by Amy Swift
The first step of turning a dream into reality is getting clear on what you want to accomplish. Even if you’re not sure what you want to do or you’ve got a bunch of competing ideas to choose from, it all starts with the creative process. Creativity is a way of thinking about the world and your surroundings, and can take many forms — it doesn’t have to be limited to being a painter, writer, knitter or designer (although it could be). If you open your mind, open doors are sure to follow. Are you ready to discover your true potential? The following exercises are designed to get your wheels turning so your creative spirit and talents can be unearthed!
1. Say “Yes”. Being open to invitations or activities you might normally decline, whether personal or professional, lays the groundwork for the forward momentum you need to make a change. Think of it this way, sometimes not doing something is really just an easy way to maintain life’s status quo. But our goal is to help you start seeing things in a new way, meeting different people, and having unexpected experiences that will lead you toward success, one step at a time.
Take action: Start saying “yes” this week. Accept an invitation, idea or suggestion that you’d normally decline. This could mean doing something new with the kids (for example, making up a story versus reading one), going on a creative outing to a museum or exhibit, or even taking a new route to work.
2. Be afraid. Yes, that’s what we said! The more you can step out of your comfort zone in small ways, the faster you’ll be comfortable with the idea of turning your dream into a reality.
Take action: Do something that scares you this week (and write about it on the Dreamers Into Doers message board!) Serve a new recipe for friends and see if they think it’s “sellable,” test an idea at your child’s pre-school to see what other parents think, or make a phone call to get more information on your future product — even if it’s still just an idea. Use fear or doubt to move you forward, not keep you stuck.
3. Clear the clutter. It’s important to build a dream on a great foundation, but sometimes, a messy home or even an overcommitted calendar can get in the way.
Take action: Get organized. Everyone has a room or corner that doesn’t get enough TLC. Clean under the bed, file overdue paperwork, and get rid of anything in your home that’s blocking your path or broken. Try one area this weekend and feel the difference.
4. Find inspiration. Everyone needs a role model; it’s natural to look up to people who have accomplished amazing things. Martha Stewart is a great example of someone who harnessed her creativity and passion and turned it into a thriving business.
Take action: Find a muse. Research someone who inspires you, who has a story you could follow, or who has a business model you might use for your own project. How did they get started? You might be surprised at how little many very successful people knew about their business before getting into it. They relied on hard work, timing, creativity – and you can too.
5. Get support. Did you know that creativity is contagious? Just try putting yourself in a creative environment and not catching the bug! Isolation has the opposite effect — it’s one of the biggest dream killers.
Take action: Create a community. Find at least one person (up to five or six would be ideal) whom you can check in with weekly and use as a sounding board for ideas. Encourage him or her to bring ideas and act as a point of accountability for each other.
Try these exercises this week – and let us know how it goes on the message board! We’re comparing stories, secrets, what we’re scared of, and most of all…what we hope to do. Good luck!