Are You Living Up To Your Dreams?
It’s interesting that we all start out early in life with lots of dreams, aspirations, and goals. We have things that we want to achieve, places we want to go, a notion of who we want to become, and then, life seems to get in the way. Do you ever question where you are going, and if you will ever achieve all of those dreams you had early in life?
The fact is that we are likely harder on ourselves than other people are on us. Always expecting more from yourself, never being quite satisfied with what you’ve accomplished or how well you’ve lived up to your expectations can be constant conversations that we have with ourself.
When I was a child in Thunder Bay, the typical career path was to work in the mill, grain elevator, or railroad, and to get married and have a good pension. As we get older, we start to wonder if this is what we really want our lives to look like. When I was a young kid I didn’t really seem to care about too much other than having a good time. For me, I started to experience shifts in my life and feelings of unfulfillment, which led to me questioning if I was headed in the right direction. When I was very young I didn’t think that I would amount to very much, and even my teachers were quick to share this same sentiment. Years later, I started to ask myself “What if they’re wrong?”.
There were a few positive influences in my life when I was young. One of them was my father, who was accustomed to carrying a little notebook with him everywhere he went, and he used to write everything down. Anything he wanted to do that day, or anything he wanted to accomplish – it all went onto those pads. When he built a house, all of the costs were duly recorded so he could keep track of what he was spending. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I viewed my father as somebody who got things done and I realized that there was some merit to what he was doing.
Early in my own life, I adopted my father’s note-taking habit and started writing things down so that I wouldn’t forget them, and I guess so I would actually get them done. One of my friends used to ask me “Can’t you remember anything? How come you write everything down?”. Quite frankly, I didn’t know why at the time, but years later I was glad I did. For me writing things down cemented them in my mind and made them a priority.
Another mentor of mine, Jack White, once said when I was a kid and always in trouble, “you’re not stupid, you’re just hanging with the wrong people and doing stupid things”. At a certain point I decided I didn’t want to do stupid things anymore and I needed to have a plan to change my life. It’s strange, but when you make that decision things just start to change.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, that notebook turned into the beginning of goal-setting for me. I started to realize that my dad was obviously onto something and that if you wrote it down you might get it done sooner or later. For years, I have read books on the subject and gone to numerous seminars to understand it more. What I learned is that you end up systematically training your brain to accept certain behaviours and habits and implementing the desire to get things done and to accomplish the tasks that you find important -whether they pertain to business, family another part of your life.
So why am I telling you this? I’ve been thinking about it lately, as I’m writing things down, and noting the things I write down I’ve accomplished and wanted to share it with you. I think the key is to be reasonable about what you can do, when you can get it done and what you want to accomplish. Often, I will stop what I’m doing and write something down or just after I’ve climbed in to bed I’ll jump back out and go write some down because I know it will bother me until I write it down.
Don’t let that thought slip away. Write it down so you can remember it or do it. I often hear people say there’s not enough hours in the day and frankly I think that’s hogwash. There’s always enough hours in the day if you figure out what it is you want to get done, schedule it, prioritize it and get it done. Keep in mind everybody’s list of things they want to do, and priorities will be different. There’s also a silver lining here. The things that you want to get done and you complete will make you feel empowered compared to you never getting around to doing a task, which leaves you feeling guilty and disappointed in yourself.
Nike had a great commercial a while back and the tagline of that commercial was, “Just do it”. So, on my list this weekend are power washing the driveways, fertilizing and pruning plants, as well cleaning and polishing Johanna’s car. What is on your list? What are those things that you have been putting off that make you feel guilty? If you get a book and write those things down, you will feel wonderful every time you cross something off – guaranteed. Have a wonderful long weekend!