How many times have you seen someone get super excited talking about a big dream but not do much to make it happen? It’s really common. For years it was a dominant pattern of my own, before I discovered why I wasn’t making much headway. I had really big, beautiful dreams, which was great. But I couldn’t envision a possible path from here to there—a way to the future where my dreams come true. A big part of the problem was that I knew my big vision, but I had no idea what steps to take right NOW.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I’m all for thinking big, just not all of the time. Not even most of the time. Your big vision is super important. It’s impossible to know what step to take next without it. It’s even great to visualize living out your big dreams and make decisions in the present based on the belief you’ll get there. But a big reason most of us don’t progress toward our dreams, is that we’re not putting enough focus and attention on the very next step to get there.
The gulf between where you are and where you want to be can feel overwhelming sometimes. Not knowing all the steps between can make you feel like giving up before you start. The good news is, you couldn’t accurately plot out all the steps if you tried. You have to move forward before they can all be revealed to you. What you can do, is get clear on where to step next.
Start by clarifying your pie-in-the-sky vision, where you want to be in say, five years. Then ask yourself:
What tangible steps can I take over the next year that will advance me in that direction?
Make sure you choose goals you know you can achieve in the next year. For example, if you want to be a published author but haven’t completed a book, this year’s goal could be completing your first draft. Then break that larger goal down into smaller steps you can take each month and week. Your goal for the first month could be to create a rough outline. Each month after could be writing a chapter. Breaking big goals down into bite-sized steps is critical to arriving at your desired destination.
So, what goal could you achieve over the next year that would feel like a great step in the direction of your big vision? Finishing a script? Signing with a new agent? Recording an album? Decide what that next step is now. Then break that goal down into smaller steps, take everything else off your to-do list, and focus on each smaller monthly and weekly step on your to do list as if it’s the only one. Like nothing else matters.
Then when the step you’re working on is complete (even if it’s done imperfectly), move onto the next step, and repeat. Just like that, as if each step is the only one, your yearly goal will be achieved. After your yearly goal is achieved, define the next one, and repeat. Each mini success along the way will bolster your confidence and all sorts of fortuitous twists and turns will arise that you couldn’t have imagined or planned for. Such as an awesome editor coming your way who cuts you a great deal because they’re just starting their own business (one of the unexpected gifts that came my way).
So remember—dream big, but just long enough to know what step to take next. The steps will often move around a bit, as you move forward and new opportunities present themselves, but that’s OK. That’s where the magic happens—planning for the next step, but staying open to synchronicities, makes magic happens.