I’m a big dreamer. When you show me a dilapidated, empty building, I envision a buzzing space filled with all the things I love. Similarly, when you show me your business idea I dream up the best possible outcome. I see billboards and international bestsellers and posts going viral on social media. I see it all.
Seeing is easy. Having, however, is a different story. Bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be is often so overwhelming and seemingly impossible that you don’t know where to start. It is like trying to cross the grand canyon without a bridge.
More people dream impossible dreams with few taking the necessary action to bridge this gap. Somehow, the impossibility of reaching your goal serves as justification not to take any risks and thereby avoid criticism and possible failure. It’s safer to say you want something you believe is impossible than to risk the disappointment of not having it.
However, it’s not the time for holding back on your dreams anymore and now, more than ever before, it is crucial that more people reach their impossible dreams. So how do you cross a gap that seems impossibly big? Here are my recommended five steps towards reaching your personal vision:
1. Get specific.
Get very specific about your goals. Changing the world or becoming a top influencer is too general to achieve. The first step to reach a goal is to critically sit down and think what that goal is, tangibly. Only when you know your end-destination can you define the best route to get there.
What does it mean to be a top influencer? How many followers would you have on social media? Where will you be showcasing your work? How much money will you have in your bank account?
Quantify what it would look like in numbers when you reach your goal, without getting discouraged by the impossibility.
2. Don’t worry about how.
Most people jump to solutions before they understand the root cause of the problem. They start making lists of things they think they need without creating a foundation, making it even more impossible. Many startups, for example, search for funding while they should rather be working on building traction to prove that their idea is a market fit and that the team has what it takes to build and market it.
It’s not funding that you need, it’s a roadmap to get you fundable.
For example, thinking you need funding for creating a video that will go viral on national TV is unrealistic if you’ve only ever had a few hundred views on Youtube. The focus should be on figuring out what the next step should be, which in this case would be to increase your following on social media.
The TV show or video might come later, but more realistic immediate steps would be to push content for more people to become aware of you and start finding and building relationships with influencers that are aligned with your vision.
A great tool to determine these immediate next steps are described in a previous post in an exercise called “Remember the Future”. Not worrying about the how the focus on the end states of each sequential step working your way back until it feels more achievable.
3. Just start.
Once the immediate next step is defined it is a matter of jumping in and starting. Don’t wait until it is perfect. It is more important to do something and get feedback than do nothing while trying to get it right.
Expect that you won’t get it right immediately. Change your perspective to one of getting as much feedback as possible. Lean startup advocates this approach as would any investor advise a potential startup.
Put out as much content as possible and ensure that you listen to the feedback you receive. Real and raw is better than perfect but superficial.
Authenticity is king.
4. Take one step at a time.
It’s tempting to start with a number of things to try to get to the finish line sooner. In more cases than not, this only results in you reaching the finish line later as each step you take influences the following step. Skipping steps only means you’ll have to go back and redo all of the steps leading up to where you are.
Let go of your expectations of what the best route to your success story will be. Don’t force the road you think you must take, rather take the path of least resistance, following your inner GPS’s instructions, one step at a time.
5. Keep going.
The one thing you can be sure of is that the road to success will be paved with obstacles and hardship. Everyone will tell you to quit or that your idea is crazy. At times, you will feel like quitting, wondering whether you’ll ever reach your goal.
But it’s always darkest before the dawn. The longest journey is completed by putting one foot in front of the next. Just keep going. When things get hard, focus on the next step only, knowing that eventually, you’ll reach your destination.
Success comes to those who reach for the sky and is willing to risk falling. Keep your eyes on your goal and just keep going and eventually, one step at a time, you’re bound to reach your destination. When you follow these guidelines, the sky is the limit and success becomes inevitable.
Image courtesy Samuel Zeller via www.unsplash.com