One thing that most people who know me would agree about me is that I know how to set goals. But what is even more important than that is that I excel at keeping up the level of consistent effort that is necessary to bring whatever goal I may have into fruition. Big or small, I am confident that if I say I am going to do it, then it is almost as good as done.
I remember years ago, an eccentric woman made her way to the door of the school where I worked. Just by knowing a person’s name, she could tell you a wealth of information about them. She said that people become whatever they are called. What she said about my entire name was very interesting and true about me. But what she said about my last name—McClaine—was that the Mc means to pound and laine means lane. She said that tells her that I am able to pound a lane or make a road towards anything that I set my sights on.
So, I was a little bit baffled when I went to a conference and the speaker said, “Write down your DREAMS. A dream is NOT a goal. A dream is much bigger than a goal. If you know HOW to accomplish your ‘dreams’, then it is NOT a dream, it is a goal. A dream should be outside of your current knowledge of what steps you would need to take to make it happen. If you feel that you can figure out HOW to accomplish this, then it is NOT a dream.”
“Well, then,” I thought, “I don’t have any dreams because I feel like I can figure out how to make anything I want to come true.” After all, that was my special talent—paving a way to making things happen, no matter what.
But, as life will do, a light was shined directly on my blind spot. I was speaking at an event and someone asked me what my current goals are. “To open myself up to receive $437 million dollars,” is what I heard my mouth say. Say, WHAT?? Where did that come from? I started to panic as I spoke because that was not a goal of mine. How could I ever come up with $437 million dollars??
For the next few days, I tossed that idea back and forth. I pulled out my calculator on several occasions trying to wrap my mind around the hugeness of that number. I told myself, “Well, I didn’t mean to say that so I don’t have to follow through with that goal.” But why had those words rolled off of my tongue so easily? Surely, there was something that I needed to learn here.
And then it hit me! I do NOT have any idea whatsoever of HOW to draw $437 million dollars into my life. So, I decided to make that my dream. What I realized next may be hard for me to explain in writing, but I will try. See, I always believed that I could do anything that I put my mind to. What I did not realize is that I only put my mind to things that I believed I could do. Did you catch that? It is such a subtle conundrum that it was invisible to me. To make it plain, I might set a goal to run a marathon which would take work and dedication to accomplish. But, it would never occur to me to set a goal to WIN a marathon, partly because I don’t believe that I could actually run fast enough to win. So, yes, I am confident that I can do anything that I set my mind to do, partly because I was only setting my mind to do things that I knew I could do.
This one realization opened me up to an entire new world of possibilities. I don’t have to dream based on what my perceived limits are. If I take the limits off, then what is it that I would love to do, be or have?? And, the answer became crystal clear for me. I will tell you more about the lesson that I learned in Part 2 of this article. In the meantime, can you take the limits off? What are your dreams?