The Best Plan is to Start

Melissa and I were talking about some big dreams the other day: Spending winters some place warm away from the frigid New England temperatures, building a stationary, eco-friendly, sustainable house on a beautiful lot of land, and owning a villa in Italy to name a few.

When we dive into BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) territory, my mind tends to go to one of two places:

  1. All the reasons why we can’t possibly do it, or
  2. All the steps we’d need to take to make it happen.

My fears or feelings of overwhelm take center stage and I either freeze or disregard my dream all together.

I seem to forget what I tell my students on a regular basis: one step at a time.

And it’s okay if the first step is to be afraid and doubt it’s possible, so long as I don’t stop there.

So then what’s the step after that?

To take my fear by the hand and show her we can, at the very least, explore the option.

How often do you dismiss your dreams because they feel out of reach or others have told you you’re crazy?

What if not checking them out is what’s crazy?

By not dipping your toe in the water, you send a message to yourself that your goals aren’t important; that you don’t have what it takes to make them happen.

But how do you know that if you’ve never tried?

Or if you have tried, if you didn’t reevaluate and try again?

There is a popular cleaning product here in the States called Formula 409. Can you guess why it’s named that? Because the formula failed 408 times!

Each time it did, the scientists went back to the drawing board, made some tweaks, and tried again. And again. And again.

They stuck with it until they created an effective solution. Formula 409 eventually became, and still is, a best-seller.

But how do you stick with it when it all feels so heavy?

By balancing your emotions with practical action.

Sure, feel scared. Feel overwhelmed. Feel doubtful. And then act.

Don’t worry about the finish line. Just think about the next step.

Dreams, like creativity, can run a bit wild and need some corralling to feel directed and purposeful. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t have structure and a plan to support my BHAGs, they’ll always stay in Daydreamville.

If you’re the same, give this a go:

  • Get clear on where you want to take your life. (Check out the P.S. note below for a tool I use)
  • Look at how you’re currently spending your time. Is it aligned with where you want to go?
  • If not, identify what you can clear off your calendar to free up time to focus on your vision.
  • Brainstorm some first steps you can take to support and honor your desires.
  • Then take just one of those steps.
  • Wash, rinse, repeat. ☺

Day by day, step by step, you will make progress.

You will gain traction.

You will get clearer on what it is you want.

And I bet it won’t take 408 tries to do it.

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