5 Steps To Uncovering Your Big Dreams

T his week I take a fresh look at the power of big dreams and explore a totally new way of uncove...

This week I take a fresh look at the power of big dreams and explore a totally new way of uncovering what it is that really excites you. Trust me, it leaves boring old goal setting for dead.

What are your dreams for this year? How did you create them?

If you’re like most people you’ve gone through the process of setting goals for the year. That’s a great start, but are you feeling inspired?
I have to be honest, in years gone by I’ve tried the goal setting thing but with only moderate success. Setting goals can feel a little bit like a “should do” rather than something inspiring and engaging.
What if you could really let yourself go and start dreaming of the stuff that truly floats your boat, not just the stuff you think you can achieve? It’s a totally different process and yields much more exciting results.

Dreaming big is hard.

We’ve always got the inner critic sitting on our shoulder giving us a hard time about big dreams.

  • “Who do you think you are?”
  • “You’ll never be able to afford that.”
  • “It’ll take too long.”
  • “Do you know how hard you’d have to work to achieve that?”
You know the voice.
This year I was prompted to change things up, but not without a false start. I subscribe to an email newsletter from a guy and he suggested asking three questions as part of a 2015 review.
  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What am I working toward in the next year?
Dutifully, I answered those three questions and it was ok.
Then a friend challenged me to look at the work of Danielle LaPorte. Danielle’s work focuses more on how you want to feel rather than what you want to achieve. I then completed a different exercise following the steps below:

Step 1: Write a list of highlights for last year. You only have three minutes.
This is a completely different question to “What went well this year?”. I focused on the highlights of my life.

Step 2: Have a (trusted) friend, spouse or partner look over your answers and point out anything you missed, or any patterns they see.

Step 3: What patterns do YOU see? What very obviously gives you joy? What was ‘big’ but didn’t even make it on to the list?

Step 4: Chill out more and really think about what moved you and mattered the most in your past year.

Step 5: Determine the five things you’re going to focus on in the next year or phase of your life.
For me the answers from the second approach were different. Not majorly, but the key difference was this:
In my answers to the first set of questions (the more traditional approach), there was lots of work stuff. That’s cool, I like my work, but it wasn’t inspiring. The second set of questions elicited loads of life stuff; I went from mildly excited, to feeling truly engaged with my new possible life.

The choices I then made for 2016 were focused on how I wanted to feel, rather than what I wanted to do. What a revelation!

If you’re looking to dream big in 2016 and to get inspired and engaged with your own future, then have a go at this process yourself. The whole thing took me less than 40 minutes.

Why is it important to dream big in your business and in your life?

  • For most small business owners, life and business are intimately connected, so getting both sets of dreams clear is essential.
  • Without a big dream, how do you get out of bed every day? Just meandering through life on a treadmill doesn’t excite anyone.
  • Without the pull of a big dream you might just end up being a fraction of yourself. This is one of my greatest fears; not exploring all that I can be.
  • Importantly, we’re at an inflection point with the future of financial services. Technology is going to dramatically change the way things are done, regardless of whether you buy into the robo-advice thing or not. Change is a comin’!
  • What we do as Financial Planners is a 35-year-old business model, and we’re moving into the next phase. Don’t get stuck or attached to something that might just be about to get reinvented.
  • Dreaming big allows you to rewrite the rules, to break old habits and to re-energise yourself and your business.
  • Dreaming big helps you to see the things that don’t work and the things that do (or could).
  • Dreaming big re-awakens a sense of possibility and that’s the stuff that gets you out of bed every day, ready to hit it hard.

What are your dreams for this year?


I was in Park City, Utah last week for a bit of skiing (which I love) and was fortunate to catch up with Carl Richards for a quick coffee. He talked to me about “imposter syndrome”, that feeling we often get when we are doing really well and experiencing success; when our inner critic keeps telling us that we shouldn’t be here, that we are not worthy, that we don’t really fit in or that soon, something must go wrong even when the evidence is to the contrary.

I’d just described to Carl about the amazing things Debbie and I have been doing in our lives recently with the help of our life coach Kerri Richardson.
Carl said to me: “You must have felt this, the imposter syndrome.”
I replied: “All the time.”

His point was that we all feel it as we move through life, but we can still take bold decisions and chase our big dreams at the same time. We don’t need to wait for things to feel comfortable. We can all just get out there and give it a go.

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