Business Planning

Do You Have a Dream This Christmas?

How good are you at dreaming?

Dreams x Goals x Plans x Action = Results

There seems to be some logic to these 4 elements combining to produce our Results. So how do we score? I’ve asked this question many times in workshops over the years and on average the scores have typically been: Action 9/10, Plans 7/10, Goals 5/10 and Dreams 3/10. A total score of 945 (out of 10,000!).

Action seems to be no problem. We like being busy. Even though we might complain about it, it can make us feel good – even important. And Action does produce Results.

Dreams on the other hand seem to be difficult. Dreaming isn’t work. Rather than ‘dreaming’ perhaps ‘deliberate, considered thinking’ might be a more workman-like phrase. But we’re still not as good at it as we are at ‘Action’.

The danger of action without dreaming is that one day we may find ourselves somewhere we don’t really want to be. We may look back and question the journey our busy-ness has brought us on.

Dreaming is a skill. Its something we can get better at with knowledge and practice. But we have to believe there’s some benefit in doing it before we start.

If you employ people then dreaming should be part of our job description. Dreaming is what births vision. And its vision – that painted picture of the future – that will inspire and engage your people. Employing and paying people doesn’t win their hearts and minds.

There’s an ancient old-testament text that says, “Where there is no vision the people perish”.

And Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream!” I remain to be convinced that “I have a plan” would have had the same impact.

A few years ago my son took Napoleon Hill’s seminal book, ‘Think And Grow Rich’ off my bookshelf. After a moment or two he asked, “Is that all I have to do? Think. And I’ll Grow Rich?”. Good question. Excellent question. I’d never really read the title properly. A light bulb moment for me! There are a few steps in between Thinking and a truly Rich Life (goals, plans, actions) but yes, it starts with Thinking.

The irony is that many of us think all the time. We’ve been taken over by our thinking. We don’t know how to quiet our minds. We’ve lost our ability to use our thinking as a tool.

Everything mankind has ever created started life as a thought. We keep thinking and adding detail to our dream and one day that thought, that dream becomes a reality. What we think about over time manifests in the physical world. Which cuts both ways. People who tell me they can’t dream and can’t visualise are often the best at it. What they tend to do is visualise negatively about the future. They’re brilliant worriers! And we can turn negative thoughts into a negative reality too. “I knew they’d say No!” “I knew I wouldn’t win that contract!”

There’s a series of simple questions in our planning day preparation workbook that encourages people to spend sometime dreaming about the future. Whether or not you’re coming to our planning workshops in January (Wed 4th or Thur 5th) I’d be happy to share the short Planning Day Preparation Workbook with you. Simply email me and ask.

This Christmas why not spend a little time deliberately dreaming. These could be big dreams about life in 10 years time (we tend to overestimate what we can achieve in 1 year but underestimate what we can achieve in 10 years – I could be a doctor within 10 years!). Or they could be dreams about some of the ideal clients you’ll be serving and helping in 2017. Take it one step further and write your dreams down. Writing is powerful. It’s the first step to dreams becoming real. You could stick them on the wall. Or tuck them away in a drawer to be found in years to come. How about spending another 5 minutes in bed each morning dreaming your big dreams? Or rehearsing how your day is going to play out? Or visualising your ideal self – the person you aspire to become?

Our minds are powerful tools. Letting them run on autopilot can be useful (avoiding things like decision fatigue). But only to a point. Becoming aware of whether our mind is serving us or not is a good first step. Notice what you’re thinking about during your day.

Dedicating time each day to think and deliberately dream may deliver us better results over the next 12 months and the next 10 years. It is a skill we could commit to learning. And for it to become a good habit we need to practice on a regular (daily) basis. As with anything new we need to start small. How about simply spending 5 minutes in bed each morning rehearsing our day? Could we do that?

And how about trying a 2017 Dreams exercise over Christmas?

If you’d like to do the ‘Goals and Plans’ bit then please join us at Planning Day. And if you need some Support and Accountability for the ‘Action’ bit then give me a call on 07931 882 555.

Mark Dyble

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