Some of us are good at making our dreams a reality. There are others that don’t dare to dream. Malcom Forbes once said, “When you cease to dream, you cease to live.” Dare to live by systematizing how to make your dreams your reality using the replicable process below.
• Visualize. Make all the jokes you want; visualization works. If you asked the most successful athletes in the world, I bet they employ this technique. The pro golfer envisions the ball going into the cup — every time. When you wake up in the morning, what drives you? What do you assume is at the other end of that day? Using visualization gives you a road map from point A to point B.
• Plan. Plan work and work the plan. Think about what happens when you don’t plan. How do you feel? Is your list of accomplishments small or large? How do you know when you get “there” if you have not defined what that is?
• Commit. You will lose focus without commitment. Each day, my wife creates a physical list, the old-fashioned way with pencil and paper. A certain magic happens when you commit something to paper. It becomes real.
• Track progress. Have some small goals that are relatively simple to make a reality. Think of it like a “gimme” — a small win that takes the pressure off the big hurdles motivates you to keep moving forward. As a woodworker, three-quarters of my enjoyment of a project is planning it, with the goal in mind, taking one bite at a time. Building the measurable success factors and milestones fuels the drive to attend to the goal.
• Review. At The Applied Companies, our strategic plan is based on what the reality was at the time of creation. External factors come in to play that may not have been incorporated. We continually check the environment and, as a result, we learn and are more efficient and we break bad patterns.
• Celebrate. There is one true thing about achievement — it feels good. Human beings need and want to celebrate and have fun in the process. There is a different kind of fire there that spreads and that energy is contagious. In the purest sense, when you work hard, you play harder.
• Next steps: Achieve, repeat, live.
Written by Jim Annis President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller and Nissa Jimenez, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.