Turning dreams into reality

Most of us dream of building a better life for ourselves, and I was reminded this week of how to turn those dreams into reality.

On Monday I received an e-mailed request from someone (we’ll call him Bob) wanting more information about our sales training programs. I thought the name looked familiar, and  out of habit, I searched LinkedIn to see if Bob had a profile. Sure enough he did, and it turned out that Bob was actually a participant in one of our earliest programs back in 1988.

When I called Bob, I asked him what prompted his enquiry after all these years. It just so happened that his boss had asked him to look into possible training programs for their sales team, and Bob immediately thought of Delaine. During the course of our dialogue, he told me a story about his life.

“I’m a member of the local chapter of Toastmasters,” he told me. “Last week it was my turn to give a presentation, and as part of my presentation, I decided to share with the group the Master Dream List you made us complete in the program we did all those years ago.”

Bob told me when he read the list out, they all laughed at some of the things he’d written down. However, he was proud of how many of the dreams he had actually accomplished, and he encouraged the group members to each compile a list of their own.

I encourage you to compile your own list now, as Bob did so many years ago. Even if you’ve already compiled a list, now’s your chance to review and add to it as well

Here’s what you do: take a blank sheet of paper, and write: “Master Dream List” at the top. Now let your imagination run riot and list down anything and everything you want to do in your life but haven’t yet accomplished.

Write down anything that comes to mind – any wish, want, or desire, regardless of how ridiculous, childish, or unrealistic it may seem now. Nobody else is going to see this list (except maybe your partner or spouse), so let yourself dare to dream, and dream big. Don’t be practical or logical, and don’t make any judgements about what you write. Whatever you can imagine yourself doing, or want to do, write it on your list.

Pause now in reading this blog and go and do it. Make up your Master Dream List right now.

Okay – hi, welcome back. You now have your own Master Dream List, and you can turn it into your personal Instruction Manual for Your Life by converting each item on your dream list into actual SMART goals. For those who haven’t heard this term, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time related.  Some of your goals will be immediate, some will be short term, and some will be long term.

Does turning your dreams into goals guarantee you will accomplish them? Of course not. But according to the Harvard Business School you are 50% more likely to achieve a goal when you write it down, and 93% more likely to achieve it if you turn it into a SMART goal.

I compiled my Master Dream List 28 years ago, and I revisit it from time to time to check on my progress. I haven’t achieved all of my dreams yet, but I have accomplished a great deal of them (e.g. driven a Jaguar). Over the years I have added some new ones (e.g. spend a week on Nevis every winter), and I’ve crossed some off the list because I will never achieve them (e.g. scoring the winning goal for Manchester United in the F.A. Cup Final…well, on second thought, maybe I’ll still leave this one on the list, you never know!). One thing I do know, though, is that without having put that list together, I would not have accomplished half of the things I actually have.

The earlier in life you compile your Master Dream List and convert it into your personal Instruction Manual for Your Life, the more you will accomplish and do with your life.  Try it – it works!

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