Everyone needs a dream.
Perhaps you have felt the way I have lately, like we have too many worries and not much to dream about other than getting back to normal. That’s not helpful for creating growth and momentum. It’s not even healthy.
Usually at this time of year, we are excited about resuming school, work and performance schedules after a summer break. This year is clearly different and with so much of our life still in virtual mode, dreaming may seem unrealistic.
I believe this is the time to dream. I believe this is the best moment to decide how you want to shape the next few months of your life. You don’t have to be one of those who bemoan the lack of opportunity. You don’t have to put your life on hold. Right now it is possible to create energy, to find motivation, to learn and grow, even to connect with others who share the same mindset.
In fact, this may be the best time we have ever had to do this. Before the weather makes getting outside more difficult, before the days get shorter, you can lay the groundwork for what could be an invigorating, productive and creative season.
The key is to not let the walls close in around you. While you may find yourself keeping indoors in your own four walls, you don’t have to shrink your sights accordingly. If you have a dream, those four walls will not enclose you. Your vision need not stop at the threshold; you’re getting ready to open the door and walk through.
Now before all of this sounds too lofty, please understand that a dream is the seed of a goal. All goals start from dreams. A dream is an “I wish;” a goal simply turns that into an “I can.” A dream is your vision of what might be. A goal is your plan to make your dream your reality.
The present becomes much more fun when you have a vision for your future. When your focus is on your destination, the journey goes more quickly. If you’re ready to get started with a new vision for your music or any new goal, the five steps below will help keep you future-focused.
First, set a goal. Make it an easy one, one you feel confident that you can achieve in less than four weeks. Four weeks is really the maximum amount of time you can stay focused on your own. Even if you are working with a teacher, short term goals build confidence, pride and momentum.
Second, don’t just set it, commit to it. Write it down. Describe why it is important to you, and how you will feel when you have accomplished it. Outline your plan of action. What are your first three steps to accomplishing it?
Third, tell someone about your goal. You may be tempted to skip this one, but don’t. You don’t have to explain it in detail. The evidence has shown that telling someone you care about what you are working toward helps create accountability and makes your goal a little more definite.
Fourth, imagine what lies beyond your goal. Before you start working on your goal, take 15 minutes and imagine what your next two or three goals or projects might be. After you do this one, what lies ahead for you? What will you be able to do then that you can’t do yet? Think a little boldly, just enough to make you excited about the possibilities. Then write those goals on an index card and tape it to your music stand or your mirror, wherever you will be sure to see it daily.
Fifth, start! All this planning needs one last thing - for you to take action. Your goal will stay a dream unless you make it happen. But don’t be afraid to ask for help. The journey is always more fun when you share it.