Dream Big, Act Bigger

Posted on Mar 29, 2010 in motivation by
34 Comments

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.

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34 Responses to Dream Big, Act Bigger

  • A really sound article. I’m definitely all for dreaming big. I like the fact that you mentioned ‘mapping out your actions’ because like you said, it’s the actions involved in getting yourself from dream to goal that count!
    .-= Anne Lyken-Garner´s last blog ..How To Have A Green, Affordable Wedding – The Definitive Guide =-.

  • Great article Maren! If there is a will there is a way – your mom was awesome for teaching you this, And I love your blog!

  • Failure is still action is so true and a great reminder. I never want my life to be dull and it will only become that way due to not “going for it” what ever it is.

    Always biting off more than you can chew reminds me of times in my life I’ve gotten in over my head…I’ve always made it out and landed on top. Great article.

  • Hi Maren,

    I really like your suggestion of focusing on small steps. I find that it can be overwhelming to think about all that needs to be done to accomplish a goal. But breaking it down into steps makes it much more manageable mentally.

    And as you said, you feel good whenever you can check something off of the list. That builds momentum.

    I also really like that you mentioned celebrating each achievement even if it is small. This is a great way to keep morale really high and prevent burnout.

    Regarding failure, I only define something as a failure if I never try. Otherwise, even if it is a non-success, it is not a failure. I have yet to ever see somebody who has never failed that has ever accomplished much.
    .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..Positive thinking does not work, but positive feeling does =-.

  • Maren,

    That was wonderful. It actually physically irritates me when people say that their dream is to be rich/fit/in love but when pressed for what they’ve done so far, a blank stare is given. They will complain about the lack of opportunities or how the world is against them. It’s as if the definition of a dream for them is that hazy movie that happens when they konk out.

    I have that feeling in my gut that knows for a fact that I will achieve my dream. And taking action every day makes me more and more certain of it everyday. Thanks for the reminder!

    Take care
    .-= Ben Weston´s last blog ..The Definitive Guide to Attracting Relationships with the Law of Attraction =-.

  • Hi Maren,

    This is a great list of steps to take to dream big and act bigger.

    #2 really resonates with me as I believe that in taking ‘baby steps’ will lead to taking larger steps. Sometimes all it takes it sticking our toe in to sort of test the waters. Once we know that we can manage that, we can go a little further and before you know it, you will have gained the confidence to dive right in. All of life is one big learning opportunity and provides us with the means to grow as human beings.

    I agree that it all starts with a dream. Having that as a motivator is the foundation for all of the steps that follow.

    Karen
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Warning: Following These 5 Tips May Get You Out Of Your Rut =-.

  • Hello Dragos,

    Wonderful post by Maren. In order to achieve big dreams we have put in lot of efforts. Without putting efforts we will not succeed. If we do not try different and tough things we will always get what we are getting now.

    Bye for now,
    Cheryl
    .-= Cheryl Paris´s last blog ..How We Grew With An Acorn- N is for… =-.

  • I love this specific part ”Action cures fear.” It reminds me the times I was making cold calls.
    Thanks for the story!
    .-= Ioan Nicut´s last blog ..7+7 moduri de a obÈ›ine ce vrei evitând 7+7 situaÈ›ii în care-È›i furi căciula =-.

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  • Great list Maren! My favourite is #4. Actions generate response exponentially. I always say “Action Creates a Reaction”. Stop overthinking and just get started.
    .-= Motivational Speaker – Craig Harper´s last blog ..Social Intelligence =-.

  • As you take more and more actions toward your desired dream, it has an exponential result. I loved that expression, and am finding it to be true. I also loved your axiom: Action cures fear! Very inspiring: thanks for sharing.
    .-= Steve-Personal Success Factors´s last blog ..Discover the Secret of Future Proofing Your Career =-.

  • Hey Maren,

    This is a rock solid article. In terms of goals, I’ve found that writing them down and making plans to achieve them is really as simple as that. The problem is most people are so worried about how they are going to get to the end result that they never end up starting. I had a goal to make money off my blog and by looking at that goal every day I eventually came up with ideas for how to do it. As far as failure still being action, we are unfortunately taught to believe that failing is a bad thing. We get that ingrained into our heads from the moment we get our first test back with read marks all over it with the letter F. From that moment on, we adopt the belief that we shouldn’t fail. Kind of unfortunate that we have to wipe out that belief in adult life.

    Being realistic is for the masses IMO. Anybody who’s here reading is probably not part of that bunch, so I love what you said about that. I’m going to go check out your blog :)

  • Your kid that wants to be a doctor example is perfect. Hoping and waiting doesn’t take you very far. A plan with actions and refinement along the way go much further.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..My Top Ten Lessons In Life – Ali Hale =-.

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  • [...] Dream Big, Act Bigger Share and Enjoy: [...]

  • A friend told me once that he had a dream to own a big graphic company, I admit he is a hard worker, and after one year of trying reach his dream, he actually became a manager/owner of one of the biggest graphics companies in the middle east, then he told me that the problem now is my dream became true, and the responsibility is bigger than me, I can not handle it!

    Anyways, latter he moved to the states, we still calling each other, and on the last phone call he told me that he did Mariah Carey’s latest video clip, and he was thinking if Jackson still a live he would be his next client!

    So, I just wanted to share that story because I think we should not dream bigger than us, and we should involve the factor of time deeply on it, even some times it’s better to stop your dream and make it for latter a little bit, or then the restorability can break our backs, specially that I am sure that not all of us will succeed, but only a few people!

    Thank you so much for the inspiring article, I came from kikolani’s Fetching Friday post, she always put together the most interesting read!
    .-= Hesham @ FamousBloggers´s last blog ..What are the Elements of Successful Bloggers? =-.

  • I’ve always followed the mindset “go big or go home.” Dreams and ideas should be nothing less than grand. Why would I want to ever aim small? If I’m going to push myself, I’m going to push myself all the way and nothing less. Regardless of your aspirations in life, this mentality that people have of needing to be “realistic” about your ideas is complete nonsense. The sky’s the limit, so you better aim high!
    .-= Travis´s last blog ..Niche Blogs =-.

  • Maren, I love the daring points you make here, and the opposite bits of wisdom from the traditional ones we are used to hearing – of course we can achieve whatever we set our mind to, but a reminder on how to go about it, especially in the creative style you have portrayed here, makes my day! Thank you!

  • [...] route – and we cannot travel all that far and frequently or live in the fabulous lifestyle of our dreams, only the rich and famous live those lives. We fool ourselves out of golden opportunities and sweet [...]

  • Something about being true to self enables you to sense clearly what matters

  • I’ve always believed that you need big dreams to motivates you. Small dreams may be easy to achieve in theory but without the motivation to do anything they just hang around for years unachieved.
    .-= Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com´s last blog ..Tabata Intervals : Day 30 (Post Mortem) =-.

  • [...] you don’t truly want something, you won’t be persistent enough to work until you get it. One thing to always remember when you’re creating goals, and grabbing your vision, is to set …://livelifeofsuccess.com/getvision/">vision, is to set them high. Not so high that you can’t [...]

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