dreams and projects, but begin with something that provides immediate gratification, in other words, something you can complete before you're old and gray: a small business venture, a relationship improvement, a self-growth goal. Have you dreamed forever of getting that squeaky door to open and close quietly?
3. Write a Mission Statement
Write a mission statement for the dream you chose: "My mission is to stop doors from squeaking." Then you can write a plan around that one purpose.
4. Write a Plan to Achieve Your Dream
Your purpose in writing a plan is to make clear and conscious what is fuzzy or unconscious. Your plan helps you discover lack of focus or ways in which you sabotage yourself. It is an important tool for focusing your attention and energy.
A brief, uncomplicated plan is fine. You already wrote a mission statement. Now it's time to learn the difference between goals, objectives and strategies and write them into your plan. From mission statement to strategies, your plan progresses toward specificity.
Remember: objectives are measurable and often quantifiable: I will find a how-to video for fixing the squeaking door. I will fix the door on Day Three within one hour. Do you have two doors to fix? I'll improve my time on the second door by 10%. Strategies are things like: web research, organize and supplement tools.
5. Track and Monitor
In order to determine whether or not you are meeting objectives or to determine if you need to make changes in your plan, you need data. The data come from monitoring and tracking. Record it somewhere; don't just make "mental notes". Written observations and data are another aid to focus.
In terms of tracking progress, if there are ways to track numerically, that works well. Charts and graphs from the numbers provide quick visuals. Numerical/financial tracking is basic to any business, and it works for smaller dreams and projects as well.
Monitoring is something you can do daily by checking what you plan to do and what you have done that day against your plan. You can record these checks in a daily diary, providing yourself with another kind of data. Did your activities contribute to fulfilling your plan? Did they distract you from it?
As you collect data through tracking and monitoring, you will see patterns. You will learn where you lose focus or where you sabotage yourself...or you will see what works toward manifesting your dream and what doesn't. You will have the data that indicates when you need changes in your plan. The important thing is that you constantly engage in a process of making the unconscious conscious, keeping your focus and engaging in activities toward manifesting your dream with intentionality.
7. Step Back
Rest is a critical part of manifesting your dreams. Constant and total involvement in anything doesn't serve focus and creative energy. You need perspective and new energy on a regular basis. Plan for these intervals -- a day a week when you set the plan aside, relax, meditate, spend time outdoors, whatever allows you to separate mentally from pursuing your goal and just "be".
If you really want to stimulate more creativity and make those dreams come true, start by making a plan on paper. And don't stop there. Use a plan with goals and objectives and strategies to maintain focus and intentionality. Channel and enrich your dreams. A plan is a good tool to help you do that, to make your hard work and sweat and determination fully effective. Your Success Mindset will develop in time, and it will soon be natural for you to think and act in this way.