Are you a dreamer? I am. I’ve been one for as long as I can remember. For some reason, I think it gave me perseverance, and it helps keep me positive. When I was little, perhaps older than I’d like to admit, I believed that wishes and dreams would come true. I thought that they would come true if I made a wish before blowing out my birthday candles or if I got the “wish chip” (does anyone else remember this? The folded chips?). I also wished on a shooting star, threw a penny into a fountain, and even blew on old dandelion seeds.
Did my wishes ever come true? Not really. Mostly because they were ridiculous (I recall wanting to marry more than one famous person back in the day). But I never gave up hope, instead I tried to work towards them.
Having dreams can lead you to take risks you may not usually take. I desperately wanted to be a ballerina from the time I was three. I was willing to give up a lot to get there. But after being turned down twice from the National Ballet of Canada, I had to move on at some point and work on other dreams.
Here are some ways you can try to turn your dreams into a reality.
Think positively. By choosing to take a positive outlook, you see life as filled with possibilities and solutions, which can go a long way in helping you achieve your dreams. For example, question negative thoughts. Stop and evaluate whether it’s true. If you think things always go wrong for you, think back to a time when something went your way and focus on that. Keep thinking that only good things can come of what you’re trying to do so even if you can’t realize your full dream; you did try. A lot of people don’t even get that far.
Focus. When you focus on your dream, you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Take time to write down the goals, barriers, and strategies you will use to find solutions when problems arise. Picture yourself as you would like to be in one year. Set up a plan for your dream that includes short, medium and long-term goals. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just a few bullet points; but this way if you go off course, you can quickly get back on track. Ask someone you trust to review your plans and offer some suggestions that you may be able to use.
Try to adapt. Sometimes things pop up that are unplanned, but preparation will help you respond better. If something stands in the way of your dream that you didn’t expect, pause before reacting. Understand that there are many solutions to any given situation. Try to identify and deal with fears when facing new and intimidating situations. One way to help you do this is to bounce ideas off of someone who has opposite views from you to see how they would react. And we all have at least one person in our life that we disagree with on many things!
Get organized. Organization can help you take structured approaches to managing the surprises. Plan, set priorities and take action to help you achieve your dream. You can do this by taking the time to think something through before starting it and list the main steps you need to finish it. Keep a schedule to track and remind yourself of the important things that will get you there. Remove things that distract you from your dream. Break down a problem into smaller pieces and then tackle the easiest one first.
Be proactive. Think and act ahead of possible events that can impact your dream. Take planned risks and apply lessons learned from past experiences to similar challenges you face. You can do this by developing plans for handling the worst-case scenario that might come up. Know who you can go to if you need help solving something stopping you from achieving your dream. List pros and cons to make sure you know all of your risks. Get as much information as you can before going for it.
Even though people will disagree, I think being a dreamer is a good thing. Never give up on something you may be able to achieve. And possibly more importantly, if you’ve never experienced the wish chip phenomena, next time you see a folded one … make your wish!