Read this first…
This post is meant to inspire a possibility of what can be, if you so choose. Focus on the principle and apply it to any part of your life where you feel this would and could make a difference. On the flip side, reject any idea in whole or in part that doesn’t fit the vision you are looking to create. Also, please treat misspelled words gently. It’s damaging to their self-esteem when they are told they are wrong.
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The big miss…
I’m going to be extremely transparent with you today as I share my vision for my future. My reason for sharing is to simply demo how I am using this very shift in my own life RIGHT NOW and to illustrate why this shift is ESSENTIAL to YOU if you are hoping to create a different outcome in some area of your life that you are currently not satisfied with.
So let me start by identifying a major flaw many of us make when we are attempting to create shift in our life.
We have no BIG vision of where we really want to go.
I think there are a few reasons for this. First, many of us have never been taught how to make the seemingly impossible, possible. Second, we have been conditioned our whole lives to be “practical,” whether from our parents or the education system that trained us to “follow the rules.” Third, dreaming big scares the crap out of us either because we will swing and miss or we might actually get what we want and won’t know how to deal with that success we thought we wanted.
But the biggest reason I think we avoid dreaming big is too save ourselves from the ultimate rejection and disappointment we might feel if we don’t achieve our desire.
I don’t know about you, but I can definitely relate to that last statement. Here is a peak into how I used to think.
The mindset of mediocrity…
Back when I was in university (where I studied the fine art of drinking beer out of a funnel), I was applying for a job to be a floor Don in the residence I lived in (kind of like the Godfather, but the “family” you are in charge of is always drunk and seldom wakes up before 2pm).
Essentially, I would be responsible to make sure law and order was kept on the floor.
While waiting for my interview, I happened to be standing with a buddy of mine who was also waiting to be interviewed. We were chatting about a bunch of things and somehow we wandered into the topic of interview philosophies.
I asked him how he prepared. He said he approached every job with the intention that he was going to GET IT. He would prepare long in advance. Do would research the company and the mission. He would come up with answers to all the possible questions he might be asked. He would interview present or former employees to find out more about what made the company tick. And he would ask people in the town what their impression was of the company.
What was more interesting was what happened if he didn’t get the job. As he described it, “If I didn’t get the job, then someone else simply had a better interview than I did.”
I was blown away by this, more so because I was embarrassed by my approach to interviews. I had such low expectations which included things like; don’t pass gas, make sure my zipper was up, and to keep my hands dry so it didn’t seem like potential employers were shaking hands with someone who was wearing wet mittens.
But worst of all, I ALWAYS assumed I would NOT get the job. That way when I didn’t get it, I would not be disappointed.
Dreaming big for the first time…
It’s funny how life finds unexpected moments to us teach things we need to know. That random encounter with my pal taught me a lesson that might well have been the second most important thing I have ever learned. (#1? Put the damn toilet seat down when you share a residence with females.)
It transformed me because it was the first time I realized I could get more out of life by declaring what I wanted as opposed to putting out vibes of the very thing I didn’t want.
So let’s flash forward to 1990. I have just graduated from teachers college (where I might add I did not learn a damn thing) and moved to Toronto to find a teaching job. As it turned out, a really awesome school that was about 5 minutes from my apartment was hiring.
I had also discovered (by chatting up the secretary) that they had already interviewed 34 others and I was the last one they were going to interview. They decided to interview me because I had written this really creative cover letter where I talked about a physics principle-the transfer of energy- and how it applied to teaching.
As I walked to my interview that day, I vividly recalled that conversation with my buddy a few years before. And I can tell you exactly what my internal dialogue was as I walked.
“I AM GOING TO GET THIS JOB!” And I did. It was the first time I had dared to dream big and it worked!
Why declare what you want?
As I mentioned above, there are a bunch of reasons why we don’t declare what we want. But to help you embrace this concept and it’s absolute importance allow me to frame it with this analogy.
Think of the art of dreaming big like a puzzle. The picture on the box is the vision or the dream of what you are daring to create. The only difference is your box currently has no pieces. The pieces are “out there.” They might be resources, ideas or people you need to find, but they ARE out there waiting for you to discover them.
But you can’t find the pieces you need until you declare the vision you want. And that’s the rub.
Most of us avoid creating any kind of vision so we won’t once again experience another failure or letdown. The problem with this thinking however is that when we don’t declare a vision we don’t attract the resources that we most need.
5 steps to dreaming big…
I have identified 5 steps to this process that I will share, but I will do so within the context of a big dream I just set for myself. I believe transparency is a MASSIVE part of teaching people effectively, so I am going to let you in and see how I am applying this in my own life right now.
