Dreams are powerful and they serve a purpose. Our dreams propel us into something greater. They allow us to see all that our lives can be without any obstacles. They help pull us out of mediocrity and into a life of significance and fulfillment.
John Maxwell defines a dream as “an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”
To create your dream life, you’ve first got to know what your dreams are. This sounds simple, but not everyone has the courage to dream. So, we’ll start by looking at the benefits of dreaming and how to overcome obstacles.
Benefits of Dreaming
I’ve always been a dreamer. I can get stuck in my daydreams and forget that everyone else is around. I’ve been told to get my head out of the clouds and pay attention more times than I can count!
Fortunately, several recent studies on daydreaming have proven that daydreaming is a good thing.
- A study from the Georgia Institute of Technology shows that daydreaming can be a sign of creativity and high intelligence.
- Daydreaming can help us create new ideas, according to a study by the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).
- Another study by UCSB says that daydreaming enhances problem solving.
- Improvement of working memory is an additional benefit found in a study by Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science.
Allowing time for our minds to wander, imagine possibilities, and create is key to building a life that we love.
Obstacles to Dreaming
With all of the benefits, why are people still afraid to dream? There are several reasons.
Fear is one of the greatest barriers to success. Here are some fears that prevent us from dreaming:
- Fear of failure: People are afraid of the shame and guilt of not achieving their goals.
- Negative mindset: People with negative mindsets don’t have hope for the future. They can only see gloom and doom, so they fear the future. Hope is a key ingredient of dreaming.
- Fear of change: Change triggers uncertainty in our brains and makes us feel uncomfortable. Even good change frightens people.
Fear is a deceiver that tricks us into keeping our lives small. Fear tells us, “Just stay here where it’s safe.” In order to let yourself dream the life that you truly want, you have to kick fear to the curb!
It takes courage to dream. It takes optimism and hope. It takes a willingness to fail, learn and keep moving forward.
People who achieve success have many failures along the way. Failure hurts deeply, but it helps us to grow and get better so that we can achieve our dreams.
If you’re afraid to dream, look around the corner, beyond the fear. What are you missing out on? What could you have if you step out in courage?
2. God-sized dreams
When God called me to write a book, I thought that He had the wrong person. My brother, Tracy Moore, had already written a book, Me, You and the People in the Pews. I thought of him as the author of the family.
I initially ignored God’s calling to write a book by using the excuse that God was looking for my brother, not me. How crazy is that? God never dials a wrong number. I tell you this so that you can see how far-fetched writing a book was for me.
After wrestling with God about this for quite a while, I gave up and started writing. The book seemed to flow out of me. God walked me through the process and put the right people in my life. My book, The Magnetic Advantage: How to Attract, Retain and Engage the Best People, became a bestseller.
I learned firsthand that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. If God has given you a dream for your life, He will give you a way to accomplish it.
Now, did I make mistakes along the path of publishing and marketing my book? On my, yes! Lots of them. After all, who doesn’t make mistakes the first time they do something?
However, my mistakes didn’t stop God’s plan for my life. He picked me up each time, dusted me off and set me back on the right path with more wisdom than I had before.
When God gives us a dream, it is generally so big that we can’t imagine how we could do it. He knows things that our minds can’t comprehend. We can only see the past while God can see the future. He created us and knows what we are capable of doing.
With big dreams, God generally doesn’t take us straight from where we are to the vision we see. He gives us one step at a time, developing us along the way to be able to accomplish the dream that He has put in our hearts.
To keep on the right path, we must have faith and keep the vision in front of us.
3. Discouraged by others
When Joyce Meyer got her vision for her worldwide ministry, she shared it with her friends. They told her that she didn’t have the personality to be in ministry.
It’s a good thing Joyce didn’t listen to her friends. Today, her television ministry is one of the largest Christian ministries in the world. Her show is viewed by more than 4.5 billion viewers and is broadcast in 40 languages on 900 TV and radio stations.
