The New Year is often filled with new opportunities and a fresh perspective on life and business goals. Now is the perfect time to start making your goals a reality. Moving from dreams to reality is an elusive concept for people in general. Winning in business starts with a winning mindset. And, “If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big,” as suggested by Real Estate magnate Donald Trump. Let’s get started by learning to think big, take your dreams and turn them into reality.
Step 1: It Starts with a Dream
A dream is defined as:
A hope or wish for something in the future such as a desired situation or the acquisition of a particular object or goal.
Every great leader was, in fact, a great dreamer. No successful company ever started without a dream [hope or wish] for the future. So, why don’t most people dream anymore? If you ask many people about their dreams – they don’t have an immediate answer. Why? Somewhere along the way they may have listened to “well-meaning” individuals and embraced self-imposed limitations. Dreams are the fundamental building blocks of great success. “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. [T.E. Lawrencce]“
Step 2: The Creative Force of Imagination
A dream coupled with imagination is powerful. Imagination in its simplest form is the ability to form mental images and concepts in a moment when they cannot be perceived through sight, hearing or other senses. Imagination is the work of the mind that helps create. Moving from a dream to creation is the next step. An entrepreneur’s ability to dream and then start the imaginative process of creation is a powerful tool. What would you do if you had no ’perceived’ boundaries such as lack of time, money, skills etc.? Creativity in business knows no bounds or limits. Start imagining what ‘could be’ and approach your New Year’s goals with solution-based scenarios.
Step 3: The Spark of Genius … An Idea
Many people are waiting for that next great idea – the thing that will take them from the life they are living to the life they want. An idea is defined as something, such as a thought or conception that potentially or actually exists in the mind as a product of mental activity. This is the brilliant thing about ideas – they don’t actually exist yet. They start in the mind [dreams] and as a product of mental activity [imagination]. So, ask yourself? If you refuse to hope for your future and form mental images [envision your hope brought to life] then why would you expect to stumble upon the next ‘big idea?’ But once you make a decision to start dreaming and tap into your imagination — ideas will soon follow. And when you have an idea in your grasp, don’t delay — take action.
Step 4: The New Year’s Goal Conundrum – No More Excuses
In retrospect, I often wondered why I had set goals and not actually met them a year later. It wasn’t until I understood how to systematically approach my goals that I begin to win in life and business.
Learn to source the origination of your goals. It is likely that they came from a dream, creative imagination and an idea [Steps 1-3]. A goal is defined as a projected computation or a system of plans that one intends to achieve. They often appear to be giant leaps when in reality they are small, consistent, daily steps that march toward an intended purpose. Goal setting starts with specific, measurable attainable and time-targeted objectives. I have found one of the most effective ways to activate goals is to use a mind map.
Step 5: Mind Map Your Reality
A mind map helps you to get an idea out of your head and make it concrete. It’s a simple diagram in which you can write down a central idea and brainstorm new and related ideas which all develop from your central idea. Mind mapping is helpful because it will help you to build an outline, solve problems and make your ideas tangible. There is no right or wrong way to mind map. A mind map can be developed to suit your personal style. To get started:
- On a clean sheet of paper jot down your main business idea on the center of the page and circle it.
- Draw several connecting links radiating from the center outward and start to think about ideas related to your new idea and write down associated keywords.
- Show association of keywords and images to specific ideas and continue to branch out.
- Assign numerical order and hierarchy to each idea that stems from the central idea.
Step 6: Goal Setting Using The Mind Map
Once your mind map is complete it can be used to develop a goals list. Your goals list should:
- Include specific statements targeted towards the central idea and associated ideas surrounding it.
- Be measurable. For example, instead of “I will attain new clients this upcoming year.” Instead, your goal should be measurable, “I will attend 4 networking events per month [1 per week] and make at least 5 business connections per event and follow-up within 24 hours.”
- Contain ideas on who can help you along the way. Some goals are not attainable by singular effort therefore, think of the type of people you need to enlist to help you meet a specific goal.
- Attribute time targets to each goal. Time targets should include a start and end date alongside short term [weekly and monthly] and long-term [annual] goals.
A mind map is filled with dreams, creativity and ideas … the stuff that goals and reality are built upon. Once you’ve created a mind map and used it to set smart goals you are ready to activate your plan. This doesn’t mean that obstacles won’t present themselves but when they do, repeat the process – start dreaming.
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