We often hear the phrases “the sky’s the limit” or “dream big,” but how often do we actually pursue those dreams? The reality is that many people have big dreams in the back of their minds, but they think their dreams are too unrealistic or unfeasible to even take seriously. As a result, the majority of people settle for a career or a way of life that they may not particularly love, but that allows them to live comfortably and pay the bills.
Anyone who has ever made a big impact on the world started with one important thing: a dream. Martin Luther King, Jr. exemplified this in one of the greatest visionary speeches in history. At the time, his dream seemed like an uphill battle, too, but he did not let that stop him.
A dream is a vision of how you desire the future to be. After coming up with a clear vision, you need to take steps every day to make it a reality. Here are 7 powerful practices you can use right now to start living out your vision:
- Be BOLD. Don’t let fear keep you from having a big vision. Visions are meant to be the ideal scenario, consisting of everything you desire. So when you’re creating your vision, remind yourself that anything is possible. If you dream small, you will only be able to get small results.
- Be intentional. You need to incorporate your vision into your everyday life as if you’re married to it. Try to keep it on your mind as much as possible. One helpful tip is to change your passwords to align with your vision (e.g., If your vision includes you going to Europe, you could make your password an affirmation like “IamgoingtoEuropeinJuly.”
- Make it real. This is where you throw away any doubt you have and declare your vision. Write it down and even set a date for when your vision will be a reality. If you want to lose 15 pounds, write down the exact day you will achieve that goal. If you want to quit your job and move across the country, write down the day you will do both. You need to have a clear goal to start if you want to achieve it.
- Support it. When you start to follow your vision, voices of doubt will pop into your head. You might think these are the voices of reason and practicality, but they will do nothing but hold you back from following your vision. Don’t listen to them. Talk to yourself as if you’re talking to your best friend who is following her dreams. Would you tell her “You can never achieve that, where will you get the money? What about your job?” or would you encourage her along the way?
- Hold the vision—let go of the “how.” When you have a vision in mind, you might find yourself questioning how? constantly. “How will I get enough money to move there?” “How will I get rid of this illness?” The how is not important because life will show you that things do happen in mysterious ways, often unexpectedly, as long as you have confidence in your vision. So be open to all possibilities and stay the course.
- Own it. Whatever you do throughout the day, act as if your vision is already happening. Take a moment to think about how you would feel if your vision came true: would your outlook be different? Would you interact with people differently? How would you carry yourself? Then, try to embody that feeling. Talk as if you’ve already made plans to move to where you want to move. If you want good health, act as if you overcame your illness and are completely healthy.
- Experiment. Try out these practices on a smaller scale for proof that it works. Create a vision for a week or for 30 days and follow these steps to make it a reality.
Here’s an example of a time I implemented some of these steps to make a vision come true, without even realizing it…
My senior year of college, I knew I wanted to go on a cross-country road trip after graduation. My vision was bold: I would drive from Pennsylvania to California and back by myself, taking about 3 weeks total. I told everyone about where I was going to go, and talked as if I had it all planned out; in other words, I was intentional, always keeping it on my mind. I made the trip real in my head by saying I would do it right after graduation. In reality, I had no idea when exactly I would go or how I would even get around. Graduation approached and I asked my parents if I could use their car, but they said it was too old for that trip. At that time, I ignored the voices of doubt that popped into my head and supported my vision. Without dwelling on the how (“how” will I do it without a car?), I held the vision and remained confident that soon I would be cruising to California. I even made plans to visit friends in different states; I owned the vision.
A day after graduation, my friend told me his friend had a car I could borrow, and was willing to let me use it for a full 3 weeks, despite the fact that he had never met me. Before I knew it, I was driving across the country visiting all the states I had hoped to, exactly as I had envisioned.
Always remember: if you can believe it, you can achieve it.