It’s one thing to have dreams and a vision for your life, but a more difficult objective is to prioritise those dreams daily so that you work towards achieving them. Life happens. You get swept up in all the busy-ness and suddenly find yourself off-track, wondering what happened to those plans you made. Keeping a focused vision on your dreams and goals and then executing them, requires more than just clarity of purpose.
Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground. (Theodore Roosevelt)
I am easily distracted by good ideas – shiny objects. But those good ideas take me off course from reaching for the stars. I chase after Good, forgetting I was aiming for Great.
Transformed by your dreams
It takes a special kind of person to dream big, daring to stretch for the stars – and achieve it! The journey you embark on when you decide to chase your dreams will transform you. It will turn you into a different person. As you overcome limitations, moving beyond your current reality, you find you can achieve more. But this requires that you explore your abilities.
You truly get to know yourself. One of the reasons why you see a person successful in one area of their become successful in many areas is this very transformation. Adopting the skills necessary to overcome a limitation in one area, you learn skills to apply to all areas of life.
If you have ever done any kind of shooting – whether it’s archery, clay pigeon shooting or simply target practice at a range – you know where your sight is focused. You pay cursory attention to what is happening around you, your attention is on your target.
Especially when you are working to improve your skills, you don’t focus on what the person next to you is doing. The competition is with yourself. Can I improve on my last results? How do I improve my stance, my grip, my speed, my sight?
Can you apply those same skills to the game of life?
Clarify your dreams for focused vision
If you fail to set your goals and dreams, life with simply decide for you. Perhaps it will be your family or your boss – but you will find yourself working on someone else’s dreams, not your own. I’ve experienced the worst of people-pleasing in my life, all the way to burnout! It’s not a pretty sight. Take a quick look at whose opinions and goals are running your life – are they yours or someone else’s?
Vision is everything! It is the light you choose to follow.
This might include questions like what is my passion and purpose? How will I find my calling? Or perhaps, more simply, it is how do I want to be remembered? What do I want to be known for?
In fact, know what you want and why you want it!
Get very clear on this – willing to work on clarifying the vision and idea. This is not something you do just once. It does not necessarily happen overnight. Be willing to identify the end result – this is where I want to be. This is who I want to be. And then, come back and check it again.
Your vision is your final destination. It is a picture of what and where you want to be. Then, from this vision, you begin to construct goals.
Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground
A vision focused on your dreams is not enough to achieve your goals. If you have your eyes on the stars and your head in the clouds, you will get nowhere. Just a dreamer.
Your power is in the present moment – what you do today. As you work and aspire to achieve your dream and goals, keep a firm grip on the present. Know where you are in your journey.
So, as you clarify your vision, settle it down into a plan. On paper. Visible. Substantial.
Allow your heart to guide what you want, but use your head to create the plan of how you will achieve it. It’s not written in stone – but it needs to keep you on track.
Mile markers for focused vision
Brainstorm what needs to happen – considering where you are and where you need to arrive. Strategise how to make it happen, in spite of the challenges. Clarify not only your vision but clarify your goals. Only then, will you see the importance of prioritising your goals.
Plans can (and will) change. But without a plan, you only have a dream, not a vision and goal. Your feet need to be firmly on the ground for you to reach the stars.
Every dream entails a knowing: what needs to be done today. It’s easy to get caught up in only looking at the giant steps, that are beyond reach. But the reality of any dream is that achievement comes in tiny steps. Possibly imperceptible if you are watching from the outside. It’s not always huge leaps forward that get you to the finish line.
Often, it’s the centimetres you’ve crawled that are ground-breaking. You achieve the impossible because you crawled through the mud while no one was watching. Most people never see the blood, sweat and tears of personal transformation that happens on the journey to joy.
Be present to overcome self-sabotage.
One of your challenges will be addressing blocks – especially the internal blocks. That gut instinct for self-preservation, security and safety can work for or against you. You’ll have to face your own demons – the ones that keep you tracked in status quo of the devil you know.
Recognise your instinct for self-preservation. And learn to identify which version of yourself you are holding onto.
Is this you? The present version of you.
More importantly, is this who you want to be at this time or a version of yourself that you have outgrown? Are these bottled up thoughts and feelings brought to the surface by the situation you are facing?
Are these thoughts and emotions that you swallowed down in the past? Have they been unearthed because your current growth jeopardises a construct of “self” from the past? As you practice self-awareness and mindfulness, firmly rooted in who you are now, you have an opportunity to acknowledge those emotions and memories, releasing them to the past.
Unless you are present with your thoughts and feelings, acknowledging them for what they are, you can miss the opportunities for transformation.
Taking action is not simply about planning and prioritising. It also involves recognising your patterns of inner sabotage and taking action to counter the old habits of self-preservation.
The habits that brought you to where you are today, may not help you get to where you wish to be tomorrow.
Are you ready to take action on those levels?
Consistently reassess your progress
As you press forward, focus on your dreams. But also make time to regularly check your plan against the results.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Some stages take longer. Some plans need revision. Other plans need to go in the garbage bin. Not because the vision is wrong – but because the plan is no longer taking you towards your end goal.
Perhaps you have grown and changed along the journey, and what was once authentically you to reach your vision has changed.
Are you willing to be present with who you are and what works best for you? While you have your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground – be flexible.
Staying the course
Your vision and end game may stay the same, or may even vary slightly. Perhaps it’s only a change of course of one degree – but that can make a huge impact on your plans and execution. If you are regularly present and mindful, aware of where you are in relation to your goals, you can update your plans. Your focused vision allows you to notice what tweaks and changes are required.
They say that while in the air, planes are off course more than 95% of the time. The job of the pilot is to correct that course regularly, to ensure that the plane arrives at the final destination.
As the pilot of your life, that is also your job, no matter the storms that you may weather. But also, be open to recognising that perhaps your destination was Fiji, not Sydney, and be willing to make that course correction. At times, it might just be a layover. Other times, it might be a final destination.
As you journey through life – you will be transformed and changed.
The person that begins the journey of reaching for the stars today will not be the same person that reaches the stars tomorrow. The journey itself will transform and change you. And perhaps that’s the greatest gift of focused vision – finding out who you have to become in order to achieve your dreams.
As you focus on your dreams, notice the changes happening to you and within you – you will feel, think and act differently as you journey towards that final destination. As you change and grow, nothing will remain the same.