This is a guest post by Maren Donovan, @marenkate.

The famous words “I have a dream” have been used countless times to encourage, motivate and move people. What many never consider though is what if no one had ever acted on Dr. King’s dream? Without action dreams are just that, dreams, they come to you in a flash and dissipate with the morning light. Instead of focusing on ‘living your dreams’ I like to focus on ‘acting out my dreams’ this is far more effective and what 99% of dreamers will never grasp.

6 Steps To Dreaming Big And Acting Even Bigger

1. What can’t be quantified can’t be qualified. This is nerd speak for regardless of your dreams if you don’t set up so type of ‘plan’ on how to execute them they will never become a reality. Think of it like this, if your child comes to you and says “Daddy I want to be a doctor” what would the steps be for them to reach that goal by age 30? No one in their right mind would imagine a parent responding “ok, well just sit there and in 20 years I am sure it’ll happen”. So why do people approach goals and dreams that way?

Instead of laying down a strategic plan people would prefer to complain, sigh and make excuses on why they’ll ‘never lose weight’, ‘never meet the man of their dreams’ or ‘never get out of this dead end job’. It is as simple as setting your goals up, on paper and then tracking the simple steps that will get you there. The smaller the steps the better, this makes it easier to follow through with. Then as you hit each little goal you cross it off and feel the warmth of accomplishment wash over them. Hopefully after months of training your mind to both qualify and quantify you’ll become an action taker who always looks for the steps to a goal instead of just desiring that goal to happen organically.

2. Learning baby steps. The follow up to the last step would be breaking down goals into bite sized pieces that you can over all ‘act on’ instead of just think about. Here is a real life example of the baby steps I set for myself to escape the 9 to 5 and be able to live life on my own terms through having entrepreneurial income streams:

  1. Figure out my passion: I wrote down a list of things I loved doing and then did research on which would be most profitable, had a decent market size and which niches within I could dominate.
  2. Build a basic blog to document my progress: This is where my blog Escapingthe9to5.com came into play, more than a way for me to express myself it was a means to ‘quantify’ my progress and it gave me the added incentive of not embarrassing myself by failing in front of the few readers I had at the time.
  3. Decide on a product/service to sell
  4. Setting up monetary goals for 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and a years time.
  5. Celebrate EACH little achievement. It helps you have something to look forward to and encourages you to keep going towards acting out your dreams.

3. Dreams aren’t realistic, why should your goals be? If there is a will there is a way, this sentiment is something my Mom has always told me and it is 100% true. Whatever you dream for your life, sans like becoming a Unicorn, you have as much of a chance as you give yourself to achieve. Literally the world is full of stories of the most unlikely candidates overcoming ridiculous odds to succeed and live a fabulous life. What obstacles do you face? I doubt they are that big when you look at the sufferings of the rest of the world, so in reality you have it easy… and you shouldn’t waste your chance. So go for broke, make ridiculous goals, say you’ll have a house in Bora Bora and you’ll find the cure for cancer. The only thing holding you back is the actions to get to the point of fulfilling that dream, so if you map out the actions you CAN achieve the dream.

4. Actions generate response exponentially. I have noticed a crazy trend as I take more and more actions in my life to create the kind of destiny I want. The more I act the easier the actions get and the more productive they seem to be. So it would seem that actions multiply and compound the more you practice doing vs. just thinking about it.

5. Failure is still action. Is it better to have loved and lost? I don’t know, but I do know that it is much better to have acted and failed than to never have acted at all. I have failed at things a good number of times in my young life and some people would say that if I hadn’t taken so many leaps I wouldn’t have failed so much, this is true, but I also wouldn’t have succeeded ever, at all. Failure only makes the success at the end of the road that much sweeter!

6. Always bite off more than you can chew. This flies in the face of logic and goes against every authority figure I have ever had, but it is 100% true in my book. Every great success I’ve had comes after I got in over my head or bit off more than I could chew. The reason behind jumping off the deep end is simple, when you HAVE to make it work 9 times out of 10 you will. It is just how the world works. The problem is all too often people never try and go in over their head because they’ve heard a million warnings on how that is a bad idea, not realizing that all success – at some level – has been born out of taking a plunge into uncharted waters… just look at Columbus.

Hopefully this has inspired you to take a look at your life and really go grab whatever it is you want the most by the horns. There is a great quote by the author of The Magic of Thinking Big that simply states it how it is: Action cures fear.

Author Bio: Maren Donovan writes at Escapingthe9to5.com about entrepreneurship, motivation and, of course, escaping the 9 to 5 race. You can subscribe to her blog here.