You want to dream. And you want to live your dreams.
But what’s the first step to doing so?
With all the possibilities and things you could be doing right now, how do you know what you should be focusing on?
I hear you. It’s confusing. In fact most people are so paralyzed by all the options they have, that they stop right there. They never get moving towards their dreams.
They fail before they had a chance to start.
I have noticed this happen again and again and it’s time to change that. You deserve a real chance to create the life of your dreams.
You might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now, not sure where your focus should be and what you should be doing. Maybe you’re not even sure what the life of your dreams looks like. Heck, maybe you don’t even have a single dream that’s crazy enough to give you butterflies and get you excited.
Don’t worry, we’re going to address all of that today. We’re going to talk about a process that you can use to go from confused and lost to clarity, focus and action.
If you don’t have a dream yet, we’re going to find one for you that will be most beneficial for your life right now.
If you have a dream but feel like your life is getting in the way all the time, this process is also for you.
The tool we’re going to use to make the magic happen is called: Awareness.
Yes, awareness baby.
Let’s put it this way: Living your dreams is not a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s a lifestyle.
It also doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The world goes on regardless of your new decision to rock your life from now on. It might still throw
shit penguins at you.
You have to be prepared. The first step is to be aware of the gap between your current situation and the life you want to live.
So whether you’re still brainstorming on what you want to do with your life or already have an idea of where you’re going, you have to take a close look at your current situation.
When you know where you are and what your current situation is you’re empowered to make plans and goals to reach your vision.
The state of your life revealed
It’s time to take a real look at your life and find out where you’re at.
You’re gonna see the bad and the ugly, the things you’d usually sweep under the carpet before anyone can see them. Well, this time we’re gonna roll up the carpet, hold our breath and inspect the dusty stuff we find.
Don’t you run away yet! This is also the time to look at all the brilliant things in your life, the shiny and the beautiful.
We’re gonna take a look at all of it. Because this is the crucial first step to living consciously.
You can’t work on something you don’t know about.
The 8 step process to move from confusion to clarity
So how are we going to achieve awareness? With this 10 step process I’ve come up with for you. Yes, for you baby! So do me a favor and go through it. I guarantee you that it will help you understand your situation and give you a whole new look on your life and your dreams.
After going through this process you’ll know the gap between where you are and where you want to be and you’ll have the first steps figured out to get you there.
To make things easier for you I’ve also created a workbook to help you go through the process. All you have to do is subscribe to Bright Little Socks and you’ll get it delivered straight to your inbox. If you don’t wanna do that, you can still go through the process on your own, it’ll just be a little more work for you.
Ok, are you ready? Hold your nose and let’s dive deep under the carpet.
Step 1: A snapshot of your current situation
The first step we need to take to gain clarity on your current situation is to divide your life into some areas that we’re going to take a close look at.
Make a list of areas that seem to make sense for you. Some people like to use a short list that includes mind, heart, body and spirit, others prefer longer ones. Choose what works best for you.
Then create a list of all these areas. Yes, include ALL areas. Don’t exclude any area from the list just because you know you won’t be pleased with what you find! You hear me? Otherwise I’ll be in your head yelling and screaming at you like a ridiculous high school teacher. Kind of like this, you know?
So be honest. To make it easier for you, here is an example list that I like to use. It includes:
Work, financial, relationship, home & family, physical health, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, character, contribution and fun & adventure.
I got this list from Mr. Steve Pavlina. He taught me the first few steps of this process and he’s the one who inspired me to create this post and workbook for you. Reading his stuff it was got me onto my journey. Cool dude!
If this list is too long for you, feel free to shorten it, but remember, don’t exclude any areas just because you’re scared of them!
Take a picture, baby.
Write a few short paragraphs for each area of your life, thinking about how you’re doing in each area. Again, it’s crucial to be honest with yourself. Fill in as many details as necessary, but don’t overdue it. Write until you feel you have a good snapshot of each area.
Step 2: Rate yourself
Rate every area of your life. Give it a number between 1 and 10 with 1 meaning that area of your life is horrible and couldn’t be much worse, and 10 meaning it couldn’t get any better, you’re completely satisfied with it.
Step 3: Identify your area of focus
Take a deep breath. Take a look at what you just created.
It should be pretty easy to identify the areas that you should be focusing on. There’s no way around it. If you’ve rated your work with a 1, you can’t deny that you could be doing better here.
For example when I did the exercise for the first time 6 months ago, my finances were a poor little 2. I was a broke college student, had no income and was dependent on my parents’ financial help. Up until doing that exercise I had always denied the fact that I really needed to work on my finances, even though I had been constantly moaning about being broke before.
I had achieved the clarity I needed to make goals and plans to improve my finances.
Now I’m taking small steps every day to become an entrepreneur and achieve financial independence.
You could say that the awareness I had gained through this simple exercise has changed my life. But only because I was willing to turn that clarity into action.
Without action, insight is useless.
How will your life change once you’ve gone through this exercise? Probably a lot.
The good news is that it’s almost impossible to not change once you’ve consciously noticed that an area of your life is lacking behind.
