Last week’s post entailed listing 100 dreams. The large number was meant to encourage you to stretch your mind and your memory to capture all things, big and small, that you wish to accomplish. This month, pick five of those dreams that are small dreams. By small dreams, I do not mean insignificant, but rather dreams that can be accomplished with only a small amount of planning or financial commitment. For example, one of my 100 Dreams is to visit Wave Hill, a garden in the outer boroughs of NYC. This would be an afternoon’s time and very little money (potentially free since many institutions offer free admission during certain days and times). Pick five small dreams and do one each week over the next month. The purpose of this exercise is twofold:
First of all, it will give you a taste of discipline and follow-through, especially if you pace yourself over one month rather than all at once. The process of following through with small dreams is the same as with big dreams, only on a smaller scale. If you practice it now, when resources are not committed and the stakes are not high, you have created a fun and rewarding way of learning a critical skill that you need with your big dreams.
Secondly, achieving your small dreams will give you a taste of what is truly meaningful to you. These are dreams that you have picked for yourself. Because they are small, they are probably not associated with long-range professional, family or financial gain. They are likely just satisfying in some personal way to you. Getting in touch with what is truly meaningful and satisfying to you is another skill that is critical for going after big dreams. This is why I recommend not picking dreams where there is even a chance you might not follow through. The impact of this exercise depends on your feeling that satisfaction from YOU making YOUR dreams (albeit the small ones) come true.
Many of my clients are life changers. Some change careers. Some change lifestyles. In all cases, the leap from the original life to the new one seems large. However, the process is actually made up of small steps, each very doable on its own. Thus, the leap can be made, not by jumping at all, but rather by staying grounded, as long as you move continually in the right direction. By honoring your small dreams continually over a set period of time, you practice this small-step progression and you inspire yourself with the satisfaction of fulfilling your own dreams.