Last week's post discussed lessons I learned in the process of living my dream, as well as those learned in hindsight. All things I would have found instructive had I known them at the beginning of my process. This week's post is about the process of preparing to realize your dream*--what I call the "getting real with yourself" assessment process. Honesty with yourself is crucial at this point to eliminate or limit issues you may face as you progress with your plans. It was during this part of the process that I felt most vulnerable to discouragement but driven to succeed.

It helps to begin by articulating your dream, determining if it's actually your dream or a dream someone else has for you, and then formulating a plan to realize your dream. What is the broad framework of the plan? What are the details? I found significant value in committing my thoughts to writing. Although my initial plan required revision as it began to take form, having it in writing helped me to get organized and visualize where I was headed. Some people like to create vision boards for this purpose.

Writing down your thoughts may also assist in determining what due diligence is necessary. For example, have others done what you want to do? If so, how? What research is necessary to facilitate your plan? What tools or skills are necessary to realize your dream? What is a realistic timeframe, some of the potential challenges, etc? Due diligence is important because it provides perspective on how much work will be required during the planting season--that is, when you begin to actually put your plan into effect. Some people get stuck at this stage due to the magnitude of their goals or dreams. The more they realize what's required they don't know where to begin. If that's the case, I say dream big, start small. While it's inevitable that you'll miss some things along the way, at this point you're just gathering information. Try to avoid taking on too much and becoming overwhelmed.

Finally, it's important to make an honest examination and assessment of your soil (your personal circumstances) to determine its suitability for the planting season. This includes your family situation, your talents and skills, doubts, fears, openness to change, ability and willingness to learn, resilience, influences, finances, commitment to your plan, etc. It's not about perfection. It's about knowing and considering how your circumstances may impact pursuing your dream.

The value of preparing for the planting season is that it gives you clarity on both your plan and your circumstances. It's important to listen and learn during this stage--even from those who may attempt to discourage or influence you. You will have to live with the decision you make, so make the one you are prepared to live with and accept the consequences. This might be a very emotional and time-intensive stage. Find encouragement (learning to encourage yourself is critical), enjoy the journey (don't get so bogged down in the process that you lose your joy and the excitement of your dream), be patient, find or create laughter where you can, and don't underestimate yourself. Be grateful for where you are now, for what you have, the challenges of this process that will help you learn about things, yourself, and others, and know that your journey will likely inspire you and others.

*For purposes of this discussion, when I use the word "dream", I'm including "purpose". For some people, their dream and purpose are the same. For others, they are different.

Ok, here's a little pep talk:


Denyce Holgate
01/31/2013 1:40pm



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