The Master’s Dream List

On Sundays, I blog on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics.  Click here to read why.

I’ve shared previously that the very first thing I encourage people to do, when they start getting serious about Lifestyle Design, is to create their Master Dream List.  The Master Dream List is the place to list everything you’d ever want to do, be, have, or achieve.

The mentor who first taught me about the Master Dream List put an interesting spin on it for me one day.  He encouraged me to think of it as The Master’s Dream List.

He suggested that I pray about my dreams and ask God (The Master) to clarify which ones were the most important ones to pursue now, and to reveal to me, over time, which ones weren’t so important after all.

I’ve been doing this for years now and I can say that it has made a difference in my life.

I’ve learned that God is the source of many of my dreams.  But I also recognize that some dreams are selfish distractions that come from somewhere deep within me. And if I let them, they’ll pull me away from the attainment of what’s really important.

I’d encourage you to give it a try.  If you aren’t typically a person of prayer, ask yourself, “What can it hurt?”  And maybe more importantly…”What if it works?”

9 Reasons Why You’ll Never Achieve Your Dreams

Dreams in Sand 2Recently, I asked some friends this question:  “Why is it that most people fail to take bold action to achieve their dreams?” Here are the nine answers I received:

  1. “Because people told them they’d never amount to anything.  They believed it and decided to never try.” Maybe it was a parent, teacher, sibling, friend or spouse. This illustrates the power of words.  Despite the old saying re: “Sticks & Stones”, words CAN hurt us!
  2. “It’s got something to do with physics — an object at rest tends to stay at rest.” It takes a massive amount of energy to change. And let’s face it, most of us are very comfortable exactly as we are.
  3. “Discouragement…they give up after seeing the amount of work required to achieve it.” It is “cheaper” to stay the way they are than to pay the price to get where they want to be.
  4. “Distraction – the loss of focus/purpose and the lack of vision.” We get so easily distracted, don’t we?  Yet if we want to achieve success…we need to stay focused on what we know we need to do to achieve it.
  5. “FEAR is a big one, I think – fear of change, fear of failure, etc.  Also, an inability to picture oneself having achieved the goal.” These are two powerful insights.  First, some people are afraid to fail.  Others are afraid to succeed.  In both cases, they’re afraid of what others might think.  And many are afraid to take that first step – not knowing what will happen.  And the point about picturing oneself achieving the goal is huge.  This illustrates the power of visualization, of seeing ourselves, in our mind’s eye, being successful.
  6. “I think the obstacles can seem overwhelming…the focus is placed on the obstacles rather than the smaller steps needed to reach the dream.” This illustrates the importance of small steps…you don’t need to swallow the whole elephant at once, just take him a bite at a time!
  7. “Dreamers dream. Writers write. Doers do.” Let’s face it – some of us (myself included) are perpetual dreamers.  We can dream up a thousand good ideas.  But if we don’t put them on paper and make a plan…they’ll never come true.  Others are great at writing out plans…but they never execute…they never take that first step of action.  “Doers do”.  I like that.  Doers take action.  They too can be led astray if they don’t stay focused on doing actions that impact their goals. But no dream comes true, no written plan becomes a reality, without action.  Robert Ringer put it this way:  “Nothing happens until something moves.”
  8. “We believe the lie that we aren’t good enough, or we are incapable, we fear change, success and the future, and we lack the courage, support and strength to hope to dream in the first place. It is only those who truly respond to the call/desire God has placed in them that ever see their dreams fulfilled – and usually much, much more!!!” Again, this speaks of believing in ourselves, taking action, being confident of our life purpose.
  9. “Many times, courage and faith are the missing ingredients.” This too, speaks of believing in ourselves, and in a power that is greater than ourselves.  I’m reminded of a quote from Dorothea Brande:  “Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid.”

What about you, my friend?  Are any of these reasons keeping you from achieving your dreams?

If so, resolve to take bold action today!   If you’ve got goals in your head but not on paper, write them down.  If you’ve never made a plan, take a few minutes to sketch out some steps you could take.  Then take that first step!  Decide to make something happen this week, this month, or this year!  Remember Robert Ringer’s words:  “Nothing happens until something moves.”

