Can dreams and inspirational ideas help us to achieving our goals? Hell yes, maybe not tomorrow or next week but they can and do happen, with a little commitment from you, as they say you have to believe to achieve.
There are thousands of motivational sayings that give us inspiration, I have two plagues in my office that resonate with me; in my mind you need both of these to change a dream into reality. Choose an inspirational quote that works for you.
If you can dream it you can do it – Walt Disney
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu
What do you want to achieve?
Any journey takes commitment, dedication, determination and often money, so you need to be very clear in what it is that you want at the end of it, otherwise you may waste time and effort going off track, denying or delaying success.
When setting the goal it needs to be:
- your dream – commitment needs passion to succeed
- defined – to enable focus on the intended outcome
- planned – clearly outlining steps and costs
- team – success needs support, share your dreams with like minded people
- measurable – to ensure you know when you have reached the end
I wanted to share one of my many journeys to success (success being the achievement of my goal) and hope that it can inspire you to make you own goals; I say one of many because we should never stop setting goals, dreaming or striving for the stars because great things happen when we do.
This particular goal was spawned innocently at a family bar-be-que with friends. At the time my husband and I had our first baby and I was working a couple of evening shifts a week at a rest home to try and keep us on the right side of the bank balance. We had bought our first home a few years prior to this but paying the mortgage on one income was difficult. We drove an old Cortina station wagon, which I hated as I had down graded my late model Toyota Corolla when buying the house.
One of the many conversations that night, centred around the constant pressures of finding daycare during school holidays and wouldn’t it be great if we were all school teachers as it meant we would have the school holidays off. That’s when my mind started ticking.
Hmm sounded good but how does one train to be a teacher when you live in the provinces? Apparently there was a one year post graduate course, that was held locally, to train teachers. So all I had to do was to get a degree, then I could do a post graduate course to become a teacher, all before my baby was at school and I would solve the problem of child care during the school holidays.
OK, I can hear you all laughing to yourselves. These types of causal conversations happen every day, but if it is something that resonates with you and your passions then maybe it is worth taking a second look, which is exactly what I did. I had to consider how a mostly stay at home mum could get a degree, within a city without a University.
What was it that I really wanted to achieve, what was my big dream?
I wanted to work part time, earn lots of money so that I could buy a new car. If I was a high school maths teacher, I could work casual hours, get paid lots of money and save to buy a new car.
The goal was defined, measurable and I wanted it to happen.
What do you need to do to achieve your goal?
Defining the steps to success takes research,forecasting and planning, so I set about creating a plan.
Step one for me is to do some research, these days with Mr Google, blogs and social media it is considerably easier to complete this step, but in those days I did it all by phone and asking advice of anyone who I thought would help. I found that Massey University was offering extramural degree courses, some of which had minimal onsite block course requirements and the maths papers didn’t require any. I needed 21 credits (papers) for a degree and at that stage the courses were taken across the full year rather than semesters, so I elected to do 3 papers a year. I worked out the cost of the first year and selected my papers.
The most important next step was to get buy in from my husband, lets face it this was going to take a lot of time commitment and I would be asking for more commitment from him for both childcare and house duties. This had to be a team dream a shared goal.
If you haven’t worked out the math yet I was committing to seven years of extramural study with the aim to firstly get a degree, followed by a post graduate year to become a teacher, not because of the desire to shape young peoples minds around the wonders of mathematics, no I was making a strategic decision for our family to try and enable us to achieve more than our current situation was going to provide for. My husband was committing to supporting this goal and sacrificing at the same time; most amazingly he was agreeing to be the wind beneath my wings with the understanding that I would eventually be in a position to be the main bread winner. This was a selfless act of love that most men would never have considered letting their wife even take the first step.
Progress through the steps towards the goal.
During the journey you need to be focused, share the dream with others, take assistance when it is offered and be realistic.
During the seven years to achieve the goal of a degree took huge dedication but we had a shared passion and dream and found a way to make it work for us as a family. I changed my degree major from Maths to Psychology (12 papers) as I really enjoyed the topics and completed 6 Maths papers, 2 English and 1 NZ Natural Heritage paper so that I still had the opportunity to teach high school Maths. Whilst studying I had secured a job as receptionist at an after hours Medical Centre, where I soon became the go to person for any queries relating to the practice management software. My lateral thinking was ideally suited for problem solving and I was not afraid to learn how to maximise the software’s capability. I later moved to a general practice and took on a lot of the day to day management tasks.
May 1996 I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with my biggest fans waving me on during the celebration parade, my darling husband and my mum. Major step to my success done! Next step was to apply for the post graduate training course the following year.
I had just finished my degree when a job was advertised for a full time training consultant, based in the Central North Island, for the Auckland based practice management software company that I used in my job. I couldn’t believe it, I knew instantly that I was the person that they needed! I realise that sounds big headed but you have to dream big and trust your capabilities; having just achieved what many thought was impossible, helped to encourage my commitment to apply. I managed to convince them that I was their ideal candidate and that I could do it in a part time capacity due to my family commitments.
Long story short, I excelled and left the thoughts of post graduate study behind and embarked on a job that was to last for thirteen years where I continued to learn new skills and extend my knowledge around primary care and software systems, and associated services to a level that I had never envisaged. I had various roles including trainer, Customer Services Consultant, Project Management, End User Tester and Release Co-ordinator, Technical Writer of Help Files and Release Notes. I travelled across New Zealand and Australia, all the time supported by my amazing husband.
What had I achieved?
My goal was: I want to work part time, earn lots of money so that I can buy a new car.
The new car was not a brand new car but it was a good car, the money was great and I was working part time. Goal achieved!
But I had actually achieved much more, my husband and I knew that together we could dream to achieve and enjoy the journey towards the success of our goals.
If you can dream it you can do it.
What had started from an casual conversation became a dream to succeed. Fortunately not all goals require as much commitment and time, if you are new to goal setting then start off small or break your goals into manageable chunks but dream big. It is an amazing feeling when you achieve things that you never thought possible and the rewards are over whelming.
- Dream big and decide what you want to achieve.
- Commit to the dream
- Ignore negative thoughts and excuses
- Research and start a plan and budget
- Involve others, share the dream and get their buy in
- Take the first step, take a chance, it can change your life
- Enjoy the adventure of the journey