“Vision is the spectacular that inspires us to carry out the mundane.” —Chris Widener
Can achievement be broken down into steps? It isn’t always that clean and easy, but those who achieve great things usually go through much of the same process, with many of the items listed below as part of that process. So if you have been struggling with achievement, look through the following. Begin to apply them and you will be on the road to achieving your dream.
Step 1: Dream it.
Everything begins in the heart and mind. Every great achievement began in the mind of one person. They dared to dream, to believe that it was possible. Take some time to allow yourself to ask “What if?” Think big. Don’t let negative thinking discourage you. You want to be a “dreamer.” Dream of the possibilities for yourself, your family and for others. If you had a dream that you let grow cold, re-ignite the dream! Fan the flames. Life is too short to let it go.
Step 2: Believe it.
Yes, your dream needs to be big. It needs to be something that is seemingly beyond your capabilities. But it also must be believable. You must be able to say that if certain things take place, if others help, if you work hard enough, though it is a big dream, it can still be done. Good example: A person with no college education can dream that he will build a $50 million-a-year company. That is big, but believable. Bad example: That a 90-year-old woman with arthritis will someday run a marathon in under three hours. It is big all right, but also impossible. She should instead focus on building a $50 million-a-year business! And she better get a move on!
Step 3: See it.
The great achievers have a habit. They “see” things. They picture themselves walking around their CEO office in their new $25 million corporate headquarters, even while they are sitting on a folding chair in their garage “headquarters.” Great free-throw shooters in the NBA picture the ball going through the basket. PGA golfers picture the ball going straight down the fairway. World-class speakers picture themselves speaking with energy and emotion. All of this grooms the mind to control the body to carry out the dream.
Step 4: Tell it.
One reason many dreams never go anywhere is because the dreamer keeps it all to himself. It is a quiet dream that only lives inside of his mind. The one who wants to achieve their dream must tell that dream to many people. One reason: As we continually say it, we begin to believe it more and more. If we are talking about it then it must be possible. Another reason: It holds us accountable. When we have told others, it spurs us on to actually doing it so we don’t look foolish.
Step 5: Plan it.
Every dream must take the form of a plan. The old saying that you “get what you plan for” is so true. Your dream won’t just happen. You need to sit down, on a regular basis, and plan out your strategy for achieving the dream. Think through all of the details. Break the whole plan down into small, workable parts. Then set a time frame for accomplishing each task on your “dream plan.”
Step 6: Work it.
Boy, wouldn’t life be grand if we could quit before this one! Unfortunately the successful are usually the hardest workers. While the rest of the world is sitting on their sofas watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island, achievers are working on their goal—achieving their dream. I have an equation that I work with: Your short-term tasks, multiplied by time, equal your long-term accomplishments. If you work on it each day, eventually you will achieve your dream. War and Peace was written, in longhand, page by page.
Step 7: Enjoy it.
When you have reached your goal and you are living your dream, be sure to enjoy it. In fact, enjoy the trip, too. Give yourself some rewards along the way. Give yourself a huge reward when you get there. Help others enjoy it. Be gracious and generous. Use your dream to better others. Then go back to No. 1. And dream a little bigger this time!
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.