“If your dream doesn’t scare you it’s too small”
Vincent Van Gogh said, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream”. Certainly, Van Gogh is one who made the connection between dreams and reality. We’ve been inspired by his dreams ever since.
But as inspiring as that may have been for Van Gogh, for many others, there is a disconnect between dreams and reality. And reality hits where dreams end. And the unfulfilled dreams of our youth turn into the regrets of our old age.
In leadership, as in other parts of our lives, we hear much about dreams and goals. For some, it is to land the dream job. For another, it may be to write a book, raise a family, start a business, or travel the world. What is your dream? What is the one passion or desire that you think of often? What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
Much has been written about goals and dreams and this will certainly not be an exhaustive list nor necessarily new ideas. But I want to put forth these simple keys to serve as reminders that your dreams do not have to go unfulfilled. It simply takes courage to pursue them. Here are six things you will need to do in order to turn dreams into reality.
Face down your fears
This is perhaps the most obvious obstacle that causes most dreams to go unfulfilled. Fear. What if I fail? What will other people think? In the end, what happens? We talk ourselves out of the one thing that truly inspires us. Until you face down your fears, your dreams will never become a reality. It’s time to own your fears and put an end to it.
Face up to your challenges
Depending on the size of your dream, you are going to have to face up the challenges your dream or goal presents. What resources will you need? You will have to flesh out exactly what your dream or goal looks like in real life. What will be required of you? What sacrifices are you willing to make? There’s always a tradeoff, are you willing to embrace it?
Define your path forward
Your dream becomes a reality when you know what it is, and when you have a clear path forward. It won’t just happen because you dream it. Now you have to live it. Now you must own it. Now comes the time to put pen to paper and chart a course. Do you have the resources you need? What partnerships do you need to form? Connecting your dream to your reality begins when you spell it out.
Consider the risks
No dream worth pursuing will come without risks. What is your threshold for risks and rewards? This is why thoughtful planning is important to you. And this where most people come up short on their dreams becoming a reality. It’s hard for many to reconcile the notion that they need to overcome their fears and take a risk. After all, the risk is one of the fears. But you will minimize the risk and quash the fears when you do your homework. It’s then your faith kicks in and you are able to make the leap.
Go for broke
Once all your homework has been done, your risks assessed, your plan charted, then you can take that step of faith and go for broke. It may be baby steps at first, but at least you are moving in the direction of your goals and dreams. One of the greatest challenges you will have to overcome is dreaming too small. As the old saying goes, “Shoot for the moon, Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”.
Never stop dreaming; never give up
The secret to connecting your dream to your reality rests in your persistence and perseverance. Will you fail? Will you have setbacks? Will you have fears and at times even question whether your dream was actually a nightmare? Yes!
“Many of life’s failures,” Thomas Edison said, “are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Connecting your dreams to your reality happens when you don’t give up.