I'm fortunate to work for a company and in an environment where I'm encouraged to pursue my dreams. Whether it be by my coworkers, my superiors or merely by watching the amazing "hype" videos we see at the end of every quarter, each day is filled with some kind of inspiration pushing me to be the best version of my self and strive for success according to my definition of the word.
This last week we brought in dream coach, published author and motivational speaker, Daniel Armstrong to the office. Daniel founded a program called "Find a Tree" in which he "fosters a world of dreamers and doers," both youths and adults within the workforce, schools, and even correctional facilities.
(Read more about Daniel and Find a Tree here: http://www.findatree.com/about/find-a-tree)
Daniel shared his personal story which included some amazing dreams he's possessed since he was a young boy and how he ultimately accomplished them throughout his life. It's safe to say most of us sat in the audience in awe of his travels, the people he's met and worked alongside, and the impact he's had in the lives of students and adults alike.
Once he finished sharing his own journey, he challenged us to turn our focus toward ours. With the help of Daniel Armstrong's guidance, I'm going to teach you a simple exercise to take the first step toward achieving your dreams.
1. Write a list of twenty of your talents and interests.
He said twenty and my eyes immediately widened. Twenty?! How could I name that many talents and interests of mine? He noticed the look on my face right away and assured me that twenty was no joke, that was the real deal. So, I got to writing. It's amazing what this small step can do. It truly forces you to have an introspective moment with yourself to realize not only the things that are natural gifts for you but your interests and passions beyond your favorite color or your dog. If you're like me, you may even notice a reoccurring theme or two throughout your list.
2. Write your "dream."
At the bottom of the page write your dream. The sky's the limit! Sit with yourself for a minute and think - "what is my dream?" Make sure that your dream is specific and you can easily attach steps and measures of "success" with it. For example, saying "I want to be happy," isn't the most specific dream. But, if you say, "I want to find a job and move to a beach town in California because the beach makes me happy," then we have a little bit more to work with.
3. Read your talents, interests and dream out loud.
Whether to your husband, your wife, your dog or your next door neighbor, take a minute to stand up and recite your talents and interests aloud. Put a little oomph in those words! This list of twenty things summarizes what you do best and what you love most - say it like you mean it!
4. Focus on your dream.
Now we turn our attention to our very specific and very personal dream. After reading your dream out loud, ask yourself, what am I doing right now to accomplish this dream? What could I be doing more of to accomplish this dream? What is my timeline on this dream? Whose help do I need to accomplish this dream? What does success look like when this dream has been accomplished? All these questions and more will help you pinpoint the necessary steps to making this dream a reality.
5. Get after it!
While I'm working on my personal dream of being a successful travel and fashion blogger, I know I could be doing more. This exercise helped me identify key things I could be doing every single day to take my dream from a lofty idea to my success story.
It was so wonderful having the opportunity to listen to many of my peers share their own talents and interests and have a glimpse into their biggest aspirations. Daniel challenged every single one of us to dive deep into our dreams and set dates and timelines for ourselves so we can truly hold ourselves (and each other) accountable.
We often hold ourselves back from accomplishing our wildest dreams, but why? Lack of effort? Fear? Trepidation? Uncertainty? Lack of passion? Time? Support? The list of excuses goes on and on.
Personally, I use the time and fear excuse for why I haven't gone after my own dreams. When I lay my head on the pillow every night I think about all the things I didn't get done, instead of the things I did. "There aren't enough hours in the day!" I say every, single, day. No joke! However, it's not about the number of hours in the day but what you do with them. I know I could use mine a bit more wisely every now and again.
And fear. When it comes to writing, or doing most things actually, the most difficult part is collecting my thoughts and just getting started. Once the pen or keyboard is going, my words start flowing and I remember why I love writing so much. But like I said, the toughest part is starting.
Writing a book has always been a dream of mine but the fear of taking the time to sit with my thoughts and start putting pen to paper has kept me from accomplishing this dream. After working with Daniel Armstrong and sharing my aspirations with my team, I know what I need to do to get after this dream.
Sometimes all it takes is planting a seed. Join me and find your own tree.
(Originally Published May 21, 2017)