We all have dreams. From time to time many of us find ourselves imagining ourselves either doing something new or living somewhere different. These dreams needn’t be big life changing things, we could be talking about writing a short story or doing a simple bit of DIY.
However, by and large most people don’t take these ideas or dreams any further than their imagination. Why is that?
I’ve been speaking to a number of people recently about some of the projects I have on the go. The main one, building a new shed, always seems to elicit similar responses – “wow, I’d never be able to do this” or “how did you learn to do something like this?”
Honestly, I’m at a loss as to know how to answer them. To me it’s seems obvious.
For example, I need a shed. So I spend some time thinking about how I might answer that need then I commit to actually doing it.
The same was true of learning the difference between edible and non-edible wild mushrooms. I wanted to be able to pick wild mushrooms, so I did some research and came up with a strategy that enabled me to learn which ones were good to eat. Now I have mad mushroom picking skillz,
So I really struggle to understand why people can’t do some of the things they imagine they want to.
A friend of mine suggested that this is something a lot of people struggle with because of the fear that they will fail, or look foolish. Maybe this is where the way I work is different from some other people.
My upbringing was very hands off. My parents pretty much left me to my own devices. However both my mum and dad always seemed to be doing new things. Starting a business, building a extension, learning how to use printing presses, acting in amateur plays and so on.
My recollection is that they never seemed overly concerned with how they were perceived by others and they also never seemed to spend too much time agonising about whether they could actually do it. They just did it, and often worked out the details along the way.
My parents were people who just did stuff
My parents were people who just did stuff. Most of it worked in some way. Some of the things they did failed (my mum’s failure puddings were always a family treat) – but it never ended badly. They just did something else or tried again depending on whether the endeavour was that important to them.
When I speak to others about their upbringing I realise that many people are brought up with a fear of failure. Their parents, quite rightly, want them to succeed – however this can often translate into disapproval if the child doesn’t get it right. Criticizing a child for not getting things right, rather than praising the bravery of the endeavour can be very damaging, especially if that provides the backbeat of their upbringing.
Good enough is good enough.
Now I’m not sure how an adult who, because of their upbringing, fears failure or won’t start something unless they can guarantee success can learn how to be a little less concerned with perfection, but I think it starts by coming to the realisation that failure is how we learn and that good enough is good enough.
Every time I make something, cook something or even write something I learn from the bits of it I messed up. If I wasn’t OK with the knowledge that most of what I do is flawed, then I would never try anything. And that would really suck.
So here’s my 5 steps to achieving your dreams. Start small. Start with something that might take a couple of days. Who knows, in no time at all you could build up to jacking in your job and becoming a tree surgeon*
- Identify a need and imagine a solution
- Investigate how to achieve the solution
- Identify the initial steps (but don’t get too caught up in the detail)
- Take first step
- Continue until solution is achieved to your satisfaction
*Insert dream job here