This post is the fifth and final in the Summer Dreamin series. I want to focus now on the tenacious chase of your dreams. How do your really “get-r-done,” when it comes to big life goals. How can you stay focused on the longer horizon but take small but real steps each day?
When I approached these questions, I found four immovable factors. In summary:
DREAMS + TIME + MONEY + COURAGE = Your Life Goals Achieved
Let’s walk through this simple equation.
Essential #1: Focused Reflection to inspire
Since most people don’t have clear goals to begin with, the starting point for achievement is the ongoing journey of reflection. Not just a casual or soft kind of reflection that the word often connotes, but an intense, energetic, everything’s-at-stake kind of reflection. Figure out the ideal time, place, and tools that you need to uncover the patterns of what God is doing in your life. Where does he want you to go next? The greatest secret for this step, is what I already discussed in the second post, writing your goals down in a place that you will revisit. Here is a solid post on 5 Ways Journaling Can Make You More Productive.
Dreams get clarified only through focused reflection
Essential #2: Long-term Scheduling to accommodate
What is the farthest in advance that you have ever scheduled anything? What kind of horizon are you living with every day? A few weeks, months, or years? Your willingness and ability to organize your time in the future, will play a crucial role in personal vision planning. The cool thing is its easy to do. I usually will take a 2 hour segment, once a quarter (usually on a plane ride) and push the envelope on how far I am planning. Do all these plans happen? Of course not! The main point is to get you thinking and to break the tyranny of today.
There are three things to schedule. First, is your time for focused reflection (Essential #1) The second is preparation time for some of your buck-list items. The third is the time for some of the events, trips, etc., that are the goals themselves.
Time is secured primarily through long-term scheduling
Essential #3: Values Prioritization to resource
The third essential is money. That’s pretty straightforward, right? Your goals will require resources. Surely some goals will have no direct connection to money (like spending some special extra time, one-on-one with your kids.) But most of your goals will have a financial factor.
Your enemy then is the unintended leaks in or sloshy handling of your money bucket. Now I certainly realize that different folks have different amounts of cash with which to work. But everyone has the opportunity to align the allocation of their funds with their personal values in order to fulfill their goals.
I live in the Clear Lake area of Houston which attracts a myriad of recreational boaters. I am not a boat guy myself. But what I have realized over the years, is that passions for boating can be expressed at all different income levels. Within minutes of my house, I can drive by million dollar properties with gorgeous yachts, or mobile homes with boats that cost as much as the home. Or, I can find people whose boat is their home. My point is not everyone has an equal opportunity to have the biggest boat, but everyone has an equal opportunity for perfect alignment of their resources and goals.
Money is allocated ultimately through values prioritization.
ESSENTIAL #4: Repetitive Risk-taking to commit
The fourth essential swings away from the concrete aspect of cash, to an intangible quality of the spirit. The greatest limiting factor in the end is not time and money, but courage. It is downright uncomfortable to do things you have never done before. The path of predictability is more attractive then we realize. That’s why it’s important to take risk-steps; small ones at first will develop your appetite for bigger ones. It’s amazing to feel your risk tolerance grow over the years!
A simple example is the bucket-list trip tot Santorini that triggered this blog series. There were several factors that added to the risk of this trip included the financial instability of Greece. Part of me kept saying, “Do this at a later time.” Several people discouraged me from going. But I had carved out the time and I knew that delaying the trip would be an opportunity cost for other bucket-list items. So I took the leap, and I am really glad I did.
What’s keeping your from checking off that next item on your bucket list? What routine are you not willing to break. Whose opinion is weighing to heavy on your decision? What area of your life are you paralyzed like a six-year old boy on the edge of the high-dive?
Courage is developed practically through repetitive risk-taking.