Women rarely say “My relationship sucks. I’m bored, he has smelly feet and the sex is bad.” and than go on to marry the dude.
Once you’ve mustered up the courage to take an honest look at your life, you’ve taken the crucial first step to realizing your dreams.
Now it’s important to take the boatload of clarity you have just gained and turn it into action.
Step 4: Create a vision
Picture your ideal situation in the area that most needs your attention. If you knew you could not fail, what would you do to improve your situation? Write it down in as much detail as you like.
This step will help you create a vision that will inspire you to move forward.
Imagine this area to be one that you’re proud of, completely satisfied with and that’s in tune with who you are or want to become.
This vision might become a little (or big) dream itself, it’s the ideal picture of your life in that particular area.
This step is crucial as it will get you fired up and show you were you want to go. Without it, you’re most likely not going to take action or if you do, your action will be chaotic and not lead to the results you want -because you don’t know what you want.
So create your vision. Take your time and write it down until you’ve created an image in your mind that makes you hold your breath and your heart skip a beat. It needs be inspiring. Breath taking.
If it isn’t you won’t be inspired to take action.
Be careful though. There’s a mistake here that most people make. I’m definitely guilty of this one. Say you choose to improve your financial situation. Don’t write you being a millionaire lying on the beach all day. Most likely that’s not what you want. It’s what pop culture makes you believe you want. It’s the standard answer most people would give.
But that doesn’t mean it’s for you. You might be happy with 5 grand a month. Maybe less. It doesn’t matter as long as you create a vision that belongs to you and resonates with you.
That’s what we need in order to get things moving.
But we’re not finished yet.
You’re right smartie-pie, the dotted line on your road map, the path you need to take to go from your current boring situation to the rockin’ and breath taking vision you just created.
But wait, you’re moving a little too fast, honey. It’s time to chillax a bit.
Step 5: Chillaaaax…
Yes, this process is so awesome it even allows you to have a coffee (or better yet a smoothie) break.
You have done a lot of work already and I’m proud of you. Let’s give your brain some time to digest the new and see how it copes with it.
That doesn’t mean that we’re getting lazy, it just means that we’re giving ourselves some time to deal with the big amount of insight and clarity we’ve gained in such a short amount of time.
You might casually think about your vision every now and then and that’s fine. If an idea or inspiration hits you, jot it down. But don’t overdo it, we want to let all the insights sink in to make sure we don’t take action in a rush.
Step 6: Make a plan
All right, you’ve had your smoothie and your brain is charged and ready to go back to work.
Time to make a plan.
What do you need to do in order for your vision to come true?
Brainstorm your possibilities. What is the next step? You don’t need to know all the exact steps to get you from here to your vision just yet.
In fact it’s impossible for you to know all that from the start. Trust good ol’ Steve Jobs with his theory on this:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
There will always be a bit of uncertainty.
Still there are things you can do right now. It doesn’t matter how small or big these are.
Write all these steps down. If you don’t know what the best next steps are, ask someone who has successfully done what you want to do. If you want to make a living dying yarn, don’t ask your dad about it, ask someone like Stephanie Alford who is successfully doing it. If you want to travel the world, don’t ask your room mate who has never stepped foot out of the country who will think you’re nuts, ask someone like Colin Wright and find out how he has done it.
Got that? Ok, now that you have a few ideas and next steps, pick the one that you think would have the biggest impact. Commit to doing it. Take action now.
Sign up for a course, buy a book, do whatever you have to in order to get things rolling.
Just DO it. No excuses.
You can have the most beautiful plan laid out, without action it’s worthless.
So get off your butt and do what you have to do. Remember your vision. Remember why you’re doing this. Then do it.
Step 7: Take consistent action
It’s not enough to make one step ahead. There’s plenty more to do.
Realize that small daily habits are far more powerful than bursts of work on occasion.
So take the next steps. And then the next. Keep going.
Create daily rituals and habits to make sure that you do things that get you moving towards your dreams.
And then, take the last crucial step…
Step 8: Keep going
When you feel like giving up and are close to diagnose yourself with madness for having thought you could do this, feel the fear and fight your way through it.
Don’t let any bumps in the road lower your commitment. Think about your vision again if you need some motivation.
And if you come across a problem or a hurdle that seems to much for you to handle on your own, reach out to me. I’ll do whatever I can to help you rock it. Seriously, if you ever feel lost or uninspired, contact me via email or twitter. Seriously, let me help you out!
Download Your Free Workbook
Let me know how it turned out when you’ve gone through the process. I’m here to help
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- Why You Need to Live Your Dreams to Make Your Life Meaningful (spoiler alert: you will die)
- How to Do What You Love, Change the World & Get Paid to Do it
- 10 Life Lessons Learned on a Trip to the End of the World
- What to Do When Everything Plain Sucks: A Gentle Suck-Day Survival Kit
- The Beauty of a Morning Ritual: How it Can Help You Get Your Joy Back
- Burnout Is Not Cool. I Know You’re Serious About Your Dream, But Stop Killing Yourself Over It.
- Listen to your intuition. It trumps your rational mind.
- You can’t skip the fucking journey (& why I haven’t been blogging as much)