How To Be A Dreamer And A Doer At The Same Time
You know what's hard? Taking action.
You know what's easy? Adding to your inspiration board on Pinterest, writing down your goals, talking about your dreams, scrolling through Instagram to look at people who are following their dreams, reading blogs about how to pursue your passion — and the list goes on.
If you're an avid planner like me, before you take action, you have to determine the end-game from the start, consult everyone close to you about whether it’s a good idea or not, create an excel spreadsheet about all the steps you need to take to accomplish your goal, day dream about what life will be like when you do achieve your goal, and then take a nap because you're so exhausted from overthinking.
Sooner or later, you'll be an expert napper with a 17-tab excel spreadsheet and have made ZERO progress on your goal. That's been me for most of my life (and tbh, sometimes still is — I love to nap).
Recently, I got sick of it and decided to start taking action.
If you have goals like me, but feel like you're getting in your own way, read on.
Here are 5 tips that help dreamers become doers:
1. Get comfortable with uncertainty.
Confession: Uncertainty is something I struggle with every single day. From big things, like not knowing if your job will be secure in six months, to little things, like not knowing how traffic will be on the way home — it sucks to not know what the future holds.
I've obsessed over it for many years, trying to overthink and predict my way into certainty. It never works, and it ends up making me anxious, unengaged, distracted, and fearful.
I have to tell myself to surrender and let go multiple times a day. A few mantras that have helped me personally:
I release all fear-related thoughts and feelings and replace them with confidence and courage
I take a deep breath and release all stress with my exhales
I trust how things unfold in my life
I relinquish control and choose to completely surrender to whatever life will unfold for me
No matter what happens, I remain calm and centered
I believe in my ability to figure things out
2. Be resourceful.
The Internet is a powerful thing. There is so much free information out there, it's almost impossible to use "I don't know how to do that" as an excuse.
I've mentioned Rachel Hollis in previous blogs before — she’s a great example of someone who was and is extremely resourceful. If you listen to her podcast or read any of her books, you’ll learn that she essentially built a multi-million dollar business with a Google search bar, and I'd venture to say you could do the same (and so would she).
There are so many things I don't know how to do and want to learn, and there are so many resources (both free and paid) that can help me get there.
Between sites like Udemy and Lynda to your local library and, yes, Google, getting started on your dream or goal has never been easier.
3. Plan, but not too much.
While it's no secret that planning is essential to accomplishing your goals, at a certain point, you just have to do. It can be impossible to know what the end game looks like, and even if you think you know, it will probably evolve over time.
I recently listened to an episode of NPR’s podcast "How I Built This" about Stacy's Pita Chips (which are delicious by the way). What is now a multi-million dollar company started as an outdoor sandwich cart. While running a sandwich cart in Boston, Stacy and her business partner would bake leftover bread at the end of each day (what eventually became their famed pita chips) and hand it to people waiting in line (for free). Once she realized the demand for this baked carby deliciousness, she started selling them for $1 a bag.
Believe it or not, running an outdoor food cart in the bleak of Boston winters became increasingly challenging, so she decided to wholesale the bags of pita chips through Stacy's Pita Chip company. Nine years later, she grew the company into $65 million in revenue and sold it to PepsiCo.
Needless to say, being a dreamer and a doer means you have to find a balance between planning and going with the flow. You never know where it'll end up taking you!
4. Take action.
I've tried every motivation tactic in the book, from putting inspirational sticky note quotes on the mirror to tracking my goal progress in apps. You can do all these things, and they may be helpful, but I quickly realized that at the end of the day, you just have to DO.
Write one more word, run one more mile, take one more class, send one more email. Although these little actions may not seem like much, if you do them repeatedly, you're chipping away at the block.
I constantly have to remind myself to take the right next step. Then the next one, then the next one…
5. Fail more.
Being excited about failure is so counterintuitive to human nature. It usually results in shame, vulnerability, and low self-esteem — all feelings that will make you want to throw in the towel.
Read: Thoughts on Overcoming Perfectionism
I recently saw a TEDTalk about the benefits of celebrating failure. It made me realize just how reluctant I’ve been to try new things out of fear of failure. With that, I've recently started to reframe the way I view failure. Rather than saying and thinking “I am a failure,” I try things like, “This is a learning experience,” “This keeps me humble,” “This is getting me closer to what’s next,” and “It will be that much sweeter when I do succeed.”
Let's just say this: If you have big dreams, you better get comfortable with failure now. Hey, next time you fail, maybe you should just pop some champagne. Just saying...
What are some of your favorite motivation tactics? Drop them in the comments below!