Step #1: Declare your vision
Three weeks ago I launched my podcast to simply see what would happen. Little did I realize that I would discover that I absolutely love it, nor did I realize this would be the thing I would build my business around.
I talked about that in my previous podcasts, which you can subscribe to —> here, if that seems a little cryptic to you.
I have now released 4 podcasts and have been watching my stats (number of podcast downloads) to get some sense of how they are doing.
Based on those numbers, I have decided to declare a vision that seems completely IMPOSSIBLE to me (and I am sure to you as well) at this point in time.
My podcast vision…
This is the vision I declared for myself yesterday.
To have a podcast network that is impacting so many people that I am averaging 1,000,000 podcast downloads each month.
Is this outrageous? Abso-freaking-lutely!
Before I go any further, let me share my current download stats so you can see just how outrageous this current vision is.
So my podcast officially launched on Tuesday, May 22nd. I had absolutely no idea what to expect because this was all so new to me. So I decided to simply yet the numbers tell the story. Here is a breakdown of the chart above…
Week #1 download totals…
Daily download average for week #1 = 345/day
To be honest, those numbers are really good for a new podcast, so I was really pleased and it was then that I began to dream a bit. I thought it would be great if I could do this for a few months and eventually get to an average of 500 downloads/day.
Well that happened in week #2.
Week #2 download totals…
Tuesday: 623 [this has 8 days due to the delay of my 3rd podcast because I forgot to record it. DOH!]
Daily download average for week #2 = 677/day
As you can see I easily beat that goal that I thought would take a few months to attain. So I thought I would dream a bit bigger. I set my sights on averaging 1000 downloads/week. To be honest, I had no time frame on this, but again I figured at least a few months.
Well I reached that goal in week 3.
Week #3 totals…
Daily download average for week #3 = 1127/day
Here is what has happened this week since podcast #4 was released.
Week #4 download totals…
So as you can see from the numbers, declaring 1,000,000 downloads/month is crazy at this point in my journey. AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE THE DECLARATION!
Step #2: Don’t worry about the hows
The reason most of us don’t dream big is because we are so damn practical and realistic. Those are dream killers because they confine our vision and narrow it to something that becomes very very ordinary.
So how did I come up with 1,000,000 downloads/month. Because it seems IMPOSSIBLE.
Do I know how I am going to accomplish this? For the most part, NO! I have no clue. But I’m not going to worry about the hows because I know if put it out there and show up every day and keep working at it, the answers will begin to reveal themselves.
Step #3: Review the dream daily.
I actually started doing this last week. I write in my journal every day and start each entry with this sketch.
I chose the word network because it reminds me of television and the fact that major networks have more than one show (yes it’s true ). The word network encourages me to THINK BIG, to not limit myself to the opportunities that could exist.
Step #4: Search for evidence
Just because nothing is happening doesn’t mean nothing is happening. There is an art to identifying and finding evidence that most people don’t see. It’s the same whether we are trying to lose weight, attract love or earn more money.
If we are putting positive stuff out there, then stuff is happening, we just need to dial in our vision (like a microscope) to see what most people don’t.
This is a seldom used skill that can be sharpened with practice.
Step #5: Add your puzzle pieces
I said above that when you dream big, you have no pieces in your box. You actually have to go out and find them (step #4) and then begin to add them to your box and carefully begin to assemble them.
Pieces come in all kinds of forms. They can be thoughts. They can be people. They can be blog posts. They can be podcasts. They can be resources.
One sign I got last week was in the form of a FastCompany blog post on someone who has built a podcasting empire. This came shortly after I started sketching my notion of an MSH Network. I added that piece to my puzzle. I went a step further and contacted the guy from the article in the hopes I can skype with him for a few minutes and pick his brain on what he did and how he did it.
I also found an article about director Kevin Smith and how he states that podcasting has saved his career. I am now using Smith as one of my case studies and carefully following what he is doing as he builds his podcast empire.
The answers are beginning to show themselves and my puzzle is beginning to take some shape. Yours will as well if you can begin to put these steps (or your version of these steps) into practice.
So the question is, “How can you apply this idea to your life?”
If you want to change how you look for instance, then start by dreaming big. What do you want to look like. Don’t be conservative. Set the bar high. Dream big. Trust that the answers will reveal themselves to you.
How about the ultimate career? What does work that you are passionate and excited about look like?
How about your life? What’s your vision of the perfect day?
Imagine if you took the one area of your life that is giving you the greatest challenge at this time and dared to dream big and showed everyday to work on that vision. I wonder what answers you might attract if you dared to do so?
To making shift happen,