I bet you have some big dreams in life and you’re set on accomplishing them. And that’s awesome! In order to accomplish them, one of the most important things you need to do is to create and implement an effective strategy.
Strategy plays a crucial role in making your dreams come true. Having good strategy is like setting a proper route to reach your destination, and obviously, without a proper route, you may not really get there.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to establish a coherent strategy for accomplishing their dreams. This leads them to taking chaotic actions, which don’t build up to something, or not taking action at all, which keeps them in the status quo.
I’d like to share with you a step by step method for creating effective strategies and making your dreams come true. Here are the steps to follow.
1. Turn Your Dreams into Goals
Dreams are nice and fancy, but they’re also not very practical because they tend to be vague. In order to make a dream practical, you have to turn it into a goal.
Turning dreams into goals means first of all defining them more precisely. For example you may want great relationships in your life, but what does that mean exactly? What characteristics does a great relationship have for you? Get clear on that.
It also means making your dreams measureable and time bound. For instance, if you turn “I want to make a lot of money” into “I want to be earning 250K per year within the next 5 years”, you’ve made it measurable and time bound. You’ve turned a dream into a goal, which is much easier to achieve.
2. Plan Backwards From Your End Goals
Once you’re transformed a dream into a goal, you need to find intermediate steps towards it, which will act as intermediate goals. It’s like finding the rocks that stick out of the water in a river and designing a path from one rock to another in order to cross the river.
The best way to do this is to plan backwards from your final destination. And you do so by asking yourself: “What needs to happen just before I am able to reach this goal?” And so you determine the step just ahead of it. Then you ask yourself “What needs to happen just before I am able to do that?” And you determine the step before that.
And you keep going until you get all the way to what you believe can constitute the very first step for you to take. When you’re there, you have a step by step plan to follow for turning a dream into reality. And you can start taking action.
3. Test and Tweak
The truth is that the very first time you design a strategy for reaching a certain goal it will have flaws. It’s normal. You’re dealing with a lot of unknown factors. Your strategy will be missing some steps, or it will have some unnecessary ones, or some of the steps will be incorrect.
But you will only be able realize this as you implement your strategy and you notice what really happens. This is why it’s crucial, once you have a strategy, to not look at it as final. Treat is as a mere first draft. And treat your first actions as mere tests of this draft. Implement the strategy, see what works, see what doesn’t, and make adjustments as you go and you learn from your experiences.
If you apply a strategy with the mindset that it is final, you’ll be oblivious to many of its flaws, and you’ll persist with it when you should actually change it. A “testing and optimization” mindset is much more effective to have.
4. Learn From Others
Besides learning from your own experience as you use a strategy, there is one more method of learning that I consider highly valuable: learning from others who have tried and succeeded in reaching similar goals to yours.
The accumulated experience of such people is much more than you could accumulate in a lifetime. And there are a lot of lessons that you can extract from it, thus greatly accelerating your learning.
One accessible way to learn from others is to read articles or books or go to courses where they share their experiences (provided they exist). However, accessible doesn’t also mean ideal. In my experience, the best way to learn from others is to befriend them and talk to them one-on-one. That’s how you get the most valuable know-how and insights.
So I encourage you to seek to meet successful people, talk to them, get close to them and constantly nurture your relationship. By building and maintaining trusting relationships with such people, you will access an invaluable source of knowledge.
This will require a good dose of social confidence and social skills. You need to be able make conversation with a wide range of people, and a bit of wit and charisma will help you immensely. Fortunately, these are all learnable skills and attitudes, and there are plenty of resources to help you with this. It’s your job to seek them and use them.
I believe the happiest, most accomplished people are visionaries but also great strategists. They have bold, bright dreams that inspire them, but they’re also very good at creating reliable strategies to reach them.
It is within the combination of dreaming big, planning well and taking action that the possibility to make great things happen lies. Food for thought.