by Linda-Ann Stewart
Success means different things to different people. But success can also mean different outcomes depending on the person’s dream. A business person measures their dream of success by income and number of customers. When a beginner marathon runner finally stumbles across the finish line, whether he’s first or last, that’s a win to him. To the person afraid to speak in public, victory is being able to effectively lead a meeting. To others, it’s wealth and acclaim.
In every case, the person had the potential to succeed at their dream. But they had to cultivate and develop the qualities that would lead them to the result they wanted. It didn’t happen by chance. They had to become a person who could reach their vision. That meant they had to let go of some characteristics, habits and ideas, and acquire others.
So where in your life do you need to change? Who do you need to become to be successful and accomplish your dream? Here are five areas to address.
1. What characteristics do you need to develop within yourself?
The characteristics you need to develop are going to be individualized for you and customized for your dream. You won’t want ones that help you climb the Matterhorn if marketing your business is your goal. So consider your dream. Then take stock and assess what qualities you need to develop.
Once you decide which traits are essential for you to have, establish a way to learn and practice them. Choose one from your list to cultivate and start small, with baby steps. But be consistent. Exercise the attribute as much as you can. In doing so, you make it a habit. Then you can start working on the next one.
2. What do you need to identify with?
Your identity affects what you believe and how you act. If you identify with being a business person, you’re going to act differently than someone who feels they’re a teacher. It molds the way you perceive yourself and what you believe about yourself. In some ways, it forms your self-image.
Your identity isn’t concrete. It’s shifting all the time, depending on your roles and responsibilities. And you can influence it by what you choose to believe about yourself. Someone who wants to learn to draw will begin to connect with the idea of being an artist. They then start acting in a way that supports their new sense of identity by associating with artists, going to art shows and being more creative.
3. What do you need to believe to achieve your dream?
If you believe life is out to get you and that you’re a loser, you’re not going to be able to make your dream a reality. Your attitude of failure will sabotage your efforts and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you believe inspires and affects your actions, and a belief is simply an opinion. So you can choose to change your belief.
Discover what ideas will support your dream. Imagine that you’ve already reached it. As you explore how it feels to live your dream, what beliefs did you have to have to get there? You’ll identify beliefs about life, yourself and your capabilities that you can begin to change. One way to shift them is through positive self-talk.
4. What skills, knowledge or habits do you need to acquire?
When I wanted to use a computer and get onto the World Wide Web, I had to learn how to navigate the machine’s commands and surf the internet. They were new skills, but essential for me to reach my goal.
Once you recognize the necessary extra information or behaviors you need, figure out how to acquire them. You may need to read specific books, take courses, change your choices or your routine. As you take these steps, others may become apparent to you. Follow them through. Just don’t get stuck in the preparation stage. At some point, you need to actually take the leap into action.
5. What are you willing to do to achieve your dream?
This is probably the most important question. How strongly do you want your dream? Just day dreaming about it won’t bring it into reality. Only by committing to it will you be able to make it yours. For instance, if you want a higher paying job, are you willing to move to a new location, work a different shift or take on more responsibility? If there’s any part of you holding back, it will undermine you.
As you determine what your dream requires of you, do an internal inventory to make sure you’re ready. To accept something new in your life, you’ll have to sacrifice something old. Your life will be different. Are you prepared for it? You’ll also have to put physical, emotional and mental energy forth to bring your dream into reality. If your dream isn’t important enough to you to put in the needed effort, it’s better to know now. Take stock and decide what you’re willing to do.
As Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” If what you’re doing now isn’t bringing you the result you want, you need to change. Only by doing something different will you get results that are closer to what you want. And you can’t just change your actions. You also need to be someone different. Inner change is necessary for you to become the person who can achieve and live your dream.
If I can conceive of my dream, then I can achieve it. I have all the support of the Universe in my endeavor. I am willing to do whatever I need to so that I create a new life. It’s safe for me to reach for my dream, and to make the changes necessary to accomplish it. As I put forth the inner and outer effort, I am Divinely guided in my quest.