Other people are the ones who live great lives, go on fabulous vacations, get what they want, and overcome hard things, right?
Other people make a million dollars, retire young, have passionate love affairs, never seem to age, and eat and drink anything they want without consequences, right?
We are the ones who do amazing things.
We just haven’t. Yet.
We haven’t given up.
We’re just stuck.
It’s not the same thing.
Here’s how to get unstuck.
Here’s how to make big things happen.
Make a list on 10 things you absolutely want to do in this lifetime. I mean the things that seem wildly impossible and incredible and way beyond what you have right now; Oprah-Dream-Big level stuff. Then find a real-life person in your network who has done each thing, one by one, or who knows someone who has. Call that person and ask “I gotta know. How did you do #1 on my list? Please tell me your story.” Then listen, ask relevant questions, and take great notes.
When you get off the phone, ask yourself if you still want to do the thing. Did their story make it more or less exciting and enticing? If the answer is more, set a deadline for when you want to have accomplished that thing. If the answer is less, cross it off your list and choose a new thing.
By the way, this is not an exercise that takes a few minutes, so plan accordingly. It’s worth it.
Then take steps toward making it happen. You don’t have to let it take over your life. Don’t get obsessive. Don’t lose track of reality. Think of it as simply laying the groundwork, increasing the possibility that it will happen. You don’t let it have to change your day-to-day focus. Just work on it subconsciously, have crucial conversations at regular intervals, and capitalize when you have the opportunity. Or create the chance if one doesn’t arise organically.
The key is to talk to someone who doesn’t think the thing you want to do is a big deal. Read that sentence one more time, please. The key is to talk to someone who doesn’t think the thing you want to do is a big deal. It’s harder than you think because most people’s family and friends are very similar to them, which is why we all stay stuck in the first place. We are all reinforcing each other’s mediocre lifestyle. Sorry, it had to be said.
So, let’s play this out in real life.
Example 1: You want to have a baby. It’s one of your 10 things. You probably don’t need to ask someone how to get pregnant, but you still may want to talk to moms that you admire about their thoughts on motherhood. You might ask how it changed their lives, what they wish they would have known, how it impacted their marriage, the pros/cons of being a younger mother vs. an older mother, how they prepared, what’s the best and worst part, how raising boys and girls is different, where they turn for resources, etc.
If having this conversation affirms that you want to have a baby, make a plan, set a deadline, visualize it. When do you want to have a baby? How many? What do you want to do or accomplish first? What must you do first? Did your source share anything that might impact your timing or logistics? When you think about becoming a mother, play out how it might look, feel, affect your life, and how you want to be in the role. When you can clearly see it, does it feel like you? Now that you can see it, do you still want it?
Example 2: You want to make a six-figure salary. It’s also one of your 10 things. Is that possible in your current career or are you being called to do something else? Do you know someone who is making six figures? Can you be more specific? Do you want to break the $100,000 mark or are you thinking about crossing the $500,000 threshold? Maybe you want to make a million dollars? Same plan. Identify the person in your network or a couple of connections removed and talk to them about it. How long did it take? Did it fundamentally change their life? How did they spend the additional income? Was it a specific goal for them or did it just happen? If it was a goal when it happened, did they create a new earning target?
Did he/she share anything that whetted your appetite? Do you feel stronger or more ambivalent about the goal? When you think about earning, think about job satisfaction, benefits, role, responsibilities, and sustainability too. Play out how earning your desired salary might look, feel, impact your life, and how you want to be ready for it. When you can clearly see it, does it feel like you? Now that you can see it, do you still want it?
Example 3: You want to visit 50 countries. It’s also one of your 10 things. Have you ever traveled outside of your country? If so, how many have you already been to? Do the math. How many do you have left and how many do you need to visit each year to achieve your deadline? Same plan. Identify the person in your network or a couple of connections removed and talk to them about it. How long did it take them? Did they see many countries on one trip or did they see one country at a time? When did they start and how did they afford it? If it was a goal when it happened, did they create a new target?
Is there anything you should know that would make it more achievable in your own life? How did they document their travels? Who did they travel with? Do you feel stronger or more ambivalent about the goal? When you think about traveling like that, play out how it might look, feel, impact your life, and how you want to be while on the go. When you can clearly see it, does it feel like you? Now that you can see it, do you still want it?
Now let’s pause right here for a moment. Before we work through all 10 things on your list, let’s consider whether your goals are complimentary or at odds? Does your salary goal help or hurt your travel goal? Does your motherhood goal help or hurt your salary goal? Does your travel goal help or hurt your motherhood goal? Some might be at odds with each other, some may complicate each other. That doesn’t mean you have to cross anything on your list, but you may have to re-prioritize or adjust the timing.
This isn’t necessarily the time to be realistic. In fact, if “Well I obviously can’t do all of those things in this lifetime” is running through your head right now, stop. Just stop before you give up and settle. We are breaking old patterns and changing your potential right now, remember?
Instead of feeling overwhelmed or defeated, find the person who thinks it’s no big deal to do many things on your list. Who do you know that thinks it’s no big deal to be a mom making $500,000, who has traveled to 50 countries? Maybe you can’t find a mother that’s been to 50 countries and makes $500,000/year, but you know of one who has been to 25 countries and makes $200,000. Start with her. Ask for her story and ask her who she knows. You’ll find your people. Be patient.
Have you figured out how this works? We are upgrading your network and improving the possibilities for your future. We are expanding your network to include people who are already living your dream life, and it’s no big deal to them even though it’s a massive deal for you because it represents your dreams coming true. You have to see it to believe it. Once you do, you are exponentially closer to realizing it in your own life. Oh, and watching it on TV, in a movie, or online doesn’t count. Real people count. Real conversations count. Make it personal and relatable.
Rinse and repeat to fill your list. Is 10 the right number for you? Start there and reevaluate as you go, considering if ten things are important enough to be on your list. Do they matter enough to be life goals? That’s what you are crafting here. Life Goals. This is big stuff. You want a big life right? Your big, not someone else’s big. Then, as you achieve your life goals, ask yourself, do you need to push further or simplify? Make more or cut back? What feels right?
Finally, honor your effort and celebrate your achievements. Even the little stuff. For example, when I envisioned becoming a mother, I wrote in my journal about how it would look, feel, and how I would be. One of the things I did was make a list of things I would tell my daughters someday. For some reason, one of the items on that list was “make sure they delay shaving their legs until the last possible moment because it’s a pain-in-the-ass-waste-of-time” and I just had that conversation with my girls IRL! I told them exactly that. Later I remembered that I wrote it and although it was a little surreal, it was deeply satisfying in that way that reminds you that dreams really do come true. Lol. It’s always the little things that make it real.
Hold the vision.
Live your best life.
Just like that.