Please share your thoughts – and your stories of success.  I’d love to hear them!

Birthday – Annual Life Review

Today is my birthday.  I’m a little bit older, a little more greyer…and hopefully a little more wiser.  A birthday is a great time to spend with the people who matter most to you – your family and friends.  I believe it is also a great day to spend a little time alone to do an annual life review.  If you can’t do it on your actual birthday, plan another time within the week.  Don’t let this opportunity slip away!

There are three basic steps to an annual life review:

  1. Assess your current reality in your key life areas.
  2. Compare where you’re at today to the targets or  benchmarks you previously set.
  3. Celebrate your progress or determine what mid-course corrections, if any, need to be made.

It’s also a great day to look at your Master Dream List to see how you’re doing at achieving those dreams.  Of course, you can also delete any dreams that aren’t so important to you anymore, or add new ones to the list.

For extra credit, ask your family and friends for their opinion on how you’re doing.  Ask them to share a way you’ve blessed or impacted their life in the last year.  And ask them for a suggestion of something you ought to do in the next year – maybe it is something in your life that they think needs attention, or maybe it is a book they think would add value to your life, or some kind of experience.

And take some time to express gratitude for your life.  If you believe in the Creator as I do, then take the time to thank Him for giving you life, and ask for His help to live more on-purpose in the next year.  If not, then find some other way to express your gratitude and your intention.  Try it, and I think you’ll agree with me that there is power in the attitude of gratitude – on your birthday, or any day of the year.

Hey, What’s Your Dream?

The movie Pretty Woman came out in 1990.  And 19 years later, I still remember the opening line. Watch it for yourself:

Hey, “What’s Your Dream?” You know, that one you where you were going to change the world. Or do the work you love.

Are you taking bold action to achieve your dreams? If not, what’s stopping you?

Pillar #1 – Start Your Master Dream List

Today I begin sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design. Pillar #1 is – Start Your Master Dream List.

All of us have had dreams, since we were kids, of a career we’d like to have, a car we want to drive, a house we’d like to live in, or trips we’d like to take.

We often keep lists of hopes, wishes and dreams in our heads, but few people ever write them down.  This makes it harder for us to make a plan to achieve our goals, track our progress, celebrate our success.

The Master Dream List is the place to list everything you have ever wanted to have, all the places you’d like to go, all the things you’d like to do, the possessions you’d like to own, the personality or character traits you wish to develop, the goals you desire to achieve.   Others have called it a “Bucket List” – a list of stuff to do before you kick the bucket!

Sample of Master Dream List

Sample of Master Dream List

It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Just grab a sheet of paper, or your computer, and make three columns:  Date, Dream Goal, and Life Area.

  1. Date – List today’s date, the date on which you are writing your dream.
  2. Dream Goal – Write down whatever it is that you want to be, do, have, and achieve.  You can also include a deadline date if you’d like.
  3. Life Area – There are seven basic Life Areas, or categories, in our lives:  Family, Career, Financial, Social, Physical, Personal Development, and Spiritual/Ethical.  Decide which Life Area this dream fits into.  Is it a dream for your career?  Family?  Personal betterment?  Spiritual growth?  Etc.

Don’t evaluate your dreams or think about them too much at this time….just make the list.  Have fun and dream big.  Write down absolutely everything that comes to your mind…so you get it out of your head and on paper or in your computer.

This isn’t just a one-time activity. You’ll want to add to your Master Dream List whenever any other wish, goal or dream comes to your mind.

I’ve had one for over 10 years and I continue to make additions and changes.  And sometimes I make deletions…I decide something is no longer important to me or worth achieving.  Other times I tweak them a little or make some changes.

Everything that is worth achieving and giving your life to begins with a dream.  Sadly, for many, they stop here, and don’t go on to take the steps necessary to see their dreams come true.

One key to success in making your dreams come true is to regularly review your list and make additions as necessary.  The more you review them, the more you can clarify which ones to work on now, and which ones would be nice to do someday down the road.

Tomorrow I’ll share Lifestyle Design Pillar #2 – Define Your Preferred Future.