What is it that you dream of doing? Have you sat down and thought about what it is you can do to make that dream a reality? I mean not just sit there and fantasize about it, but sit down and go through the steps you would need to go through to go from where you are now to what you want to achieve? Do those steps seems feasible? Do they seem insurmountable? Take it down a notch. What is it that you can do today to get you that one step closer to your dream? Sometimes its the smallest things, the baby steps, that need to be taken or done to get you that itty bit closer. Once you add all those itty bitties together you may surprise yourself at how far you have come.
Here are a few simple steps that you can do to help you start moving in the right direction.
1)Start fantasizing about it, daily. Join those instagram and Facebook feeds that motivate you to get closer to your goal. Be it sailing forums and pinterest cooking instructions, whatever your interests are, having them in your face on a daily basis will keep that dream alive, remind you what it is that you are working towards, and keep you motivated to move forward with it. Also seeing other people do it and making it their reality may lessen your fear of taking the big leap towards your dream.
Back before we started sailing instagram didn’t exist (man that makes me feel real old!) but I would follow people on Facebook that were travelling the world. My dream totally was not to end up living on a boat, that was an unexpected surprise. It was to travel the world with my love (who turned out to be Eben) and find a warm and tropical destination to live in. To motivate myself I would buy travel magazines on a regular basis, watch where other travellers were going via facebook, and connect myself with as many nomadic people as possible. Listening to stories over drinks or reading about them in magazines only made my desire for travel burn stronger.
2) Break it down, for real. Following your passion may not be as HUGE of a risk as it may seem. If you sit down and write out what it is you are truly after, and the steps you feel you have to take to get there, it may make the whole thing more realistic for you. This way it is no longer the dream that you hide in the back of your mind for some special day, it is a goal that you are working towards and know the specific steps you need to start taking to move towards that. Get out your notepad (or iPad) and start writing.
I remember many times siting down with a piece of paper and writing pros and cons to an option. I would do this a lot, for a job offer, or a travel destination, or personal decisions. This may seem completely juvenile and silly, but seeing it on paper helped me visualize it. And many motivational speakers, coaches, yogis, etc will tell you that visualization is everything. Having the words written down on paper made it all more real to me, turned them into goals, and helped me make clear decisions on which direction I wanted to see myself go in.
3) Finances. Sadly enough, money is a real factor in a lot of our dreams. Whether we need the nest egg, or to be able to sustain, or just have enough money to comfortable start down that path, the money thing is always there and it is real. So decide “How much money is it that you think you need?”. Do your research, be realistic about it, and then add a 0 or two to that. Often the dream takes more $ than you originally expected.
When I was in college I found my way to travel. I worked full-time while going to school full-time. The amount of money that I could put away during the school year was enough to allow me to go backpacking in central america every summer. As a solo traveler that was easy enough. Once I finished university I started “living to travel”. I would find myself a job somewhere foreign and make enough money to pay for the plane ticket (like when I taught rock climbing in Malaysia, or TEFL in Thailand, or worked in a Cafe in New Zealand, or a Montessori school in Japan). Once I arrived I already had a job, and housing (which came included in these jobs). I would work out my contract and repeat the process with the next destination.
Doing this with a family is a bit scarier, you have more people that depend on you, so you want to make your financials a bit more stable. You need to ask yourself “How Can We Afford This”, and see what it is you are willing to do to get yourself there.
4) Be prepared to take a few steps backwards. Not every dream can be realized overnight. The unexpected can pop up and set you back a crazy amount of time. You have to mentally prepare for that to happen, because IT WILL.
The plan for Eben and I to spend a few years traveling together was thwarted by the amazing surprise that we were pregnant with Arias after only 3 months of marriage. Small step backyards for the sailing dream. So we put it off for a year, and once she was 9 months old we started that plan again. All was looking good until we had my Maiden Voyage from Hell. Another step backwards for the travel dream. Here we had dropped it all in the hopes of sailing for a few years, and after one horrible trip we were ready to throw in the towel and never look at sailing again! But thankfully for us, we never let those step backwards stop our progress in moving forward with our dream. And look at us now, 5 years living aboard.
5) Ask yourself how much you want to risk. Unless you are extremely well funded and can comfortably have a backup plan A, B, and C, you have to ask yourself how far you are willing to go to attain your fantasy. You can either commit to it 100%, or not, which is totally ok. All you have to do in the 2nd case is come up with a plan B, one you would be comfortable with, where you get close to your dream without having to put too much on the line.
We held on for a long time to a “backup plan”, a house in Canada, just in case the sailing didn’t turn out to be something we loved. In the end we sold that house, three years into sailing, because that thing was causing us nothing but headaches and we realized that we should’ve just gone all in from the start and been able to enjoy those first couple of years stress free. But it was our Plan B, our just in case, and it gave me comfort. Now we have it all on the line, and are quite comfortable with that. We know where are finances are and are watching them closely, but we don’t let that distract us too much from the fact that we have managed to live our dream for this long and feel extremely fortunate for it.
I am not saying that if you do these five steps your dreams will come true, its not quite that easy. But these steps will get you moving in the right direction, whatever your right direction may be. And if for nothing else, it may get your brain going as to what your dream may be…and that’s a start.