Have you been sitting on any big dreams?
Research shows that most of us are holding ourselves back from realizing these dreams because we are afraid to fail. Sometimes the worries or excuses are based on external factors; more often, they’re based on internal barriers that we’ve erected to protect ourselves from disappointment.
Yet to really accomplish something, it’s not enough to dream a big vision: you’ll need to get past those internal barriers and take systematic action to bring your goals to fruition. It takes boldness to take that next step, to put your dreams for your life and your business out there. Being bold and brave goes beyond words: it’s a mindset.
It’s time to go from dreaming to doing!
The first step in setting empowering goals—the kind that resonate at a deep and meaningful level—is to develop a vision. When I was first introduced to this concept back in the ‘90s, a vision was described to me as a picture of what success will be at a particular time in the future – it is the destination you’re headed toward. The goals you set, and your strategy for achieving them, are how you get to that destination.
Over the years, the vision for my life has changed many times. I’ve moved cities, Ive lived in a different country; I left a successful career to earn my MBA; I took time off to spend with my 3 boys; I reshaped my professional life to allow for more time with my family and a career that I love.
Every time that I revisit my vision for where I want to go, in life, I have to dig deep and be brave. Yes, there’s an element of excitement—the thrill of pushing the envelope, the joy of thinking about what would make me happy—but significant change has always been a bit overwhelming for me. That’s probably why I associate setting goals with being brave and bold.
Years ago, when I first started my coaching practice, the prospect of going out on my own was pretty daunting. I went through my visioning exercise, and I wrote several iterations before landing on the vision for my new life: a vision of helping people grow and develop to reach their maximum potential.
This vision speaks to working both with individual leaders and with organizations. It also inspires me to move forward, and it’s the base for all of my goals. From my personal development goals to my financial goals—everything goes back to this vision.
Letting yourself freely explore all that is possible, and then rooting those
possibilities in reality, can be frightening—but it can also be very empowering.
Moving past the excuses for why it’s not possible—concentrating instead on who, what, and where you want to be—helps to shift the focus from the impossible to the possible.
Setting a vision allows us to move toward the future we want, not just react to present-day reality. Developing strategic goals grounds our vision in reality and provides a measurable plan of how we’ll get there.
Over the years I’ve collected a few helpful tips on how to move from your vision to developing and achieving meaningful goals:
- Write out your vision, and stick it somewhere visible. Look at it when you set your goals.
- Once your goals are set, go back and check in to make sure that they’re aligned with your vision.
- Identify keywords or phrases that remind you of your vision (I refer to these as ‘anchor words’). They can be particularly helpful on days when things aren’t going exactly as planned and you need a reminder about why you’ve chosen this path.
- Break large goals into smaller milestone goals. Doing so will help you keep your momentum with ‘wins’ along your journey.
Deciding where and who you want to be in the future can be overwhelming. Once you set your vision, you can determine a strategic path with measurable steps that will help you find the way to your new reality; and crush your goals!
I’ll leave you with a powerful quote by Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
Heather Stark is an Executive Coach who helps people break through roadblocks, achieve personal and professional goals and unlock their maximum potential. She helps leaders lead change, and works with organizations to build strong organizational cultures. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a Certified Professional Coach with The World Coach Institute and a member of the International Coaches Federation.