What’s Your Dream?

Find out "What's Your Dream?"You’ve been blessed with a dream for a reason. Your dream demands imagination, commitment to do the work, and faith in your own unique gifts and talents. Pursuing your passion is the most exciting journey of your life. Before you begin a trip, you need a map to get from here to there.

Michael Gerber, author of Awakening the Entrepreneur Within, describes a dream as “a statement of the greater good you want to create in the world.” He explains that a dream “allows us to commit ourselves to something that has meaning, something that moves us, that inspires us, that awakens our passion.”

John C. 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.”  The more specific you can be about your dream, the more excited you will be to pursue it.

Use your imagination to think about your dreams with vivid detail. Don’t worry about how you’ll plan for it yet. Trying to figure out the details of a plan while your shaping a dream is like drawing a picture with a machine gun. Important questions to hold during the dreaming stage include:

  • What is my dream?
  • Why is my dream important to me?
  • Are there people who will support me as I pursue it?
  • Am I willing to commit to my dream?
  • How do I feel when I think about my dream?
  • Does my dream invite good into the lives of others?

“It is in this place that the power of our imagination is rooted,” explains Mary Morrissey.  ”As you let the child like side of yourself begin to dream and get emotionally involved with ideas that enliven you, you enter a new realm of possibilities. This new realm of possibilities comes with new solutions that were previously unavailable to you.”

You are the only one with the unique gifts and talents who can transform it from thought to reality.  

As you chart your course, the most important question to consider, especially during the dreaming phase, is not how you can make it happen but why do you want this?  When you understand why your dream is important and why you want to pursue it, the answers about how to do it become clear.

Sometimes it is difficult to describe your dream if you’ve lost touch with what brings you joy.  I understand that feeling (read my experiences in Holding Fire).  One way you can begin to see your dream take shape is by creating a vision board (Find out how to Create an Awesome Vision Board here). 

Your dream is deeply connected to your purpose. A personal purpose statement defines who you are and the mark you want to leave on this world. It provides clarity and reflects commitment to your goals. A purpose statement anchors you in the direction you want to go. (Use these tips to Write a Personal Purpose Statement.)

Create a Personal Vision and Mission

The engines that power the force supporting your dream are vision and mission statements. Clear mission and vision statements reflect your beliefs and core values. They become the standard by which you measure everything else in your life. Your vision and mission statements guide the words you speak, decisions you make, goals you create, and events you work into your daily schedule. 

vision statement is the big idea of what you are working towards as a goal. Gordon D’Angelo, author of Vision: Your Pathway to Victory, describes a vision statement as “the definable intention from which preparation is formed.”  It is a mental image of what you believe is possible. Your vision expresses how you want to be perceived in the world and the legacy you want to share with others. It is deeply connected to your core values. Your vision is a reflection of your dream; it is a picture of the future you would like to create. It should be concise and easy to remember.

Transform your DREAM into ACTION

mission statement is an action statement that reflects your vision. It clarifies (1) what you want to do, (2) who you do it for, and (3) how you do what you do. It is a broad declaration of your purpose that distinguishes you from others. It is an expression of how you hope to realize your dream.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, insisted that vision and mission statements are “more powerful more significant, more influential, than the baggage of the past, or even the accumulated noise of the present. “ Strong vision and mission statements ground us with purpose and provide us with clear direction.

What would you like to include in your vision and mission statement? Use these suggestions to Create Personal Vision and Mission Statements.

Vision Statement – Questions to Consider

A vision statement empowers you and focuses your efforts in ways that propel you forward in the direction of your dream. It raises your standard of excellence, provides meaning to every task you want to accomplish, strengths your commitment, and encourages to keep moving forward towards your goals.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of Envisioning Your Future: Imagining Ideal Scenarios, encourage you to consider the following questions if you want to write a strong vision statement:

  • Does your vision statement provide a powerful picture of what you you want to experience in 3 to 5 years?
  • Does your vision statement include a description of your future?
  • Does it represent a dream about what you think is possible?
  • Does it provide a larger sense of purpose?
  • Does it clarify your focus?
  • Does it create enthusiasm  and inspire you?
  • Does it connect to your core values?
  • Is it rooted in your strengths, unique capabilities, resources, and assets?

