Daring to dream is one of the ways we can bring our goals to fruition. Picturing your life going as you’ve always wished or envisioning that one thing you’ve long wanted to accomplish can be quite motivational. It can also be overwhelming. Believe me, I know. Last week, I shared a bit about a big dream of mine that I recently recommitted to: leveling up my coaching knowledge and practice by becoming ICF (International Coaching Federation)-certified. ICF certification had been a dream of mine for years and even though– through my numerous other coaching trainings–I’d acquired all the tips, tricks, and tools that I’d use to coach someone else through tackling a big dream like that, it still felt overwhelming! (Yes, even us coaches struggle to apply our knowledge and training to our own lives and goals sometimes!)
Through all that time that I held on to my credentialing dream, I worried about whether and how I could make it happen. Coaching training and credentialing requires a substantial investment of both time and money, and I often got “stuck” on these barriers–how would I make it work, financially? How would I juggle the time required for training and documentation of coaching experience hours with my full-time day job in a gratifying-but-sometimes-demanding leadership role at one of Chicago’s leading community development organizations? And even if I could balance work obligations and my coaching professional development, would it leave me any time for my family?
Reflecting on all these doubts and worries now, I realize that to a large extent they all boiled down to one emotion: fear. One of the biggest killers of dreams is fear. We often let fear keep us from dreaming or the memory of past failures hold us back from setting our sights too high. This type of limitation can become a pattern. In order to live the abundant life you desire, it’s important that you’re not afraid to dream big. Visualizing and shifting my perspective are two tactics that have helped me push through those fears and doubts and dream big.
Your Thoughts Are Powerful
What you think is what you become. That’s a popular saying based in reality. While it may seem like merely wishful thinking to believe you can achieve great things simply by envisioning them, there actually is some science to the matter. Visualizing what you desire in life and actually incorporating small details into this picture is quite powerful when it comes to your brain chemistry. Visualization has been shown to have an effect on neural pathways and connections. I have a vision board that’s helped me tremendously, both with making my goals and dreams a bit more tangible and with staying on track to tackle them. I typically first spend time really brainstorming about my goals and dreams, and then I find images that reflect those and pin them to the board. But it doesn’t stop there. I have my vision board in a place where I can see it regularly and I revisit it at least quarterly when I’m checking in on my goal progress and planning out my action steps. If you repeatedly see yourself accomplishing something or obtaining your deepest desire, your brain will start to believe that thing is real. You’re more likely to act it out in your real life.
Your Perspective Changes
As you allow yourself to dream bigger, your perspective starts to change. Whereas you may have been a bit of a naysayer in the past, you now start to think more positively. That’s because your focus has changed. You no longer see things from a limited point of view. Instead, you see the big picture. You’re now able to look at life more realistically. You may have thought you were being realistic before, but what you were really doing was keeping yourself stuck. When you didn’t have dreams, your world was automatically smaller.
Now, however, you can actually see all the potential of what the world has to offer. Simply by shifting your mindset and daring to think bigger, a wealth of possibilities is now open to you. You’re no longer living in a state of lack. You’re able to actually visualize what your life could be like, and this vision provides the motivation to consider what else might truly be possible. You’re open to the idea of self-improvement in order to get to where you want to be. You’re no longer stuck in the same old rut.
Applying the “Dream Big” Mindset to your Everyday Life
Of course, we have to be real, too. Dreams don’t magically come to fruition overnight and we still have our everyday constraints–money, time, etc.–to deal with. A vision board isn’t going to change the fact that we need money to pay our bills, for example, but dreaming big and visualizing those dreams might help you think creatively about different ways to make that money or changes you might be able to make over time to shift your income and expense needs. Refocusing on and visualizing my coaching-credential dream sparked me to think that maybe there were resources out there to help coaches defray the cost of training/certification, and that was the first step in my research toward eventually finding Coaching for Everyone, which helps make coaching training and certification pathways more financially accessible.
You’ll see that lots of new opportunities can exist for you simply by dreaming. You’ll find yourself working proactively and productively toward your goals. In fact, once I recommitted and started dreaming big about my certification journey, I found it inspired me to keep going–I couldn’t stop dreaming big and ultimately also launched and began to grow my business, Mission ENSPIRE.
In addition, you’re likely to seek out other “dreamers-to-doers” who are making things happen in their own worlds. All of these small changes you’re making will begin to add up to big things. Just wait and see what happens when you’re not afraid to dream big.