Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Passion Projects - Dream Big!

Finding a passion project is the best way to get unstuck, or to take huge leaps forward – which is exactly what we’re talking about: BIG dreams.

Here are 7 success steps for big dreams. Pay attention and write down the ones you find yourself having the most trouble with. Work on those the most to push through your barriers.

Step 1 – figure out what you’re most passionate about and give your dream a voice – say it out loud! To EVERYONE. Take Rachel Ray for instance: she was passionate about food. After managing two local food markets, she was approached about turning her recipes into a book – and her wildly successful career began. She has now published 12 cookbooks, has a show on the food network, a magazine, an online shop and a non-profit to teach kids and their families to cook together. All from a passion for cooking!

Step 2 - create a vision. It’s doubtful that Rachel ever dreamed of creating so many successful streams of income HOWEVER I am sure she had a vision in mind. Where do you want to take your passion project? Is it a personal project? A local project? National? International? What is your mission?

Step 3 - break it down. I would bet that most big dreams are never followed through because they feel TOO big. Take your dream and break it into steps. Tackle them a little at a time. Most big dreams take a while to accomplish, but as long as you’re moving forward, you’re always closing in on your dream. Brainstorm, explore ideas, map out who you need to talk to and when.

Step 4 – Align yourself with people who can help you. Tell everyone about your dream. Little by little, you will find yourself attracting the type of people you need who can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to ask people who they know! Start creating relationships with people who are already where you want to be. Putting yourself in the company of people who are already living your dream only raises your awareness that it CAN happen.

Step 5 – push past the fear. It will come. Some moment will stop you dead in your tracks. Understand that you will face this, but don’t let it take your dream away. Most fears only hold us back in our mind. Once we take action against them, they usually aren’t as bad as we thought.

Step 6 – put pride aside. I spoke to a restaurant owner last night who said his biggest piece of advice is not to be afraid of going backwards if doing so will help you in the future. So, if you want to open a restaurant, go work in a restaurant for a while! Your experience will be far more valuable than your immediate paycheck in the long run.

Step 7 – Above all, keep pushing forward and dreaming bigger. If it’s something you are truly passionate about, don’t give up too early. So many people jump ship right before the real growth happens. Do what you need to do to stay afloat. You’ll find that your dream takes on a life of it’s own. You’ve probably heard of theknot.com. What began as a site for weddings has grown to include thenest.com – a site for new homeowners. Plans are in the works for a site for new parents as well. When you give to others in a way that you are passionate about, you cannot help but receive, your dreams cannot help but grow and our life cannot help but become more full.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stuck like Glue

Standing still and watching the scenery is no way to get where you want to go. We’re reaching mid-year and a lot of people start to feel stuck around this time. Even the word feels sticky in your mouth as you pronounce it. Our temperatures are getting hotter and the air is getting thicker. Our springtime bliss is transitioning into summertime meltdown. Motivation isn’t at the top of anyone’s list! And we wonder why we feel stuck…

I think the first question we have to ask is where are you stuck? Is it in your job? In your marriage? In your personal life? What areas do you need refreshment in? Here is the toughest question of the day and I’m going to jump right into it: What are you doing about it?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again…expecting different results.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Action is essential to break out of any funk. You can only wallow for so long without getting tired of yourself. Imagine how others are feeling! Really assess what you are doing to break free of the anchor pulling you down. Is it what you’ve always done? Where is that getting you?

I would wager that 90 percent of my clients have found themselves stuck in a comfort pattern. What I mean by that is that they see the problem, but they continue to try to fix it using the same methods. It’s like driving to work on the same road, knowing it’s going to be congested because of construction but not leaving any earlier or trying a different route…and then complaining to your co-workers everyday that you’re late.

If you’re starting to feel like a broken record, you’re probably starting to sound like one, too.

It’s time to pull a Houdini. Do something new – it doesn’t matter what it is. Take a cooking class, start a book club, ask a new friend to lunch. What this does is attract a different type of person to you. What you’re doing now is allowing yourself to remain in a complacent role with friends that won’t push you out of your comfort zone. Once you start seeking out some new perspectives, your answer will come much quicker. Someone might even be able to hand you the key to free you from your shackles.

Try to keep an open mind with new suggestions. Be specific about what you need and why. Your problem so far is that you keep talking about getting to Z, but you keep working hard at X. Ask the right questions to figure out how to reach Y and then Z. Have a clear vision of what Z looks like and it’ll be much easier to solicit ideas, connections and inspiration from others.

Have a vision.

I talk about this one all the time, but here’s a slightly different spin. Come up with an idea. Any massively huge idea will do. It could be a new career, a long vacation or a far fetched connection. Get in the zone with this new vision. Talk about it, plan it, work toward it. You’ll immediately begin feeling better when you have something tangible you are working on. At first you’ll feel a bit rusty and you are! You’ve been stuck! Give it a little time for your muscles to loosen up and before you know it, you’ll be off in a sprint.

Surround yourself with people who support your vision. Having a partner or someone who can be your cheerleader is invaluable. Share your positive energy as you move forward and lean on them when you need help.

Take the first step.
Moving forward in some direction is step one. Momentum starts to flow pretty easily once you get the ball rolling. Standing still, or spinning your wheels applying for the same job you hate, or having the same fight is only going to get you to one place – exactly where you are right now. And, really, how is that working for you?

Keep an eye out for next month’s SHIFT for a follow up to this article with advice on where to begin your first steps!