Recently I have heard a fascinating talk by best-selling author Elisabeth Gilbert. It reminded me of my own experiences when following new dreams and projects.
She described that any new idea starts in a three day phase. I can totally relate.
- Day 1: You discover a new idea. You fall totally in love with what is possible and how beautiful and meaningful it would be.
- Day 2: Reality hits. You see how far you are actually away from that ideal. This can crush many dreams.
- Day 3: Are you still going with it? This is the difference maker.
Day-Dreamer, Dream-Killer, Dream-Builder
How we make it through the stages, defines the kind of person we are. I have been all three of them in different seasons and areas of my life.
- Day-Dreamer: I got stuck in phase one. Because I was too scared that I might not make it through phase two – the refining fire of my current reality – I simply stayed in dream mode. It felt nice and safe, but it eventually killed my dreams.
- Dream-Killer: I got stuck in phase two. I thought that I cannot make my dreams come true and stopped dreaming altogether. This is when some of us turn into critics, who pick apart other peoples dreams.
- Dream-Builder: I made it through to phase three. I allowed my heart to dream wild and big. I allowed the burning fire of reality to refine my dreams and I got the pleasure of making progress on my difficult goals.
Moving Through To Day Three
So what is a good way to move through this process to actually build our dreams?
DAY 1: DREAM! Allow yourself to dream big and wild. What do you actually want in your wild heart? Use that wonderful feeling to picture your dream in as much detail as you can. And once you got enough clarity, ask yourself, what is the first little tiny step you can take today?
DAY 2: Here is what reality hitting you does NOT mean:
* It does NOT mean that your idea sucks.
* It does NOT mean that it can never work.
* It does NOT mean that you are not able to pull it off.
* Also it is nothing that we have to fight.
Don’t dread the crushing weight of your current reality. Instead view it as an opportunity to become curious. Ask yourself: What would have to be true for me to accomplish this big audacious goal? New skills? Help? Giving up something else? View it as a fire, that refines your dream and helps you to select the ideas that you really deeply care about.
DAY 3: Are you still going with the idea? This is the difference maker. Psychologically, we get the highest reward when making progress on our most difficult goals.
Where to go from here…
If you are currently a dreamkiller, start dreaming again. That dream that you carry in your heart matters. No one has exactly your dream. If you are not living your very own dream, there is something missing from this world that cannot be replaced.
If you are currently a daydreamer, ask yourself what you can to do today to move forward with your goals? Partner up with dreambuilders who will help you take action. Your gifts matter too much to just keep them to yourselves. Put your dream into the real world where it can make a real difference.
If you are a dreambuilder, encourage others to discover their very own dreams and take action on it. We all carry different dreams in our hearts. Pursuing them gives us energy that nothing else in this world can provide.
A Personal Example
As I close, here is a related approach that I have found extremely useful when blogging. As I write them, I am usually very engaged and fascinated with the topic. In the beginnig, I used to publish a post immediately, and then on day two I was becoming all critical and felt like I had to delete it. Then I started to schedule my post to publish automatically two days after I had written it. This gives me the space to go through all the feelings of day two, without having to delete it, because it is not published yet. Sometimes I make a few edits, but usually not. On day three, that critical feeling is usually gone, and my post is posted automatically and I feel good about it.