Once you've decided what you really want, you need to make a plan to get there. You need a road map.
It is a journey. To begin any journey, you must know your starting location and then make a map to your desired location.
When we travel to a new location in our RV, we set our GPS to where we want to go, but we also have to tell it where we are now so that it can give us an accurate path.
It's the same with life, we must know where we are now to know how to get to where we want to be.
Most every year around this time (I'm writing this on New Year's Eve), Lizabeth, my wife, and I spend most of the day dreaming about what we want and where we want to be (physically, emotionally, spiritually, in our careers, and in life) this time next year, in 3 years, in 5 years and in 10 years.
We reevaluate our goals and dreams to make sure they are still where we want to go and how we plan to get there. We make sure we are still on track and make any course corrections needed.
To do that, we have to make an accurate accounting of where we are now.
One question we ask each other, and ourselves, all the time - but especially on these goal setting days - is: "What's working and what's not?"
Life is too short to spend it unhappy or miserable. I believe we are in charge of how we feel, regardless of our situation.
However, changing our situation in regards to what we can control, plays a major role in our happiness.
For us, it comes down to evaluating what's working and what's not. If something is working, then how can we make it even better?
If something isn't working, then how can we change it? What part of that can we control?
If we can control what's happening, then how can we change it for the better? What changes do we need to make?
If we can't control it, then how can we change ourselves to accept it as best we can? We can always change our story around it and how we handle the emotions surrounding the situation.
I've found that much of my success in freelancing and owning a business comes from how effectively I can manage my emotions.
It's hard to do my best work if I'm upset or angry or frustrated. When I'm happy and emotionally stable, I can do my best work.
Every time we look at where we are, we find things that aren't working. Taking the emotion out of it and looking at the situation objectively gives us a better shot at deciding if this is something I can control.
The question then becomes what can I change about this situation? If there's nothing, then how can I change my thinking around this situation.
For instance, accounting and book keeping are some of my least favorite tasks in my freelance business. For the most part, I can't change the fact that I have to do the book keeping.
Even if I delegate that task, I still have to know enough and do enough to know where I stand in my business, which clients are paying and which are not, what's working in my business financially and what's not.
But, what I can change is my thinking around it. If I look at it as an indicator of where I am in my career and as a way to help me decide where to head next in my career, it becomes a little more fun.
If I start making it into a game that I do enjoy, then it becomes more fun. When I take the emotions out of the money and just look at it as a numbers game, it becomes much more fun for me.
I can't change the fact that it has to be done, but I can make it more fun.
If it's something I can control, then I make a plan to change what needs to be changed.
When I want to make changes, I first decide what I really want in the situation. Then I decide where I am now in that situation.
Then I must decide the best way to get from where I am now to where I want to be.
Usually it all boils down to this one question: "What do I need to change about myself to make this happen?"
Many times that's learning something new, or learning something I already know better, or getting rid of fear, or changing my thinking around the subject, or contacting someone else who knows what I need to know, or... the answers can be endless.
But, if I brainstorm all the various ways to change who I am in this situation, I usually get an acceptable answer.
I can't get to where I want to be by doing the same things I've always done.
My sister is always telling me, "You are doing that thing you do that keeps you stuck in this situation."
I can't keep doing that thing I do and get a new result.
Most of the time, it always ends up at a fear.
Fear keeps me playing small. Fear keeps me doing the things that I do. Fear keeps me from growth. Fear keeps me stuck.
I am learning to get good at getting rid of fear. But, first, I have to know what the fear is.
So many times our fears have been our lifelong enemies and we didn't even know we had them.
Fear, by it's very nature, is something that we usually don't want to look at. But, the only way to overcome the fear is to stare it dead in the eye and move through it.
Lizabeth and I are long time firewalkers. We often walk on fire to remind us that we can do anything. We can face the fire and we can either be afraid, or we can see it as something to overcome.
When we embrace the fire, love the fire, see the fire as a good thing, it becomes easy to walk right through it and not get burned.
We've been to many firewalks and the only ones who get burned are those who are afraid. Those who panic or fear the fire will usually get at least a 'kiss' from the fire.
What we believe has a lot to do with it too. If we believe we can, we can. When we believe it's impossible, it will be.
Faith is the greatest emotion. Faith is believing in the things unseen. But, I am a true believer of once you can believe it you will see it.
If you are waiting to see it before you believe it, you may be a while getting there.
Believe you can and you will.
Where are you now? Be really honest with yourself and look your fears dead in the eye. Embrace them for helping you thus far. Thank them for keeping you safe until now.
Then let those fears know that you no longer need them because they are holding you back.
Once you have a good picture of where you are and what you need to change about yourself to get to where you want to be, you can begin planning your journey.