Every success story starts with a dream or idea – to make improvements, to create new products or processes, to serve an unmet need or support a cause. Ideas spark innovation and lead to new products and services, advances in science, technology, arts, literature and social change.
The process of successfully making a dream become reality encompasses four major steps – dream, act, grow and persevere.
There are many ways to generate ideas, among them connecting with others, observing and reading, brainstorming or free thinking, and giving the mind permission to wander. None of these methods can guarantee you’ll come up with your next great creation, but nothing starts without a dream.
How many great ideas never become more than thoughts or dreams in our heads? Hockey great Wayne Gretzky’s quote sums it up well, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” His point is clear: we must act to make anything possible.
Achieving the success you desire may seem daunting: What if you haven’t thought through all the details? What if some people don’t like your idea or proposal? What if it’s not a hit at first, or ever? Our self-imposed fear of rejection or failure kills far more dreams than anything else does. Are you going to let fear, desire for perfection or other self-imposed limitations keep you from attempting to reach your dreams? Step into your future by acting now.
Growth doesn’t happen by dreaming; it happens doing. Once we are in the action stage, a successful outcome depends upon our willingness to expand our understanding, learn new skills and make necessary adjustments. In the process, we become more capable and confident in our ability to bring our idea to fruition.
Things usually don’t go as smoothly as we envision in our dreams. We often discover that our original goal or timeline needs modification based on information gained as we learn and adjust. Perseverance is about remaining steadfast in pursuit of your goals or dreams despite having difficulties, obstacles or failures along the way. People who persevere believe in themselves and their dreams; they overcome obstacles and explore new paths to achieve their objectives. They learn from their previous attempts and bring new understanding to the continued pursuit of their dreams.
Two notable examples of perseverance include J.K. Rowling and Thomas A. Edison. Twelve separate publishers rejected J.K. Rowling’s initial manuscript before one was willing to take a risk on it. She was even told to get a day job! Her work, which includes the Harry Potter series, makes her one of the most celebrated authors of our time. One of the greatest inventors in history with 2,232 worldwide patents, Thomas A. Edison invented the incandescent light bulb. In the process, he failed over 10,000 times. “I have not failed,” Edison said. “I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Dream. Act. Grow. Persevere. Repeat.
People who bring their dreams to life through action, growth and perseverance often repeat this same proactive cycle of success throughout their careers. The inspirational stories of Thomas A. Edison and J.K. Rowling are impressive. You likely know people who have inspired you personally by overcoming trials and obstacles to turn their ideas into reality. Consider taking time to reach out to those individuals by sending a note or making a call (you might even forward a link to this article) and let them know how they motivated you. By doing so, you not only reinforce your network, you also open the door to a conversation that may provide inspiration for your next great idea.
The tenacity of a Thomas A. Edison or a J.K. Rowling may come naturally to some but is a challenge to others. The attributes of those who successfully turn dreams into reality can be developed. Coaching helps many people overcome their fears, align their priorities with values, act on what’s important to them, persevere when the going gets tough and achieve higher levels of performance and success.
How can executive coaching help you achieve what’s next?
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Find out more about Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at oppnacoaching.com