You have a big dream. You don't know how to get there, yet. Last time you focused on learning what it is going to take to make your dream a reality. What do you already know? What is there yet to learn? You set goals to close that learning gap. Since I am a fan of learning by doing, this step often overlaps with the next step I am going to talk about, Launch. It is time to take concrete action that moves you forward. Put the learning you did in the previous step to good use.
It is worth noting, that while I laid the steps out in a logical order to move through, you may find yourself needing to revisit previous steps in order to make progress. So far we have gone through: Look, Listen, Learn. For example, you may find yourself getting stuck because you aren't clear on your dream. Then you need to go back to Listen to clarify the picture of your desired future state. Or, you may realize that there is something in your environment holding you back that you need to address and find yourself looking at your life once again. It is entirely appropriate to revisit previous steps and allow them to overlap. They are not exclusive from one another. They are a guide for moving your dreams forward.
Now into launch. You begin launching when you have closed enough of a learning gap to start actually doing. It may be tempting to stay in the learning phase for longer than necessary. I encourage you to move into launch quicker than you may feel comfortable. That is because I don’t want you to stay stuck in the learning stage just because it’s safe and easy. If the thought of launching makes you nervous, good! It means you are stretching yourself and are growing. In order to move your dream forward you need to be bold and courageous. Perfection is a common ailment you need to cure yourself of or you will be in perpetual misery. Nothing is going to be perfect from the start. Make it happen as flawed as it may be. You can always go back and adjust. Have a bias for progress moving forward even if it is just tiny little steps.
Make sure the dream is written down and preferably include a picture of what the desired future state is. This is very important because without a clear picture, it will be easy to get distracted. The picture motivates you. As you recall, your dream is big, but your goals are small. Next, start on the goals that are necessary for you to make your dream a reality. I encourage you to break them down into min-goals and build a habit of doing at least 1 thing every day that moves you closer to achieving your goal. If you do that, one year from now you will be 365 steps closer to your dream than you are today. That is where you start, with 1 action every day. After you create that habit, and you have the discipline of looking at your dream every day and consistently doing your action step, add another action. You can likely do 2 things every day that move you closer. If you can do 2, how about 3? Maybe you have time to add more. The secret is in the consistency, not the size of the steps. Being consistent over time with little actions is more impactful than trying to take 1 gigantic step. If your dream is to write a book and you have never done it before, you can't expect to sit down and write a novel in 1 day. However, you can sit down and write every day to start the habit. Gradually, you can increase the time you dedicate each day to move you closer to your goal.
This dream you have for your life, if big enough, is likely out of your comfort zone. It is something new and a little scary. This brings me to the next critical aspect of launch and that is documenting your successes every day. You don't have to "Dear Diary" every evening. I suggest making a list of things you accomplished or learned and what you did to make it happen. The last piece is linking your accomplishment to an emotion. How did completing that action make you feel? It is important because emotion is a powerful motivator to keep moving forward.
I like staying positive because it gives energy to the immense amount of effort necessary to achieve your dreams. The reality is that you are also going to have days where you take steps backward and even perhaps fail. Document that as well. Don't obsess over it, learn from it and keep moving forward. If you have been following me on social media, you know I am a huge Disney fan. I love Disney for many reasons, but one is of the inspiring story of Walt Disney's determination and courage in spite of numerous failures. Walt Disney was fired as a cartoonist because his editor felt he had no imagination or good ideas. That is just one of the many set-backs Disney faced including going bankrupt multiple times. The message is don't let set-backs steal your momentum and stop you from pursuing your dream. Learn from it, adjust as needed and keep going! Take it from Walt Disney, "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." Keep on your path. Keep moving forward.