What words express your strengths, core values, and dream?  How can they be included in your vision statement?

Identify Specific Goals

By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you can plan where you have to concentrate your efforts. If you feel frustrated or anxious as you think about defining your goals, you may, as Amy Lynn Andrews, author of Tell Your Time, observed, feel “stuck” in one of the following areas:

  • You do not know how to define your goals.
  • You do not have a plan to pursue your goals.
  • You have goals, but do not believe you have the resources to reach your goals.
  • You have goals, but do not believe you have the time to reach your goals.
  • You have goals, but do not believe you have support from families and friends.

A dream does not transform into a reality until you create a plan with tangible goals. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, insisted that the act of writing goals puts things into motion. “Your mind accepts the challenge and will consciously and unconsciously work to achieve the goal,” added Covey. “The momentum picks up if you tell someone your goal. The act of stating your goal creates a sense of accountability for its completion.”

George Doran first used the term, SMART goal, in a 1981 issue of Management Review. He explained that a SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. The act of writing your goals packs your dream with power and sets the dream-to-action process onto a course headed towards success.

Consider these questions as you create SMART goals:Transform Your DREAM into ACTION

Specific – What do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish it? What are the benefits? Who is involved? Where will the work to pursue and complete this goal be located?

Measurable – How much will it cost to accomplish your goal? What tools will you use to measure progress? What targets will you establish as you progress towards your goal? How will you know you have reached your goal?

Attainable – How will your goal be accomplished? Is your plan action-oriented? What knowledge and skills do you possess to reach this goal? What knowledge and skills are needed to reach this goal? Are resources available to support the pursuit of your goal?

Realistic – Why is your goal meaningful and worthwhile? Is there a need for someone like you to pursue this goal? Do you have time to pursue this goal? Does this goal compete with other priorities in your life?

Time-bound  – When will you start working toward this goal? When will your plan be implemented? What will you do within the next six months to reach your goal? What will you do within the next six weeks to reach your goal? What will you do this week to reach your goal? When do you hope to reach your goal?

Use these tips if you want to know How to Write SMART Personal Goals.

Additional tips to consider as you write your goals:

State each goal as a positive statement. Express your goals with positive words.

Be precise. Set specific goals; include dates, times, and measurable amounts so that you can track your progress.  Rather than stating “Don’t be afraid to apply for a new job,” state “I will apply for three new jobs this week.”

Set priorities. Prioritizing tasks helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals and focuses your attention to the most important tasks. It is helpful to have a purpose statement when considering goals. When your goals do not align with your purpose, consider modifying your purpose statement or reworking your goals. (Learn more about How to Write a Purpose Statement).

Set objective performance goals. As you write your goals, use action verbs that can be observed and measured as opposed to abstract and subjective goals. Rather than stating “Lose weight,” state “I will walk for at least 30 minutes five or more days each week and eliminate snacks from my diet.”

Arrange time in your schedule to pursue your passions. Breaking down your dream into specific goals that fit into your schedule takes work and effort. You must consider how much time you have within a twenty-four hour period that you can devote to tasks that will help you meet your goals. Rather than stating “Start drawing,” state “I will enroll in a weekly art class and practice drawing 15 minutes at least three or more days every week.”

If you wait for the “right time” to begin the work, your goals will never find a place into your routine. You must allow time to regularly review your goals and plan them into your schedule. As you plan, you may find that you will need to (1) reduce time from other activities to allow more time for your goals, (2) figure out how much time is needed to complete particular tasks, (3) find someone help you with some of the tasks, or (4) prioritize and eliminate some tasks from your schedule.

Free downloadsFree Goal-Setting Downloads at DrJulieConnor.com from my goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide, are available in the Trailblazer Store (or select “Free Downloads” from the “Store” drop-down menu). These tools will help you prioritize tasks and build time in your busy schedule to pursue your passions.

Richard G. Scott said, “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.” Commitment to a process is crucial to the development of a successful action plan.

Start somewhere. Begin today.

What can you do today that will take you one step closer to achieving your goal?


Use these tips to Write a Personal Purpose Statement.

Get clear about who you are and where you’re going. Create Personal Vision and Mission Statements with these tips.

Discover How to Write SMART Personal Goals.

Napoleon Hill explains Why You Need a Definite Chief Aim.