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Big Dreams, Small Goals

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One of the great challenges of life is being able to dream big while still managing to run everyday life in such a way that will allow your dreams to actually come to fruition. This process, of turning your dream into a tangible goal, then turning that goal into a set of steps to be followed like a yellow brick road until your goal is achieved, is a basic tenant of achievement. 

The first question to ask is, of course, what is a good dream? Well, a good dream is one that is specific enough to actually be defined as a goal. Specific dreams are well defined, measurable, attainable, resonant within your life, and defined within a time limit. What I mean by resonant is that achieving this goal, or indeed working towards it, fits into the general outline of your life, matches your values, and will uphold your other goals and achievements. Some of you will recognize this as the acronym SMART which is used to test if your dream is actually one that can be materialized.

Once you've defined your dream as a SMART goal, you can move on to figuring out what the actual steps required to attain that goal would be. There are several parameters that you'd want to look at in order to breakdown your goal into tasks:

 

1. Knowledge

What do you need to know in order to achieve your goal. There are two tiers to this question:

What is the process, what are the requisite steps, what does one need to know about the process, the goal, or the achievement to achieve it?

Is there education required in order to achieve this goal? Is there a course you need to take, is there knowledge or missing that you can purchase, Is there research that needs to be done? 

 

2. Human resources

Who are the people you'll need to work with, liaise with, or be in touch with in order to achieve your goal? These can be collaborators, employees, service providers, indeed anything from a graphic artist to a full-fledged partner.

 

3. Finance

What are the financial aspects of this endeavor?  What will you need? Where is the money coming from? How are you financially protected in this matter? How will the financial aspects be handled and by whom (harking back to question 2)? There are also aspects of sales and marketing which can be put under the finance label, or be broken off into their own category.

 

4. Logistics and operations

How will all this work? What are the practical aspects of making this dream come true? What are the practical aspects of working the dream in case we're not talking about a certain specific achievement, rather a business or some other ongoing endeavor? 

 

This process should produce a list, usually quite an exhaustive list, of practical steps that need to be taken one after the other in order to achieve the goal, in order to make your dream come true. Now here's where the rubber meets the road. Achieving dreams requires a clear plan of action, but it also requires the grit of actually doing everything that's on your list. Creating a system for time management, making specific times to work on your dream, and setting realistic goals along the way are all paramount in the achievement of your goals. Time management is the subject of another article, but on its own, it is not enough to ensure your success.

What you really need to succeed is grit. True grit is your ability to treat your results along the way simply as feedback as to the efficacy of the actions you took for the achievement of this specific goal you're after. Most people tend to treat their results as immediate and specific feedback on THEMSELVES, So that if they get the desired result out of any action they're on top of the world, but if they get an undesired result they find themselves down, out, and on the brink of depression. Oscillating between utter mirth and borderline depression is no way to live your life over time, and will not in the long term bring you to your goal. Grit is the ability to simply use your results as an indicator of your learning curve, an indicator of the places you still need to get better. We can't be expected to be great at everything we do the first time we do it, yet we allow ourselves to define our self-worth according to those results.

Being successful is actually more about learning how to manage your relationship with the learning curve than anything else. Well, maybe on par with actually getting up and taking action.