Big dreams are awesome.
Visions of sugarplums and 7 figure businesses are grand.
Imagining yourself doing BIG things to change the world and make it better for kids or animals or immigrants or whatever are very worthy.
But changing the world is NOT for sissies – you have to work to make the visions real.
I hate to be Debbie Downer, but those effing sugarplums you’ve painted into the future in your mind—they ain’t real.
No matter what the gurus tell you – visualizing doesn’t make it so.
Taking action makes it so.
Here’s a story of two clients. We’ll call one Mary and one Susan.
Mary came to me two and a half years ago with a vision of a book she wanted to create. It was a more than ambitious undertaking and it was going to stretch her beyond belief to make it happen. Mary spent a few months waffling and whining and blaming others for the reasons this book couldn’t happen. She felt certain that she had to “figure out” all the fine-tooth details BEFORE she took any action. I spent those same months challenging, cajoling and all but FORCING her to take action and start the project. She did. The books are rolling off the presses as we speak.
Susan came to me three years ago with a very clear vision of a retreat center she envisioned for people and their animals who were in need of hospice for end of life care. She had specific experience tied to the work she wanted to do to help people and animals and she had a contingent of supporters who were both astute at fund-raising and managing large projects. Susan spent several months with me writing down and committing (in word) to take action to make the retreat center a reality. Yet week after week, she came to me with excuses why she hadn’t made the phone calls or followed up with the corporation that had asked to see a prospectus (they wanted to donate a large sum of cash). Susan’s project is still a beautiful vision – and it’s still in her head. During our time together we addressed the idea of addressing her fear, but she insisted it wasn’t fear – it was just “logistics.”
Thus the ballad of Mary and Susan.
Fast forward to present day.
Over cocktails my friend and I were talking about her vision for building a community of healers and women and writers. She’s been talking about this vision for several months now. She has a full-time job and admits it’s a scary idea to cut off the benefits and the cushy salary. “After all, unlike most of my friends who are entrepreneurs who haven’t made a nickel in their businesses, I don’t have a trust fund or a husband who is willing to support me while I get ‘up and running.’” (Which, by the way is one of the BEST ways I know to kick a dream into action — the REAL need for REAL cash!)
I asked “What have you done to put the foundation in place?”
She responded by telling me more about the dream and the vision – and really, it’s a doozy. I told her I’m in – I’ll participate once the place exists.
Again, I asked, “What do you need to do first to make this real?”
Again, she talked about ideas and concepts.
I finally said, “This is never going to happen unless you act like it is going to happen. In reality. You have to create a structure and start building. From the ground up. It’s often boring and always hard work, but it’s the only way things come into being.”
That’s when she called me the Queen of Tough Love.
Because she’s brilliant and funny and smart and actually has a great vision and I’d love to see it become real. Not just in her head or heart but real-real. Y’know?
If you have great visions and dreams and ideas and concepts about your business (or what you want to be your business) and you haven’t got a clue where to start, try this: Act AS IF you were the owner, creator, proprietor of this vision of yours. Get up in the morning and pretend you are building this dream and act as you would, if it were true.
It’s like a grown up version of “pretend” (one of my all time favorite games, for better or worse, by the way).
Pretend you are the funny, quirky, creative passionista running the writer’s workshop you’ve been dreaming about. Scope out the site, write a few outlines of the workshop, put together the workbooks and write out point by point the outcomes the attendees will have when they leave. Contact whomever you must have on your team to make the dream a reality. Start pretending that you are in charge of your dream and see what unfolds.
A caveat: do not play the grown up game of “but HOW?!” simply jump in and play “It is.”
What about you? Can you pretend? Have you gotten disillusioned by the vision and mindset crowd because you haven’t figured out how to take action?