“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
(guest post written by Eduard Ezeanu of People Skills Decoded)
I think that having big dreams is awesome. I also know that big dreams can be scary.
When what you’re reaching for is so far out there that you can barely see it, when it’s far bolder than what most people aim for, it can feel intimidating. You begin to second-guess yourself, to doubt your ability to reach your dreams, to wonder if you even deserve to reach them, and to feel really anxious.
Over the years, I’ve certainly set and followed dreams that were so big they were scary. At one point I wanted to have my own coaching business, to help thousands of people every year, to make a good income working only a few hours per day, and to be able to travel the world and do all sorts of crazy adventures.
All of that, I am living right now. I’ve made it happen. But when that dream first began to take form in my mind, it seemed so big, so bold and so far from the place I was in, that it generated a lot of nervousness and self-doubting in me.
In hindsight though, the crucial thing that permitted me to reach my dreams was the ability to pursue them and persevere in trying to turn them into reality, despite the fact they were so big they were scary. Based on this experience, I’d like to share with you a few pieces of practical advice on how to follow your own dreams when they’re so big they intimidate you.
How To Follow Your Dreams
1. Use the “Life Is Short” Mindset
Whenever I think about the notion that we have a limited and relatively small amount of time on this earth, it gives me courage to take more risks and aim big. The train of thought is that since life is short, I might as well make the most out of it, which entails dreaming big and taking massive action, even if the possibility of failure is present.
I think this is a great mindset to practice. Whenever you think about a dream of yours, remind yourself that life is short and look at it through the lens of this mindset. Your dream will still seem big, but now it will generate excitement due to this, not anxiety.
And excitement pushes your forward. So then you can leverage that excitement to generate a strategy for reaching that dream, and take action based on that strategy.
2. Detach From Your Dreams
I believe there is great power in wanting something, but at the same time, not needing it. This is an attitude of detachment. And it’s very effective because it removes the fear of trying to get what you want and failing, while maintaining the desire for it and the motivation to take action.
How do you detach from a dream you have in life? You think about it with the awareness that it would be great if you achieve it, but if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just something that happens, and it has no particular meaning.
As you do so you’ll notice your desire to reach that dream turn from a possessive, obsessive kind of desire, to a type of desire that’s clear, constant and combined with a sense of inner peace and joy. It’s a much better type.
3. Surround Yourself with Big Dreamers and High Achievers
The people in your life have a major influence on your attitude towards your own dreams. Because involuntarily, you’ll look at their dreams and actions for clues about what’s reasonable for you to aim for in life. Your dreams and actions will generally be about as bold as the dreams and actions of those you regularly surround yourself with.
This is why it’s important to surround yourself with big dreamers and high achievers. The big dreamers will reinforce in your mind the idea that it’s good to aim big and believe in yourself. While the high achievers will be constant reminders of how high one can soar in life.
Doing this may involve adjusting your social circle a bit; or perhaps a lot. You’ll need to let go of some people from your life or see them less frequently, while at the same time meeting new people that fit the profile you want and spending time with them. Both your assertiveness and your sociability will be tested. But it’s a worthwhile task, so get on it as soon as you can.
4. Concentrate on the Next Required Step
It’s good to take a good look at any dream you have and define it clearly. But at one point, you need to take your eyes off the dream, try to find the next/first required action towards it, and just concentrate on that.
If you look at your big dream too often, it will be a constant reminder of how much work you have to do to get there, and that can discourage you. So once you know where your dream is and you have your direction, put your attention on the driving. And just once in a while look up to make sure you’re on the right path.
But you want most of your attention concentrated and what you have to do next, not on the final destination. Focusing on action and noticing your progress will empower you, whereas looking and how long the reaming journey is will do the opposite.
I genuinely think that dreaming big is the only way to go in life. But it’s not enough to dream big. It’s essential to also plan well, take massive action and learn from your mistakes. Big dreams don’t just become a reality on their own.
On this entire journey, self-confidence will be your number one ally. So cultivate your confidence, dream big, and follow your dreams.
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Eduard Ezeanu teaches others how to be more outgoing and build great relationships, and helps them develop the confidence to follow their dreams in life relentlessly. You can read more of his articles on People Skills Decoded, his personal blog.