Having a goal is an assignment.
Having a passion is a dream.
At the very least, I hope you have a goal for your life. However, my wish for you is a list of dreams!
I’ve find dreams create more passion than run of the mill goals. Passion is what makes work effortless. Think about it – when doing something for which you have passion – time flies by.
Let’s be honest – when caught on life’s treadmill, you kick up a lot of dust with your endless efforts. That dust, left unmanaged, starts to cover-up everything shiny in your life. One of the first things covered is your dreams.
Fortunately, there is no better time to clean than spring! My spring cleaning challenge is for you to follow the tasks below and dust off your dreams. To do so requires you to look back in time and recall dreams that have been covered in dust.
Step 1: Dust Off Dreams
For each relevant decade of your life (20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s), write down all the dreams you recall. Take time to think back and remember. They don’t always pop back instantly.
As an example – here is my abbreviated list.
My 20’s: It was my dream to have a family early in my 20’s – the dream was to be an empty nester in my 40’s and travel with my wife.
My 30’s: I wanted to start my own business. It was my dream to work for myself.
My 40’s: I wanted to take a 2-year sabbatical and live/travel in Europe with my family. Upon returning to the States, I planned to change my career and home.
My 50’s: I dream about working remotely – I’d love to break ties with all brick-and-mortar and do what I do from where-ever I am.
Step 2: Filter your Dreams:
With your dreams-by-decade written on paper – now filter them. The filter determines which (if any) of your dusty dreams become destinations for your Deliberate Journey. Use the following scale to rate each of your listed dreams.
- I did it (pause to pat your self on the back)
- I’ll keep it
- I’ll edit it
- I’ll remove it
From my example above:
From my 20’s: Rating # 4 (Remove it): I didn’t have my daughter until age 35 and I gained a step-family when I was 43 – the numbers don’t work!
From my 30’s: Rating # 1 (Did it): I have worked for my self since 1993!
From my 40’s: Rating # 3 (Edit it): While I never took the sabbatical, my wife and I are dreaming about taking an RV around the perimeter of the USA. It may be another 7 years, but the dream is secure (and we are working toward it).
From my 50’s: Rating # 2 (Keep it): Given I’m only 54 this isn’t really fair as I just created the dream a few years ago – it is still fresh.
Step 3: Add Dreams (if necessary):
Review the dreams you kept and/or edited. Do you feel excitement and passion when reading them? Will pursuing them add depth and breadth to your current life? If so, fantastic.
If not, you’ve got more work to do. Take time to draft fresh dreams. This is not a 10 minute activity – take a couple of weeks to really think about a worthy dream. Open your mind; don’t let “reality” edit your options. Start a dream journal – a small notebook to capture ideas. Experience what happens when you get off the treadmill and let your brain run free!
Step 4: Draft a Plan:
For each dream on your final list, create a “yellow brick road.” In other words, what are the steps needed to make each dream a reality. Most dreams aren’t easily accomplished. By definition, they tend to be “bigger” and “audacious.”
They do NOT happen by themselves. You MUST build a plan and move consistently and steadily toward them. This requires tangible goals. However, these goals are tied to a dream! They are not a treadmill-based to-do list. There are many formats for writing goals (e.g., SMART goals). Use a process you like and break your dream into 12 months goals. Be sure you work at least an hour a week on making your dream come true – it keeps the passion high.
From my examples: To achieve my dream of working without brick and mortar, I have eliminated an employee and replaced her with two part-time virtual assistants. So far so good!
Give it a try – dust off your dreams. Bring passion and focus to the treadmill and watch how quickly you start to break out of your default patterns and make different decisions.