As George Elliot said “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” and Mark Victor Hansen said “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”, but the quote that really struck me when I came to my computer to capture the next step in the process is what Johann Wolfgang van Goethe said “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.”
Now is your opportunity to really look at your dreams and decide whether you truly want to ‘live the life you would like to live’, ‘live your dreams’, ‘become the person you always knew you could be’. Yes, you will have heard all of these statements and more, but when was the last time that you truly sat down and thought about the life that you are living, the dreams you wanted to live, and wondered how you could match the two together?
So I was very lucky … I achieved one of my desires without really understanding how I achieved it, or what I did to achieve it; but there I was working in the City of London. My first job was in the engineering world – I was learning about the manufacturing of tyres and green wellington boots. My second job in the city was more in the line of what I had been looking for – I became a Financial Analyst for a company that ran the payrolls for all the city organisations, as well as owning a diverse range of businesses themselves. It was a pressured environment, lots of early mornings and late evenings, with a social life to match. At this time I was also talked into buying my own house – yes that’s true. I was at breakfast one Sunday morning when a family friend and my brother kept on going on about the fact that I rented accommodation and didn’t own my own house. To stop the conversation I eventually said ‘well if you want me to buy one, find me one’. I should have known not to set a challenge for these two because they did just that. A few months later I was the proud owner of my very first mortgage … and the foundation layer of bricks in the house (well that’s what it felt like).
Buying the house found me moving from Windsor to Ashford (Kent) in a small car (one of the original Fiat Panda’s), without the aid of the M25. This meant every journey was taken driving up and down the South Circular in London, and anyone who has done this every week-end for a number of months will wonder why I said ‘yes’. Was it my dream or goal to own my own house – no it wasn’t!
To a great extent I was still on the cloud of ‘moving to the northern hemisphere’. There were so many opportunities, so many avenues to explore, that I was just being guided down one after the other. Living in Windsor was fabulous, but it was about the time I moved to Kent that my group of friends also moved on – one back to Devon, another further into Berkshire, and others around the circumference of London. So in some ways it was a natural parting of the ways and a very easy process to move away from the West, South, West side of London to the South East of the UK. Another draw was that a number of my friends from Malawi had moved back to or started to live in Kent – so in some ways it was like ‘going home’. Commuting to the city was easier from Ashford than it had been from Windsor, and I found that the commuters from Ashford were interesting and friendly people; who over the years I commuted I got to know fairly well.
So was I working towards any of my dreams – at this period in my life I can honestly say that I wasn’t. I was, like a large number of people, aimlessly wandering through life, moving from one place to another without any real guidance as to how to identify my dreams, my goals, or even achieve the next step. Honestly with working, decorating, furnishing and then maintaining and running a home, I didn’t have the opportunity to stop and when I did, I often felt as though I could not see the wood for the trees. So this is your opportunity to stop and decide if you do want to continue aimlessly wandering through your life, or you would now like to take a small step towards achieving one or more of your dreams.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau.
Taking what Mark Victor Hansen said, now is your opportunity to capture your dreams and convert them into goals in a meaningful way that will allow you to truly put your future in your own hands. Before you start converting your dreams into goals, take each dream that you’ve been working with over the past few weeks – taking a fresh page for each dream, write each dream and the information you’ve captured to date at the top of a separate page. One page may not be enough for you to capture the information that you want to capture for each dream as we work through this process, but it is a start and will allow you to start converting each dream into a goal.
Starting with the 5 rules of Goal Setting:
Rule 1 – Set Goals that will Motivate You.
- It is very important that the goal or goals that you set are the goal or goals that motivate you. In this I mean that they must be goals they must be goals that are very important to you and have a value in your achieving them. When you are looking at each dream, if you feel that you have no interest in the outcome of your dream, or very little interest in the outcome of your dream, the chances are that you will not achieve them. If the dream that you’ve capture doesn’t will you with joy and inspiration you will probably not put in the time and effort to achieve it. This is important as motivation is one of the keys to achieving your goals.
- In a previous week you rated your dreams on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is low and 10 is high). Now taking the dreams from your first segment of your wheel of life, looking at how you rated each dream; ask yourself ‘how does this dream meet the priorities in my life today?’ If your dream does meet your priorities, capture how it does. If your dream does not meet your priorities, capture the reason it doesn’t and ask yourself ‘what would happen if I were to achieve this dream and implement these changes in my life?’ ‘How would my life change?’
- Taking this time to identify those dreams that meet the highest priority in your life, or identifying the dream or dreams that would bring a change into your life that you so dearly wish to have; is important as this is the basis of where you will be focusing your time and energies over the next weeks, months and/or years. Achieving a goal requires commitment, so once you’ve set your goal in the next 5 weeks the goal or goals that you set must be exciting, motivating, have a sense of urgency, and you must have the ‘I can achieve this’ attitude. As Henry Ford said “Whether You Believe You Can, Or You Can’t, You Are Right”. So if the dream you have leaves you feeling excited and motivated and you believe you can achieve it – even though you may feel that there are some hurdles to overcome – you will achieve it.
- As you are working through each dream, ask yourself ‘If I was to share this dream with someone else, how would I convince them that it was worthwhile spending the time and energy achieving it?’ The statement that you write down here will help you to work through your dream, convert it to a goal, and focus on achieving it. So when you write down this statement, write it down in a different colour or a different font to highlight it.
Using rule 1, work through each dream within segment of your Wheel of Life. If you find yourself discarding dreams as you are working through this process, don’t worry; what you will be left with will be the dreams you truly wish to achieve.
In the next article we’ll progress to Rule 2.