When God gives us a big dream, others can’t understand it. Only we can see what God has in store for us. Only He knows what we are capable of through Him. God knows that we can do it even when others don’t believe in us.
Whether you follow your dreams or not, you will make an impact on others. Will you hide in fear, or will you step out in faith and accomplish all that God has planned for you?
Define Your Dreams
The first step in accomplishing your dreams is to get them out of your head and onto paper.
According to Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California,
“You become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.”
The act of writing down your goals kicks your subconscious into action. It starts looking for ways to accomplish your dreams.
An effective way to get your dreams onto paper is to create a mind map.
A mind map is a graphical representation of thoughts and ideas. The process of creating a mind map helps channel your logical left brain and frees your creative right brain for more effective use of your imagination.
Mind mapping is a great tool for bringing your dreams to life. This process helps organize your thoughts and set goals to accomplish them.
Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” The Ziglar goal setting program starts by creating a mind map of our dreams.
The Ziglar Dream Sheet is a mind map that encourages dreaming in all areas of life: spiritual, mental, physical, family, financial, personal and career. The reason it is designed this way is to create a balanced life. If you only dream in one or two areas of your life, you won’t be happy with the results.
Instructions for using the Ziglar Dream Sheet:
- Download the dream sheet here.
- Place your name in the circle in the middle of the diagram. Mind mapping connects ideas around a central subject. In this case, you are that central subject.
- Let your imagination run wild! Print everything you want to be, do or have in each area of your life. Write down both big and small dreams. There are no limits! You can use colors or markers to make your map visually appealing.
- Connect each dream to the area of life it represents. This is just to clarify which area the dream belongs to.
By doing this simple exercise, you will find yourself moving in the direction of your dreams.
To ramp up your ability to create your ideal life, visualize your dreams and keep them in front of you. A vision board is a great tool for doing this.
A vision board is a collage of pictures and words that represent your dreams, goals and ideal life. Vision boards are simple. Yet, they are one of the most effective ways to bring your dreams to life.
Jack Canfield explains the power of vision boards like this:
“By putting a vision board somewhere you can see it every day, you will prompt yourself to visualize your ideal life on a regular basis. And that’s important because visualization activates the creative powers of your subconscious mind and programs your brain to notice available resources that were always there but escaped your notice. Through the Law of Attraction, visualization also magnetizes and attracts to you the people, resources, and opportunities you need to achieve your goal.”
In a study by TD Bank of 1100 people and 500 small business owners, vision boards were shown to have a significant impact on the success of a business.
- “One in five small business owners used a vision board or other visual representation when starting their business; 76% of those business owners said that today their business is where they envisioned it would be when they started it.
- Eighty-two percent of small business owners that used a vision board from the get-go reported that they have accomplished more than half the goals they included on that board.”
Vision boards are powerful yet they are easy to create There are no rules. Your vision board can be anything you want it to be. It should reflect your unique style and be appealing to you.
How to create a vision board:
- Select a corkboard or poster board as the base.
- Find pictures of everything you want to do, be or have, no matter how impossible it seems.
- Add words to your vision board such as motivational sayings, inspirational quotes, affirmations, and goals.
- Tape, glue or pin everything to the board.
You can have one or several vision boards. You may want to have a board for each goal, project (e.g., wedding) or area of life. This is all about you creating a life that you love, so do what works best for you.
Tip for Families: Have each person in the family create his or her own vision board. Then as a family, create one central board that represents family goals. This rallies the family around a common vision while still allowing for independent goal-seeking.
Once finished, place your vision board in a place that you will see it every day.
Bring Your Dreams to Life
Once you have your dreams written out and visualized, you can start the goal-setting process. Goals are the link between dreams and achievement.
Review your written and visualized dreams. Select two to four dreams to set as goals. Keep the number small so that you can put all of your focus and energy into accomplishing those goals. After you accomplish one, add another, and so on.
It is possible to have a life that you love. Start by defining what that life looks like. Put it on paper and visualize it. Finally, create goals to accomplish your dreams.