In 1978 I was a happy 12-year-old growing up in a sleepy Southern African town called Bulawayo in what was then Rhodesia. In hindsight, those were strange times. I knew about the bush war raging in the countryside, but only really thought about it when father put on his uniform, left his business to be managed by others, and went off to serve in his role as a medic for several months. Understandably the last thing my parents or my friends’ parents had on their minds was telling us to dream, to think big, and to know we could be whatever we wanted to be.
The colloquial Afrikaans saying “Boer Maak a Plan” (Farmers make a plan), was as good as it got, and eventually quickly making a plan when things went wrong, coupled with an occasional whimsical short-term new year’s resolution, became a habit, and the extent of my workaround thinking big and trying to achieve.
The thing about habits is they are hard to break. No wonder Life happened To Me as opposed to By Me.
It took multiple crises in my transition (middle) years, and a need to guide the young adults in my own family, to slow me down, commit to learning and growing, and finally understand that a major element of Being Happy, and Building Momentum in my personal life and for my business, was Clear Focused Intention.
Clear Focused Intention requires that you take cognisance of your dreams, ideas, hopes, and wishes, then give them legs by refining a vision, and finally set the goals to make your vision come true.
You must dream, and you must do something about making those dreams happen. Dave Ramsey
Sleep Dreams, Ideas and Ideation, Hopes, Wishes, and Day Dreaming are what we are talking about. Daydreaming in particular is where the dots are joined, the aha moments come from, and the magic happens.
Dreaming only becomes an issue when you never do the best you possibly can to realise those dreams and ideas., when fear of hoping and being disappointed holds you back. Food does not end up on the plate out of thin air. You must get up, leave the cave, find the food, kill it, pick it, or buy it, cook it, then you get to eat.
The problem with dreams is that they are big, fuzzy, sometimes scary, and not clear. You need to put some meat on the bones of your dreams, even ones that make you feel uncomfortable and anxious, these are the lighthouse dreams that are shouting at you what to do – be grateful for the bad dreams.
Do not close your dreams down based on societal norms and the fear and experience of others. Break free, reconnect with the most honest version of yourself, and let go of the one the world convinced you that you should be.
If an idea is not absurd it’s probably not worth pursuing – Albert Einstein.
There are some simple ways to start getting clarity of your dreams and it usually starts with some appropriate Morning Rituals before the day carries you away. As dreams start to become clearer and you can relate them to 3 or 4 areas of your life, then I start calling them Visions.
We are blessed with a great deal of freedom in our society, something denied to many on this Earth, so dare to Dream!
The most pathetic person in the world is someone who can see but has no vision – Helen Keller.
People with no vision simply have jobs – even when they are the business owner. They are not going anywhere because they have forgotten or were never aware there is somewhere to go.
With no vision in an area of your life, you perish eventually in that area, with week vision you may not perish but you will surely suffer. Grab some vision for yourself, surround yourself with people who have a vision, and share your vision all the time.
Sit down with your partner, your kids, your friends, your colleagues, your staff, see where your visons have synergy and where there may be value conflicts, watch their relationships improve overnight and your ship start to move in the right direction. We start with a 10-year vision – far enough away to make it achievable and not near enough to bring up the fears of doing that we have not yet dealt with.
Without a good mission statement to anchor you, to remind you what you care about, (before you get back to being about it), you run the risk of getting to the top of the tree and realizing you climbed the wrong one. A mission can serve as your beacon when things become overwhelming and you go off track, something to bring you and your team back to the true course. The thing here is a good mission. Businesses that have lost their soul, their humanity, their real reason for being, can’t fix that by putting down hollow words for their mission statement.
It’s hard to sit and put words to who we are, what we are, it’s almost impossible if you don’t clarify your vision. But it’s hard before it becomes exciting and meaningful. The mission is also related to core values and conscious commitment to authentic leadership. To get this all down in a couple of simple sentences that have meaning – well again not easy, but so worthwhile.
Goals are Dreams and Visions with work clothes on. This is where things get tactical, and we move into the realm of getting stuff done. Goals force practical steps into your life and convert visions into energy.
Do not take goal setting for granted. Setting whimsical goals and positive thinking does not cut it, it is a hack that will not work.
Goals should be holistic and be set carefully and intentionally to cover all areas of your life, some of which you will instinctively know you are good at, and others which you will probably hate to look at. Everyone is like this, but you must be intentional and make the best effort in every area.
We like the following categories:
- Career, Work, and Business
- Money and Finances
- Faith, Belief, and Spirituality
- Health and Wellbeing
- Self Growth
- Love and Relationships
- Friends and Community
Goals that work at are always SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
It is also useful to differentiate between habit goals and achievement goals.
They must be in writing, and they must be “Your” goals.
You should also develop a system to review goals. The number one reason people fail to achieve their goals is a simple lack of visibility. In other words, they do not have a system for reviewing their goals regularly, so inevitably they forget about them.
Sharing your goals. It is important to share your goal-setting knowledge and goals with your family and business team. Part of leading oneself is a commitment to sharing and leading others to help them develop and grow. The spinoff is moving the family or business ship in one general direction. Drama is reduced and energy released for reinvestment elsewhere. Shared goals and transparency about value conflict areas create unity.
Having a dream, that moves to a vision, consolidated by a mission statement, and then is broken down into goals, is essential to building momentum and success in your personal and work life. Time to sit down right now and just do it.