We all have dreams, right? We imagine ourselves living a certain type of lifestyle or being a specific kind of person. We say to ourselves “next year” or “in five years” or “at the end of my life, I’ll be _________”. But have we consciously looked at how we get from where we are today to that “future self” in our imagination? And if we have, isn’t it true that unless we are actively taking steps toward that end, success is at the lowest level of probability? I’ll answer the question for you. Yes. However, there’s a simple fix for this, and today I want to share two practical tips to increasing your probability of becoming the person you imagine.
Name Your Obstacles
Name your obstacles, excuses, and limitations. Write them down and look them square in the eye. Sometimes we are so nervous about the obstacles that stand between us and the person we want to be that we never truly define them. And, if we never define them, we will never be able to overcome them. In fact, most of the time our obstacles have more power when they are less defined. That seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. We feel that defining those obstacles will make them feel even more impossible. But it’s the act of defining them that allows them to be overpowered.
Create a ladder and get over your obstacle! “Go to Home Depot, buy a ladder, and get over it.” I’ve always loved that saying, although it’s never made the receiving party laugh. However, we must do just this, and we must start by addressing it in our mind. Think of a few ways you could overcome the hurdles in your path. Heck, think of all possible ways. Write them down and ask people who have gone before you. Whatever you do, find solutions (even if at the time they don’t seem possible). What could you start doing today on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that would move you closer? What steps on the ladder that you created can be taken today? I know I may sound like a broken record, but every ladder has many steps and you have to take them one at a time.
Maybe your goal is financial stability, something you’ve always dreamed of but has seemed out of reach. Perhaps you want to end hunger for those in your community, or maybe you want to finish a degree you started years ago. Whatever the obstacle is, name it. Then create ladders.
Here are some examples:
Goal: Financial stability
Ladders: A new job, a new budget, less eating out, less spending, etc.
Goal: Ending hunger in your community
Obstacle(s): Time, finances
Ladders: Feed one person, volunteer at a food bank, create an adopt-a-person program, etc.
Goal: Finish degree
Obstacle (s): Time, money
Ladders: Night school, grants, online classes
Whatever the picture you have of yourself in the future, there needs to be a deliberate plan for seeing it through. Will you work more hours, save more money, or free up your Saturday mornings for the soup kitchen? Think outside of the box by getting everything in the box down on paper.
And a little food for thought: What do you think would have happened if you had created ladders over you obstacles when you first thought about them?
Consider this as you look back and as new dreams are born. If we do not step forward, then we step back. Start today by naming your obstacles and creating ladders.