Here is another section from the sample chapter of my book (working title One in Ten ? How to Survive Ten Years in Business). Click here to read part one of this chapter.
Until your dreams and goals are taken out of your imagination, they will remain as thoughts and will never become reality. They have to be created in some form. When you can really see your dreams, you will have the ability to reach them, not matter what gets in your way.
The goal I created in 2004 of moving to Appletree Cottage was not about having material possessions or status. Living there is about where I want to be, to spend the rest of my life and grow my business. Within a couple of days of moving in, I felt as if I had always lived there. When I need to recharge my batteries, I spend time at home, working in my garden, watching the birds, walking round the paddock counting the willow trees. Appletree Cottage is my home and my sanctuary and will be for many, many years, until someone prises me away from it. It is also the home of my business and allows me to develop the business and its reputation. Now we have staff and clients who love coming here, because they find it such an inspirational place to work. In a competitive world, it is one of the things that help us to stand out.
When you have a dream ? something you want to do, somewhere or someone you want to be ? first create it and then hang onto it. I am a visual person, so when I imagine something ? when I daydream or plan ? I see pictures, colours, shapes and movements. I picture myself doing something. I can feel what is happening. I do this a lot when I am preparing for a riding competition, where I have to follow a ?test? that tells me where to change direction and speed, from walk to trot to canter. I learn the test by drawing the route on paper and then I ride through it in my mind ? trotting around each corner, making each change. I picture myself in the actual arena where I will ride the competition and I imagine how it will feel when it goes perfectly.
When all the thoughts, words, images and colours of a goal or dream are floating around in your head, you need to get them out of there and onto paper. I have pictures, cards and rosettes pinned to the board next to my desk, to remind me where I am going and what is possible. You might use spreadsheets, collages or diagrams, because different people see goals differently. Whatever tool you use, the secret is to actually produce something from your thoughts, so that you create your goal and bringing it to life. Even if the ?image? then goes into a draw for the next five years, you have created it and it will hide in your subconscious, quietly steering your decisions and directions towards your goal. During 2009 I created another image, as part of an exercise at a networking meeting I attended. It was rather abstract yet I knew what it meant. It sat on my desk for almost a year until it became reality. You will have to wait for chapter ten to find out more about this!
Having an image of your goal or dream, whether it is on paper or just a thought in your head, gives you something to hang onto, no matter what other people say or think. The world is full of negative people, for whom nothing ever works and everything is too difficult. They will come up with reasons why you cannot do something or achieve your goal. My husband often questions my new ideas, which just makes me even more determined to do something, especially if I have already created the goal. For years I swore I would never go back to India, having not enjoyed my backpacking trip there as a nineteen year old. In 2004 I created the goal of taking part in a sponsored ride to raise money for a charity. It transpired that the next ride was in India and my husband reminded me, ?You said you?d never go back; you?ll never manage it.? That was a red rag to the bull, making me even more determined to raise the £2500 required and to survive five days in the saddle, on someone else?s horse, in a far off place. It was one of the best trips I have ever taken and I have done a sponsored ride every year since.
This determination to do something or achieve a goal is what separates successful people from those who struggle in business. You also need a positive outlook, because it helps you to see beyond the barriers and the issues that might get in your way. If you always focus on what might stop you, you will never even start a new venture or look at a new idea. Do not ignore the potential challenges; always consider what might happen, think about the resources you need and assess the financial implications to make sure there is not a huge risk that might cost you a lot of money. Do not learn this lesson the hard way. Once you have taken everything into account, if your dream still feels well within reach and still inspires you, then you can go for it. This way, when someone else tells you your idea might not work, you have your research to back up, the inspiration of your goal. Throw in a good helping of positive attitude and you will succeed.
If I listen to the negative people in the world, would not do half things I do now. I would probably have gone out of business years ago; I might not even have started my business. There is a difference between advice and opinion ? listen to the advice you are given and be wary of other people?s opinions. Someone who tells you to do something or not do something, because of their opinion, does not see your dream or share it with you. Your dream might not inspire them; if it inspires you and fills you with hope, excitement and determination, then draw it, hang onto it and go for it!
How do you hang onto your dreams?