Are you wishing for things to happen or are you actively chasing your dreams?
As a young girl growing up in a small town in South Africa I had many dreams. I fantasised about travelling the world, meeting interesting people and having fun.
To date I have lived on three continents and traveled to 65 cities and counting. It hasn’t always been rainbows and unicorns… far from it.
When I first moved to the UK in 1997 my parents were dead set against it and they didn’t support my decision emotionally or financially. In fact, my dad didn’t speak to me for the last month before I left!
My husband and I moved to Australia in 2009. We had to move house five times in three years, and I lost my job and 457-work visa within six months of moving here due to the global financial crisis.
We nearly had to leave the country before our permanent residency came through.
When we try something new and get out of our comfort zone, we win and we lose.
I have lost special places, friendships, possessions and identities but I also gained new perspectives, friends and experiences.
I had many moments of doubt. “What if I couldn’t find a job? What if it didn’t work out? What if I was making a huge mistake?”
Are you waiting for the right time? Are you waiting until you feel ready, until you’re settled in, until the kids go to school or until they leave home?
There isn’t a perfect time to follow your dreams, there is only now. And all great adventures start with a decision to make it so.
Whatever your dream is — whether you’re halfway there or haven’t even started — you need passion, perseverance, self-belief and a plan to make your dreams a reality.
5 Steps To Chase Your Dreams
DEFINE YOUR DREAMS
Make time to sit down in a quiet spot and get clear about who you would like to be in your life and what you would like to have and do in your life.
Get clear on what matters most to you (your values) and define what success looks like for you.
e.g. I was very clear about my dream to travel the world and freedom is important to me, so I set my life up to be as commitment-free as possible and I use all available money to travel often.
It’s different for every person and there’s no right or wrong answer, only what will make you happy and lead a fulfilled life.
Write your dreams down in a journal or diary and refer back to it at least weekly. This ritual keeps your dreams top of mind and helps you commit to make it happen.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
You only need a few people who understand you and what you’re trying to achieve. This could be your family and friends or not.
e.g. I thought my family would be excited for me and support me, but they didn’t and still don’t in most of my endeavors. So I don’t speak to them about my dreams, I speak to my husband and a handful of close friends and advisers who support me.
You’re looking for people who can encourage you, uplift you, be honest with you and who live their own out-of-the-box version of life.
Make a list of 3-5 people – family, friends, mentors or peers – who will support you in chasing your dreams and keep you accountable to do what you say you’re going to do.
WHAT’S THE PLAN?
Writing down your dreams is a great start but nothing gets accomplished without a plan.
What are the steps you need to take to make your dreams a reality? Work backwards from the end result and write down everything that needs to be done.
Initially you can feel overwhelmed when looking at the list and that’s why we need to chunk it down in main sections before setting daily and weekly goals.
e.g. if you decide to live abroad there is quite a lot to plan for. Start by breaking it down into main steps or buckets of things to do:
- Planning: where would you like to go, how long for, do you need visas, how will you get there, do you have enough money, what happens to the place you’re currently living in, what happens to pets?
- Accommodation: where will you stay, if long term do you need to speak to real estate agents before you leave, what’s included in packages?
- Packing: what will you take along, will you pack light and buy as you go, take unaccompanied luggage or ship belongings over?
- Work: do you need to work while you’re away, what do you need to do your job, do you need to find a new job, do you have the right to work abroad.
There’s so much more I could add but you get the picture. There are a lot of things to do in each bucket, so now it’s time to chunk it down and schedule smaller monthly, weekly and daily goals in your diary with milestones.
Remember what gets scheduled in your diary, gets done.
Become aware of what might hold you back and what might stand between you and your dreams. Obstacles can include your mindset or everyday practicalities. List them out and come up with a plan to overcome each obstacle.
It’s never the perfect time to start a business, have kids, write a book or move cities or countries.
It’s easy to use one challenge or obstacle as an excuse when we’re scared.
Fear tends to be the #1 reason why we don’t take action towards our dreams – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of looking ridiculous and even the fear to be yourself!
4 Great Reasons to Stop Waiting:
- Tomorrow is not promised – things happen in the blink of an eye – let it happen while you follow your dreams
- Nothing happens until YOU take the first step – the Fedex guy won’t deliver your dream at the front door… unfortunately!
- Possibilities you cannot imagine are waiting for you – doors open when you take the first step
- And the ultimate reason – you’ll die happy and avoid the #1 regret of the dying: “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not what others expected of me.”
Find a way to make it happen.
ASK FOR HELP
Someone somewhere in the world has done something similar to what you want to do. Connect with people and tell them about your dream and ask them how they overcame their obstacles.
People know people and when you talk about your dream you might just find people who can help you with the next piece of the puzzle – advice, resources, money or whatever else you need to make your dream a reality.
e.g. I spoke to people who lived in Australia to get first hand knowledge of what it’s like and I asked for recommendations from where to stay, which doctor and dentist to use to where to do food shopping and which brands to use.
And it was a good friend from a previous workplace who organised an interview for me in Perth, that resulted in my initial work visa being organised.
This is by far the best way to shorten your learning curve and not reinvent the wheel.
If you can find a mentor or invest in a coach grab the opportunity with both hands – it will save you money, time, energy and lots of frustration.
Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.
Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.
~ LAO TZU
Which dream are you chasing at the moment? Leave your comment below.
Author: ALICIA MENKVELD Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.