I sat up when saw this missive. It was scribbled on a social media post. I can’t find the source, but it truly impacted me: We all understand that time is precious, but it rarely sinks in. We know we have a limited time in any relationship, job or situation. We realize we will all die some day.”
But, we also think that the end is really, really, really, REALLY far away.
For me, it was the thought that one of my dream projects would not get done. We all have those, the inner dream we keep putting off, thinking that we can start it “soon.”
My dream project has a shelf life. I had kind of started working on it, but not in a truly dedicated way. When I saw the quote, it was like a lightning bolt hit me. I knew immediately that what I wanted to do was really going to take several years to accomplish. I needed to start taking action, IMMEDIATELY.
That didn’t mean that I had to drop everything and devote myself to this project. It only meant that I had to actively start working on it. And that’s what I did. I got back on track.
The danger we all face is complacency, of falling into a sense that we have time to act. We fill it with work and other activities, but not with real action. We keep running in the wheel without getting anywhere. There is a difference between doing things and taking real action. Real action is tied to moving a specific goal. It has structure and purpose. It is results oriented.
My question to you is, what dream are you keeping tamped down? We all have dreams, things we want to achieve. Whether its about your personal development (getting a degree, for example), getting a better job, moving to another city, touring the world, starting your own business, starting a nonprofit or something as simple as buying a car, you have a dream.
It really doesn’t matter what the dream is. Start on it TODAY. Draw up your plan and start working on it. Be mildly relentless. I say mildly because it should not be done to the exclusion of everything else. Your dream is part of you entire life. Your life is not just the dream.
What is often overwhelming about a dream is that it seems like we’re trying to build a giant mountain. But, you don’t build it all in one fell swoop. You build a mountain the way you build a house, one element at a time. You build a mountain one rock at a time. You keep working on it on your schedule. You decide what the schedule needs to be.
Still, there has to be a sense of urgency. Find a way to remind yourself of the different steps you have to take to get there. Whether it’s calendar reminders, sticky notes, a note on your bathroom mirror or even having someone else remind you every so often, just make sure there is a way to remind yourself to stay on track.
One caution. Don’t work on too many dreams. It’s fine to have more than one dream. Even Elon Musk understands his own limits. While he has many brilliant ideas, he doesn’t work on all of them at once. He has more ideas than he knows what to do with. On the other hand, he also has more money than he knows what to do with, and still keeps focused on a limited number of ideas at a time.
So, what is your dream? When will you start on it? If you don’t do it now, it will die when you do.