As a coach, consultant, online course creator, have you ever spent a lot of time and effort thinking about where you are now and where you would like to be in the future but shit starts to go sideways when you start dreaming about what you really want to achieve in your life, career or business and how you will get there?
You start to think about all the things you’ll need to become and do before you can follow your dreams and make that life you wish about become reality. You start to doubt if you have the time, skills or money to do it.
Maybe you shared your idea with friends and family and they tell you “that's crazy!” “nobody wants THAT!” or “I know you, you will never do what it takes to make it happen – you are not <smart enough> <driven enough> <rich enough>”.
You decide, “f**k it!…I will just go with the flow, let life lead me and enjoy the journey because everyone says life is not about the destination, it's about the journey!” So you tell yourself that you will figure life out along the way!
If that sounds familiar, I just want to say You Are Not Alone!
That’s almost exactly what I was thinking as I began navigating my life journey from surviving at home to thriving on my own.
Taking Action Aligned With Who You Are Is Required To Follow Your Dreams
I was 17 years old, just graduated from high school, dreaming of how I could have a life of adventure like I experienced when I moved, at age 13 to a big city on the east coast of the United States where I found my people who embraced me for who I was and experienced a life I never imagined was possible for me given my life circumstances. <who knew zipping off to the beach on last-minute weekend getaways is actually a thing?!>
After moving back to Canada at age 16, I wanted that life back but I had no plans for my future including no plans to go to school. Why would I go to school when I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Attending university seemed out of my reach at the time because it was expensive, a lot of work, intimidating and, <if I am being honest>, I believed I wasn’t good enough for that despite having two older brothers who attended.
So I got a job as a bus girl at a local restaurant. Well…let me tell you…that only lasted three weeks before I was laid off.
The Hard Truth About My Current State Situation
In hindsight that was a turning point in my life when I realized something needed to change if I ever wanted to follow my dream and create a different future than I had growing up. I realize now that I unconsciously told myself I never wanted to be in a circumstance where I wouldn't be able to support myself or my family without relying on assistance from the government or the generosity and kindness of others. I was determined to be independent.
Life’s Problems Are Opportunities In Disguise
In a recent podcast episode, James Wedmore talks about how it’s not easy to decide what you want in business or life. In fact, he talks about how every problem has an opposite, an opportunity. Being laid off is what created the opportunity for me to decide rather quickly that I was going to attend business college to become a medical secretary because I was skilled at typing and could see myself making a reasonable income within 10 months.
I didn't realize it at the time but this desire to be independent, live a life of adventure and be surrounded by people who loved me for who I am would serve as the strong vision of my future that has guided me to where I am today…
Listen For Opportunities To Adjust Course & Follow Your Dreams
As a coach, consultant and/or course creator, your dream has a way of guiding you in directions you will never understand until you look back at your journey and see the alignment.
It wasn't long before my job as a secretary wasn’t challenging enough and I thought the money I made wasn't giving me the future I dreamed of creating. I decided I needed a management job because I believed that was the only way I could have the financial security to support myself and my future family. I went to university, achieved a degree and after a lot of hard work and hustle, I had the management position, financial security and the adventure I wanted with my spouse and child. <but what if I hated my job?!>
Follow Your Dreams BUT Know Who You Are Before Growing Into Those Dreams
I actually wish I had known what the best future was for me when I was just starting to navigate my life’s journey because despite getting the results I wanted, I felt like I was up shits creek without a paddle. I didn’t feel like I was in control of my life. I felt like I was giving my paddle to other people who were guiding and steering my canoe.
In 2009 I discovered a free online training that Oprah offered. It was called Take Control of your Life and Career and was led by Marcus Buckingham.
It was all about the importance of aligning your work with the things that energize you, your strengths as discussed in the Clifton Strengths.
Brightline’s comprehensive system for business transformation also confirms aligning an employees ‘aspirations with an organization’s north star’ is an important aspect of an organization’s transformation.
The Brightline transformation compass describes the north star as “A crisp, inspiring articulation of the vision and strategic objective for the transformation.”
Self-Education Is The New Norm
After the training, I knew my job was not in complete alignment with who I was and the strengths I was given. I was determined to find a career that would not only pay me for the experience and skills I had built but enabled me to leverage my strengths. I was determined to work with people that appreciated the things that came easy to me and the unique value only I could add.
I didn’t know how I was going to make that happen other than I knew I wanted to focus on helping organizations grow and transform using the business analysis skills I had gained from implementing software that enabled business processes.
I decided to follow that feeling I had in my gut and found a graduate program that was mostly online. The Royal Roads Master of Business Administration program offered a specialty in management consulting which takes IT business analysis to the next level. Taking a program designed for working professionals with instructors who continued to work in their field of expertise started me down a path of embracing a new way of learning.
Little did I know that one strategic goal I created to align how I am paid with what I love to do would take me on a 10-year journey of growing personally, developing my leadership skills, and equipping my journey with the people, processes, and capabilities I needed to move into the next chapter of my life. A chapter that focuses on helping you reduce the time it takes for you to follow your dreams and get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow.
As a coach who aspires to be an online entrepreneur like you, I want to help you follow your dreams and achieve the results in life you want. Here are the 4 steps that have helped me follow my dream and stay focused on creating my best future over the last ten years.
4 Steps to Follow Your Dreams
Step 1: Clarify Your Destination
- Have a clear idea of what success feels like for you in 5, 10, 15 or more years into your future. What do you want to say that you have achieved?
- Know why reaching that destination is important (to you, your family and/or your customers)
- Be aware of what might be stopping you from reaching the destination (aka: your goal)
- Ask yourself how you might overcome those challenges so you can identify strategies that will move you ahead one step at a time and connect your team and customers with your vision.
Step 2: Chart Your Course
- Based on where you want to go, choose the best path that will get you one step closer to your destination.
- Create a plan that will help you ensure the actions you take along your chosen path help you get the results you want.
Step 3: Equip the Trip
- Be aware that where you want to go will require you to grow because your dream is a size too big.
Be open to changing how you think and act– because what got you where you are today will not get you where you need to be tomorrow.
- Master the art of self-leadership – more specifically self-discipline, consistency, and commitment
- Identify the right people, processes, and systems that will support you on the journey and help you determine what adjustments are needed to the plan based on lessons learned or opportunities.
Step 4: Adjust the Plan
- As things change in your life, your business or in the world around you, recognize that you will need to adjust the path…or sometimes the path adjusts when life throws you unexpected curveballs.
- Do not change the destination. Instead, adjust the plan and stay focused on reaching your destination.
One Last Thing … Your Dream Matters
Are you chasing your dream and feel stuck?
Have you given up on being able to follow your dreams?
Have one or more of your dreams come true?
Don’t let your dream die inside of you! Believe you deserve your dream. Follow your dreams and love your best future that YOU create as a result!
I would love to hear what your dream is and how you are navigating your life journey! What’s worked well for you and what could you adjust for it to be even better? The lessons you’ve learned on your journey may be exactly what someone else needs to overcome an obstacle standing in their way of moving forward. Comment below and let us know.
I believe dreams are achievable goals that are realized when navigating a strategic and purposeful journey.
As a strategic project leader, I work with business leaders to design strategy execution systems and processes that translate their organization's vision into expected outcomes, one strategic goal at a time.
As the CEO of Navigate Your Life personal development, I am passionate about preparing young adults boldly navigate a life and career uniquely designed for who they are while developing the strategic thinking, project management and leadership skills their life and future projects demand. Visit www.mariannebell.ca for more information.