Achieving Your Life's Greatest Dream
By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano
What is your life’s greatest goal? Your shoot-for-the-moon and reach-for-the-stars kind of dream that would top the list of all of your greatest accomplishments once achieved?
Perhaps it is running a full marathon. Or to see the world. Or maybe becoming a millionaire tops the list.
Or, if you’re like 4/5ths of the population, you have a life goal to write a book. According to a recent survey, an astonishing 81% of Americans “feel they have a book in them – and that they should write it.” That’s more than 265 million people with 265 million stories that could make 265 million books!
However, there’s another statistic that accompanies this one: It’s estimated that less than 1% of the population actually has.
Similarly dreary figures follow the goals we listed above, too: less than half of 1% of the population has run a marathon, nearly half of Americans have never left the country (and 13% have never even left their state), and less than a tenth of the adult population will ever reach millionaire status.
The conclusion from these stats? For many people, this type of lofty life dreaming remains just that – a dream.
Here are the top 5 reasons people fail to achieve their dreams, and tangible steps you can take today to get on the other side of the numbers:
You wait until you’re ready. But, in the words of Lemony Snicket, “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” There will always be excuses to put off what’s hard, to avoid leaving our comfort zones, and to procrastinate ideals that will push our boundaries. However, if you really want to accomplish your life’s greatest dream, start today. Set a timeline with due dates and check-ins along the way. Then, share your calendar with someone who will hold you accountable!
You think you don’t have enough time. However, that’s the funny thing about time: you’ll never have more of it. Time is finite, and you must steward it strategically in order to pursue your dreams. We all have the same 168 hours in a week, so what are you doing with yours? Audit your calendar for the next week, and note where you could be devoting time towards your dream.
You’re afraid of failing. Perhaps Jim Carrey put it best when he once said, “Many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.” Or maybe Randy Pausch’s words will strike more of a chord: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” Many people’s biggest brick wall is the fear of not getting over it: What if they train for a marathon but stop short of the finish line? Or write a book that nobody will publish? If you find yourself staying in your comfort zone out of a fear of failure, take a note from author and investor Tim Ferriss and attempt “fear-setting.” Make a list of what you are afraid to do, and then write out the “worst case scenario” and how you would handle it. Tim advises how this method led him to tackle tough challenges, which resulted in some of his greatest rewards.
You fear change. Change is hard. And when it comes to accomplishing your goals, change is inevitable. You’ll have to change your routines, your habits, your priorities, and your mindset. You may have to change your career, your friends, and your surroundings, depending on what your goal is. However, on the other side of change are your dreams. Just like time, change will happen whether you want it to or not. The difference in success or failure comes in how well you embrace, utilize, and even seek out the different, often uncomfortable seasons that come your way. Take the reins of your own life and identify one change you can make this month that will set you up to have a better chance of reaching your dream.
You’re waiting for permission. Finally, many goals never reach fulfillment because people are waiting for the go-ahead. It’s proven that the majority of successful people have a strong internal “Locus of Control.” In order to gain back the power in your own life, you must first identify where you fall on the “Locus of Control” spectrum. Do you believe you have the power to control your future, or do you think you’re more of a bystander who waits for things to happen to you? Start by taking the questionnaire developed by Psychologist Julian Rotter here.
So, whatever mountain you want to climb – literal or metaphorical – you must start somewhere and we at The Joshua Group would love to help be your guide! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help us help you achieve your life’s greatest dream!