So much has been written about the Millennial and that’s great. Each new generation must find their own way in the world, the way they see fit. Every generation has something unique to offer.
But just because you’ve made your way into other generations, doesn’t mean it’s time to go to pasture. It’s disheartening to hear people feel as if they can no longer achieve their dreams.
Dreams do not come with an expiration date.
Julia Child was almost 40 before she even learned how to cook. She enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu at age 37 and graduated at age 39. Her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was finally published after nine years of research and recipe testing. This happened when she was 49 and she launched her television career at age 51.
Novelist Elizabeth Jolley received a whopping 39 rejection letters in one year but was able to publish her first novel at age 56. She went on to publish 15 novels and four short story collections, all to great success.
Writer Mary Wesley was 71 when she published her first novel.
Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing as a columnist in her 40’s. Her popular Little House books weren’t written when she was a child at all. They were written and published when she was in her 60’s.
Harlan Sanders (Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken) was 66 when he began to promote his style of fried chicken that led to his fortune.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses (Grandma Moses) was one of the biggest names in American Folk Art and she didn’t start painting until she was 76. At age 88, Mademoiselle Magazine named Grandma Moses a “Young Woman of the Year.” Moses had developed arthritis by the age of 76, which made her hobby of embroidery painful. Her sister, Celestia, felt that painting would be easier for her, which led to her successful painting career.
Nelson Mandela was almost 76 when he was elected president of South Africa. He spent 27 years in prison and was released in 1990. Four years later, he was president.
The list of successes can go on and on. Remember, everybody has a story. Everybody has a passion but if you don’t take action, it won’t happen.
Age is an Attitude, Not a Number
Success can, and does, occur at any age. There’s no rule that says success has to occur before the age of 30. Trust me. I googled it and it’s just not there.
Today can be the day you define as the standard for your success. Future achievements are prepared for in the present moment. Where do you want to be one year from now? Use today as the today to set that plan into motion.
Dreams, Visions, and Wishes
Do you know what connects a dream to reality? Goals and a plan of action.It’s not quite as simple as wishing our dreams to come true but life is comprised of a series of wishes that are transformed into goals. Goals are like steps and every step we take gets us a bit closer to our desired results.
Turning Your Dream into Goals
Here’s the million dollar question.
What if your life stayed the same over the next five years with no new changes?
Would you be happy about that? If you don’t like the idea, remember that today’s dream is tomorrow’s reality. Revolutionary ideas are seldom born from the status quo and inactivity seldom leads to success.
1. Imagine Without Limitations
Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things.” Find a place without distractions and think.
Imagine that you are 80 years old. You’re happy and healthy. You are sitting outside watching an amazing sunset. As the sun dips for the evening, you start thinking about your life, the ideal life that you have led.
What does that ideal life look like?
Who are you as a person? What is it about you that people value?
What are your values?
What have you achieved? Where did you work? Where did you live?
What added meaning to your life and gave you a sense of fulfillment?
How did your life unfold in these areas: family, friends, significant other, career, and health, your emotional and spiritual wellbeing?
Where did you travel? What did you do for fun?
What advice would you pass on to a younger generation?
What is your purpose in life?
- What is your favorite memory in life?
What is your life story?
2. The Current Reality
Once you have answered all of the questions above, take a look at the questions and answer them again. This time answer them just as it is in the present day. Describe your life now. This is not an exercise to make you feel bad or inadequate.
You simply need a starting point.
You have to know where you are so you can get to where you want to be. This helps you chart that course.
3. Fill in the Gaps and Make Your Dream Successful
Grab a piece of paper or pull up Word or Excel. In one column list where you are now and in another column, list where you want to be. The area between the vision and reality are the gap areas. If you want to live your dream, you have to close the gap.
If you want to be successful, you have to set goals and develop a plan of action. Have both short-term and long-term goals so that over time you start to see more parts of your vision coming true. Then, one day, you will wake up and find that you are living your vision in real-time.
It’s not as hard as you might think to close the gap. Start with a plan that covers the next three to five years. For example, if you have envisioned obtaining your master’s degree, you have to diagram out a way to do that. How much money will it take? Which school? How long will it take? What type of schedule adjustments will you need to make? What will you study?
You have to plot out all of the action plans — or the step-by-step process — you will need to go through to meet this goal. For each of the envisioned goals, you will have to devise a plan. Once you do that, you are ready to go.
It’s one step at a time. One goal at a time until one day you wake up and you’re living your dream in real-time.
You have to start sometime, why not today?