“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” - Audre Lorde
The last couple of months may have presented a time for reflection. You might have found yourself asking what you should do next. If you've lost your job, experienced burnout, or lost interest in your direction, you might be searching for a new venture. Perhaps you’ve had an idea in the back of your mind for a long time but have been too afraid to act on it.
Whether you’ve lost your job or want to leave your job, it’s common to dream about doing something new, different, or extraordinary with your life. What is the vision you hold in your mind when you daydream? What are your ideas for making your life more enjoyable or fulfilling, and what holds you back from exploring them? Does fear hold you back from taking your ideas to the next level? If you have an idea to do something with your life, now is the time to act. In fact, there is no better time than now.
The best antidote to fear is action. Taking action doesn’t have to mean dropping everything to make room for your dream. It also doesn’t have to mean doing everything all at once to make it happen. Taking action can take on different forms. Here are a few tips on taking action to help you launch your vision into reality.
1. Write it down. Write it down. When formulating an idea, the first step to bringing it to life is writing it down. How do you feel when you see it on paper? How do you connect with it? If you feel intrigued or excited, that’s a good sign to explore your idea further. It’s OK to feel fear and doubt, too. Feeling fearful or doubtful is part of the landscape when you get out of your comfort zone and step into new territory. Just don’t let it stop you.
2. Identify your “why.” Write down the reason why your dream is important to you. Every idea, goal, and dream is more powerful when there's an important reason behind it. Your reason should explain why you believe in your dream so much. If you didn't believe in it, then you wouldn't believe in the effort to make it come true. So, ask yourself what you would get out of making it come true. Would it raise awareness to an important cause? Would it help you or others heal? Would it finance your child's college tuition?
In other words, it is one thing to tell someone to do something, but it’s more important for them to understand why they should do it. For instance, you can tell a child not to touch the hot stove. But, explaining how they could get seriously injured or how much pain they would feel as a result of touching the hot stove is more powerful. Therefore, you are more likely to achieve a better outcome.
Connecting with your why will motivate your actions. When you connect with your why, taking action will make more sense. In fact, every action step you take will be more meaningful to achieving your goals. When you believe in yourself and your vision, others are more likely to believe in you and your vision, too.
3. Say it out loud. Expressing your vision out loud helps bring it to life. Start by sharing your idea with someone you trust. See how it feels to say it out loud. Then, repeat it as often as you can to connect with it and refine your vision. Once you've shared your vision, it can take on a whole new meaning, direction, and life! Note that it may even change or evolve over time as well.
Note how people respond when they hear your vision, too. The people who know you the best will be the most honest and straightforward with you. Those who respond positively will believe in you and your vision. Therefore, they will be your biggest source of support to help you fulfill your dream. They will also be your greatest source of encouragement to motivate you to keep going when you need it most.
Who you surround yourself with can impact your success. Share your ideas or vision with only those you trust. Believe it or not, not everyone wants to see you succeed. Therefore, when you're looking to make a big change in your life or venture on a new journey, share it with only your biggest supporters. This will help limit your exposure to negativity. Positive people will build you up and build your momentum to keep going, while negative people will hold you back.
4. Research. Learn as much as you can about launching your vision. Are there others who have been successful at doing what you hope to accomplish? Nowadays, the internet makes doing research so much easier. Find out how others got started, and find out what your vision could look like once accomplished. Also, find out what challenges they had and how you might be able to overcome them. Prepare when you can, but don’t let this step scare you off either.
5. Set reasonable goals. What do you hope to accomplish with your new idea? Identify the goals you wish to achieve by bringing your vision to life. Write down some measurable goals that let you know when you have made progress. Are you looking to make a difference in your community? Are you looking to create a new brand? How much money are you looking to make? What would your accomplishment look like once you’ve achieved it? Also, how would you feel once you’ve achieved it? Lastly, how would your life be different? Your goals should be clear and specific. They should also include timelines and other ways to quantify your achievement.
6. Create doable action steps. Once you’ve identified your goals, you may feel overwhelmed with achieving them. To help put your mind at ease, tackle them one at a time. Start by working your way backwards to create doable action steps. Every goal can be cut up into several bite-sized pieces. Bite off only as much as you can chew before taking another bite. Eventually, your action steps will take you closer to success.
7. Track your progress. Journal as many of your action steps as possible. Also, record your list of achievements along the way, no matter how small you think they are. Your track record will not only help identify areas to improve, but it will also help you see what you've done right. When you get overwhelmed with how far you have to go, reviewing your journal can make you feel better about the progress you’ve made. Your achievements will also motivate you to keep going. It can also show you where you are most successful. From this list, you might come up with other ideas.
8. Just start somewhere. It’s easy to get caught up in the details. You can also get caught up looking too far down the road toward the finish line. Both can be overwhelming. Therefore, both can create so much anxiety about “getting there” that you run yourself in circles or simply don’t even start. As a result, you might also stop and start many times in the process.
I remember when an old boyfriend taught me how to swing a golf club. Amazed by my swing, he said I was a natural. While his positive feedback made me excited for my potential, it also triggered my perfectionism. As soon as I started overthinking my form to hit the ball off the tee, I froze. My boyfriend said I had analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis means that you get so caught up in the details of the process, that you cannot move forward. Instead, you become “paralyzed.” In other words, you can become so afraid of making a decision or taking a step forward because you fear it’s not good enough, that you end up doing nothing instead. As a result, you delay the process or stop altogether.
Life is a journey. Striving to achieve a goal is another journey within your journey. You won’t have all the answers, and you don’t need to have all the answers from the beginning. It's all part of the process. So, don’t focus on being perfect. Perfectionism slows or paralyzes movement. Focus on making progress instead. Progress creates movement. Mistakes are bound to happen. In fact, they're proof that you’re trying! Trying is doing, and doing is achieving, even if you’re not quite there yet. Let your mistakes teach you the lessons you need on your journey to building success.
9. Practice Positivity. Pursuing a new endeavor, stepping out of your comfort zone, and taking a risk requires courage. Cultivating a positive mindset is your most powerful weapon in fighting fear, uncertainty, and any self-doubt that could interfere with your ability to take action. Positive thoughts trigger positive actions, which ultimately lead to positive results and outcomes. Therefore, surround yourself with people who lift you up and support your goals and dreams. Join networking groups, read articles, or watch inspiring videos where people who've achieved their own goals motivate you to take positive action toward yours.
10. Practice self-compassion. When you find someone who has achieved a similar goal, it can be overwhelming to see everything they had to do to get to where they are now. Don’t let it scare you off. Focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t. If it’s too difficult for you to see what others have accomplished, simply don’t follow them. Stay in your lane and focus on your action steps until you feel more confident and comfortable with your progress.
If you haven’t achieved your goal or made your dream come true, it doesn’t mean you won’t. It just means you haven’t yet. Therefore, practice self-compassion. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, take as much time as necessary to build your success. Rushing won’t necessarily create a better result. Your dream is worthy of the time, effort, and energy it will take to make it come true. Being gentle and kind with yourself will keep you interested, engaged, and motivated to keep going.
Your dream is just on the other side of fear. If you want to conquer your fear, then sitting at home or lying in bed thinking about it won’t do it. Lean into your fears by taking action, then lean back and enjoy the ride.
Now, get up, get out, and get going, my Pineapple.
Live, Love, and Lead with Aloha.