Do you have a dream or do you have a goal? If you are thinking about something you want in life but not working to make your dream come true, then you need to shift from dreaming to action. Taking action is the key to making dreams turn into reality. But how do you know what is the best action to take and what to do first? It might not matter just what you do as much as it matters that you do something! Here are five innovative steps that will move you out of the realm of dreaming into the realm of achieving your goals:
Step 1. Start talking
Chances are someone else has done or dreamt of doing what you want to do. Start talking about your dreams and you’ll likely find people who have good advice, contacts, suggestions or information to offer. Not all the “free” advice is going to prove valuable but one gold nugget of good information is all that might be needed to get you going in the right direction.
Step 2. Take a step
Let’s say you want to return to college to study art. You aren’t certain you will be accepted into any college and even if you are, you have no idea if you can afford the tuition. The best way to find out what is possible and what barriers you might face is to take one small step. Visit the college admissions office and then visit the financial aid office. If you find you don’t qualify for admissions, then consider another school. If tuition is steep, ask about scholarships and loans. Every time you move into action, you’ll be gaining information about the best avenues for achieving your goals.
Step 3. Forget about money
You might want to travel internationally but then place those dreams on the back burner for lack of funds. But is money really holding you back? Lots of people travel as volunteers or with church groups on mission projects. Some work as tutors or nannies. Others may join the Peace Corps. Some people raise funds for a worthwhile cause and participate in marathons held everywhere and anywhere around the globe. Start to think about how you can achieve your goals even if no funds are available. Believe it or not, money is rarely as necessary as it seems.
Step 4. Be the change you want to see
Those are the wise words from Gandhi who knew that the best way to achieve one’s dreams is to live as though those dreams have already come true. Do you want to be songwriter? Start writing songs. Read publications for songwriters. Hang out at songwriting festivals. Do you want to lose weight? Organize a weight loss support group for family, friends or co-workers. There’s no rule that says we can’t start living even a small part of our dream today while we work toward fulfillment of our larger goals.
Step 5. Find the people who have what you want
Want to open a bike shop? Learn how to kayak? Go find the people who are doing what you want to do and learn from them. If there is a local club or professional association or workshop centered on your interests, be sure to attend those meetings. If you do some research ahead of time and ask insightful questions, most folks will be happy to respond to your questions and interest.
No matter what your goal may be, you need to start taking action if you are going to be successful. Once you’ve taken that first step, you’ll be able to see more clearly what your next action step should be. So take that first step and watch your dreams become reality.