So you’ve got a dream, an ambition, a passion to do something new. It’s not something you always talk about or something you’re sure will ever even come to fruition, but it’s there. You find yourself thinking about it during the slow moments of your day or as you lie awake in bed. And yet, you’re waiting to get started on it.
So often we hold off on pursuing our dreams because we’re not sure where to even begin. If you’re sitting on a goal, and you’re ready to get started, here are a few things you can do today (not tomorrow, or a week from now, or in a year — TODAY) to start making that dream a reality.
Just pick something
For those creative types out there, you might find it difficult to move forward on your dreams because, well, you’ve just got a lot of dreams to choose from. Your big, beautiful brain is constantly cooking up new projects, new ideas, new ways to utilize your talents. For you, the question isn’t what are you good at, it’s which of your diverse passions you should pursue. If this sounds anything like you, here’s some tough love, friend: you’ve got to pick one. I’m not saying you can’t do a few amazing things all at once, but if the threat of choosing the wrong path is keeping you from going down any path at all, my advice is to just close your eyes, spin around a few times, and point in a direction. Start walking, and don’t look back.
Create a mind map
Once you’ve selected your dream, it’s time to start brainstorming. One of my favorite ways to do this is by creating a mind map, an extremely helpful visual brainstorming tool. Start by writing your goal in the center of a page (ex: “start a blog”) and drawing a circle around it. From there, think about the various categories of your goal (ex: content, aesthetic, social media, audience, brand, voice) and draw lines from the center leading to those new categories. Focusing on one category at a time, continue to expand on each one by drawing branches to new thoughts and ideas. Continue this process, and watch as your mind map becomes filled with new and interesting concepts that have been hiding away in that awesome brain of yours. When you’re done, you’ll have a slew of creative directions that you can begin to pursue.
Create a productivity system
One of the hardest things about starting towards a new endeavor is prioritizing your to-do list. Here’s one of my favorite methods: start by creating a master list of everything you need/would like to get done. Every. Little. Thing. Then sort those items onto three different lists: a Doing-Now list, a Not-Doing-Now list, and a Never-Doing-Now list. Your Doing-Now list is the things you plan to get done TODAY. Your Not-Doing-Now list is the things that are important but should only be accomplished after the completion of your Doing-Now list. Your Never-Doing-Now list is the things that might be fun or interesting, but at this time, won’t contribute to your productivity. These lists are helpful because they leave you with no excuse in terms of knowing what you should be working on. Rearrange them daily and see how your priorities shift.
Build a team
By including people in your goals, you are immediately more likely to feel accountable in succeeding. There are tons of different ways to bring people in on what you’re doing. Perhaps you want to find a business partner, collaborate with someone in your field, or maybe just create a group devoted to meeting regularly to brainstorm over coffee. Whatever kind of team you want to develop, it’s important to ask yourself, “Who do I know who A) might benefit from this endeavor B) cares about me and wants to see my dreams come to fruition and C) I work well with and respect?”
And then, pitch your idea to those individuals. Be clear, concise, and to the point about what you want from this relationship. And do it today! Seriously, the fastest way to lose steam on an idea is to try to develop it all by yourself, so cut out that temptation as early as possible.
Money is a powerful motivator. There’s nothing quite like putting down a significant chunk of change to make you say, “Well, I guess there’s no turning back now.” By investing capital in your dream, you immediately bring legitimacy to it. So without emptying your savings account, think about how you can use your money in a way that will help you attain your goals. Perhaps you need to purchase a domain, register for a class, price a new camera, or hire a virtual assistant. Whatever it is, know that you and your dreams are worth the investment.
What is your dream and how are you working to make it a reality?