As we get ready to wrap up 2020, I encourage you to take the time to reflect on this past year—the challenges, the unforeseen changes to your normal routine, and the clarity that has come from being forced to reevaluate what is most important.
It’s safe to say that this year threw us all quite a few curveballs. We have had to learn to pivot in almost every area of life—work, vacation, school, gathering with friends and family. I can certainly see where this could open up the door to allow fear to creep in. But I want to challenge us all, myself included, to slam the door on fearful thinking.
Instead, let’s focus on thinking big. Let’s end the year by reflecting on all that has been overcome and using this new understanding to break through any fear and insecurity that could be holding back your dreams and vision for the future.
If thinking big doesn’t come naturally to you, you are not alone. But this mindset can be learned. I want to encourage you to use these strategies to help unlock the dreams you have and use it to create a clear vision as you move into a new year.
How to Shift Your Mindset
What sets apart some of the most successful people you know? Some might answer this question with various skills or even luck. I would say it is knowing how to dream big. But how do you learn to ignore all of the doubts or fears that can cause you to ignore what it is you really want? You’ve got to shift your mindset from one that focuses too much on the how and not enough on the what.
Here are four strategies to use to create your vision and think big.
1. Imagine the life you want. When I say this, I don’t mean just as a passing thought. I mean really take the time to clear your schedule, sit down, and envision what you want out of life. What do you want from your career? Where do you see yourself in the next five years? The next decade? How do you picture your personal life?
I have used the strategy throughout my career, and it has allowed me to continue to grow and stretch myself along the way. It has also changed over time. As I have encountered various obstacles and challenges along the way, the vision of what I would consider a successful life has also adapted. By annually setting aside time to reflect on my dreams and aspirations for my life, I have been able to stay nimble and use this understanding to adapt my goals accordingly.
2. Write it down. It’s amazing the commitment that can come from the simple act of writing down your dreams. In doing so, you help to really define your vision. It goes from an abstract idea to a concrete description of what you want.
Not only that. Writing down your big ideas also gives you something tangible to look back on and motivate you. Thinking big will mean that you will encounter challenges. Any dream that stretches you outside of your comfort zone is challenging. A written list of what you want will help you stay on the path to achieving it.
3. Define what is at stake. This can be a hard step for many of us, myself included. When it comes to thinking big though you have to understand just exactly what is at stake. Think through what your life will look like if you don’t live out your vision. What would the consequences be? What would it mean for your life, your coworkers, your family? Now compare that to what will happen if you are able to achieve your dream.
This step is critical to understanding the heart of what is behind your vision. It will keep you motivated when the temptation comes along to settle for less. Knowing what is at stake gives you the grit it takes to think big and keep thinking big.
4. Break down your vision into actionable steps. Once you have created a vision for your future, the next step is to think through what you need to achieve in the next year to help set you up to achieve it. When you are thinking big, you have to define the path you believe will best get you to where you want to go. Create a timeline for yourself with goals to achieve each year to help you accomplish your dream.
It doesn’t stop there. Thinking big requires clear actionable goals along the way. But before you can create your goals, you have to know what your dream is for your life. Otherwise, any goal you set will keep you inside your comfort zone. I challenge you to think big for 2021.