I am not generally a big dreamer. I have to force myself to get past practicality. But when I do, I come up with some pretty amazing, energizing ideas. Like skiing on every continent of the world. Cool, right? I know!
It’s easy to stay in the realm of the possible and the achievable. It’s comfortable. Not scary. The downside? When we stay safe, we underestimate our capabilities, limit future achievements, and deny ourselves exceptional success.
When I think about doing pragmatic goals, a lot of times I know it will take work to accomplish them; however, I’ve noticed with the wild, crazy goals, they excite and energize me. I know I’ll need to stretch past my comfort zone and see what I’m made of to make them happen. That’s when I know I’m onto something.
So if you’re like me and have difficulty dreaming big, what can you do to get there? Here are some tactics that have been helpful for me.
- Be outlandish. Think of things you’d never do and imagine doing them. This will prime your pump to move past the subconscious limits and pseudo-realities we impose on ourselves.
- Dream. What would you do if you had all the money and all the time in the world? Brainstorm that. Again, this helps push past self-imposed limits. A lot of us buy into the notion that we need to be rich and have unlimited time in order to achieve our dreams and that’s not true. Just read any biography of a rich, famous, or powerful person.
- Take a current goal and inflate it. Think of ways to make it two or three times larger. What does it look like then?
- Ask your 8-year-old self what your goals should be. Full of confidence, precociousness, and endless enthusiasm and optimism, our younger selves didn’t limit what we wanted to be. An astronaut-princess ballerina-firefighter-chemist was a totally acceptable career choice. And really, this is completely doable. Get a telescope, take some EdX courses, volunteer for a fire department, learn to pirouette, and invent and perfect a new recipe.
- Change the words. Words are so powerful. I have experienced that even the slightest and most innocuous adjustments to the words I use have a profound impact on my attitude and feelings toward the goals associated with them.
- Believe in yourself. I’ll always remember a time in broadcasting school when we had an assignment to do a mini documentary on anything we wanted. I chose a nice little topic –something I knew I’d be able to do well enough. When the class assembled, one woman shared a phenomenal idea to interview high profile women. I was gobsmacked because in that moment, I understood I had subconsciously assumed that because I was a student, “important” people wouldn’t talk to me or real stories were out of my league. Instead, I had gone for the sure thing. The sensible idea. The safe idea. She dreamed bigger. And now she’s an international correspondent and anchor for one of the top TV news stations in the country.
- Kill your fears. If you’re like me, you’ll hear whispers or maybe screams of doubts when you amp up your goals. Examine those doubts to find the fears behind them. What makes you afraid? How come? Then embrace that fear and kick it in the butt.
Then write those dreams down, and find a way to make them come alive. You’ll live a more exciting and fulfilling life as a result.
What methods do you use to dream bigger? I’d love to learn from you. Share your thoughts and tips in the comments by clicking here.