Where to start to plan your Dream.
I’ve often suffered from illusions of grandeur. You see, in my mind I’m terribly important. I spent a good while allowing myself to celebrate the ‘me’ that I am. Jokes aside, deep down I know that I’m special. We all are in our own way. (Sorry for the cliché. Had to.) Do you believe that about yourself? Do you share that with others? How do we articulate the ‘things’ that make us special? More often than not we don’t. We’re quite good at listening to the naysayers and erring on the side of caution, aren’t we?
I know that I have ideas that add value to people’s lives. Do you feel the same about your ideas... but…?
There’s that but, right? That little tiny piece of you that says ‘hey you, who do you think you are?’. It might have been something Mum or Dad said, maybe a teacher, perhaps even a partner; but the ‘but’ has lingered. I believe it’s in all of us, which is why sharing how we kicked our ‘buts’, is so vital for the young men and women whose journeys are just beginning, and for those of us, here, who have a Dream.
I’m quite old now, and don’t have time for too much in the way of niceties. Consequently there are no longer any ‘buts’ in my vocabulary. Once I chose to put on my Tiara and chase down my Unicorns, the realisation that I was worthy, became abundantly clear.
As an ex-military officer, owner of my consultancy, an outdoor centre, and having just built my own Village (Arete.nz) based in New Zealand; the notion that I’d achieved success, was clear. So, how did I kick my own ‘but’? If you’re wanting to take the next big step, lean into the pie in the sky project but there’s this little bit of doubt scratching at the back of your mind or your accountant is tut-tutting – don’t listen. No truly put your fingers in your ears, and don’t listen, accountants are often too darn dull to see the Unicorn in all its glory. Bless them.
I don’t want to just tell my story. I want you to have a road map at the end of these few words. Your job in all of this is to get out your pencil and start writing as we walk together, or pass this article onto the youngster in your team or family that has a dream.
Note 1 | It starts with a Dream | Start High | You may know the saying, that a dream without a plan is just a dream. Curiosity is something I’ve never been shy about. Leading in the armed services in operational environments triggered a deep interest in the neuroscience of controlling anxiety, fear and stress. Toned down somewhat into our ‘standard’ civilian world, the fascination of controlling the daily stresses of family, work, building a village and conquering that world became my field of passion and expertise.
Task A | Articulate your dream, your passion | Get a huge flip chart (ginormous piece of paper), grab some colored pens and start smashing out every crazy idea that comes into your incredibly passionate head. All of it, no judgement. High Level.
Task B | Define your Unicorn | Go Deep | Gather a small tribe of other fabulous men and women whose role is to challenge your assumptions (get at least one nice bugger in there or you’ll feel a bit put on); they’ll ensure you really chew through the pros and cons of your idea; the costs, timeframes, who, how, when and your why. My advice is go deep and narrow. Choose one or two things that you could melt the ears off your friends with - when you’re speaking with fire in your belly - about ‘your Dream, your Unicorn’.
Note 2 | Learn to Plan | Planning is the absolute key to kicking your but. My IMPACT-4Q Model, was the result of many years of thought leadership and deep thinking. Not only does planning control stress, but it reduces overwhelm, lines up all of your ducks into a gorgeous waggly row, and identifies where to start. Oh and as an aside, increases billable hours by some staggering percentages.
And start you must. My latest big hairy audacious Unicorn Dream was to build my own luxury off-grid retreat for my leadership clients. A space with no WIFI, no plugs to recharge devices, a place of extraordinary beauty, but one that was carbon neutral, elegant, a space to refocus, recharge and refresh.
Of course, I didn’t have any money, well no spare few million. You too?
Well, I did and I didn’t. The outdoor center and my consultancy provided a steady source of operational funds, but I had to walk in absolute faith that I was being supported by my husband, my staff and my management team. In absolute truth, my friends, family and staff thought I was stark raving bonkers. Several sandwiches short of a picnic. Not the sharpest knife in the top draw, two cans short of a dozen… you get it.
Huh. I wedged that Tiara down on my head, flipped my flipchart, made sure my Unicorn was in sight and then laid out a 24-month building project (not a budget, just the project); from gardening to pathways, to a trip to Bali to buy furniture, to bedding, on down to the stunning Italian wood fires that I imported. Did I know the whole budget? No. Did I know where I was going to find the funds? No. Did I know if I was going to succeed? Abso-blimming-lutely! Why? Because I had a Plan and blind faith that I was onto something. Remember those illusions of grandeur.
Note 3 | Start | Just Start | Like eating an elephant; choose which end to begin and take one bite at a time. You can rejig your course once you’ve set sail. But you can’t reach your destination if you’re still tied up in port contemplating your navel. Choose one or two things to do and start there, preferably in an order that makes sense, but if you have to start somewhere a little illogical because of lack of funds, or knowledge, that’s ok too.
Note 4 | Tick it off | You must have a checklist. Allocate chunks of your time, uninterrupted, to allow deep thinking and to redefine your plan. That first mind-map session; hang it on the wall so it’s in front of your face every day. This is science. Seeing your Dream, ticking off your list, triggers the release of a fabulous bunch of neuro chemicals that increase satisfaction, increase your desire to do it again tomorrow, and let you sleep at night knowing that you’re on the pathway.
Arete Retreat. Four years in the Dreaming, three years in the Planning, two years in the Doing, and now I can sit with my Tiara slightly askew, a delicious lemon gin in my hand and Be. Was it easy? Heck no. Will I rest on my laurels? Heck no. Is there more? Sure is.
What’s next? Reflect – what would I do more of? What would I do less of? Reassess, reapply. Dream, Plan, Do, Be.
Join me on one of our planning retreats and learn to use the IMPACT-4Q Model. It’s absolute gold if you’re looking for a way to kick your own ‘but’ and bring your Dream to fruition. Otherwise known as gold. Absolute gold.
Visit arete.nz or check out our retreats for more information or to book yourself a spot.