How To Break Down Your Big Dreams Into Smaller Steps
Back in February I taught one of my “Make Money Your Honey” workshops to 250 women. At the end of the call I invited them to sign up for a coaching session so I could better serve them and their business goals.
I did about 50 coaching sessions and saw a common theme throughout: many of these women held very big dreams and visions for their businesses but were having difficulty breaking it down into smaller steps.
One woman in particular exemplified this perfectly. She expressed to me how she knows with every ounce of her being that she is meant to do great work and will succeed, but she is finding the day-to-day tasks extremely difficult as she learns how to build a business.
Big Dreams . . . Small Steps
Many coaches and leaders talk about how difficult it is for people to have big dreams, and to a certain extent, this is very true. People often times feel like they need permission in order to want what they want.
But what I’ve come to notice not just as a coach, but also a business owner and thought leader, is that once you allow yourself to dream big another problem arises: not knowing how to break down your big dreams into tangible steps.
If you’ve always got your eye on the big picture it can be difficult to stay grounded in the day-to-day activities. Holding a vision is one thing, having your head in the clouds is a whole other thing.
I know this feeling well. I spent many years in the space where I knew I was meant to do something big. I knew I’d eventually be able to quit my job and work for myself full time. I knew I’d be successful. But I couldn’t really figure out how to get there. I wanted to jump from A to Z and couldn’t figure out the steps in between. What would end up happening was stalled action and minimal results. This makes perfect sense because business is not about using your left brain or right brain. It is a balance of the right and left brain, you can have all the vision you want but if you don’t have strategy and structure you’re not going very far.
I eventually hired a business coach to help me through this. With time and experience running my own company, I’ve also gotten much better about staying grounded as I work toward my big vision. Use some of these tips to help you break down your own big dreams into tangible steps.
Step 1: Create a massive mind-map of your big vision
After my book launched in early 2014 I was having a major case of not being grounded. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do next, I just knew I had a big vision for my company.
I had no strategy, no way to measure anything and no clear steps laid out before me. I also had so many interests and ideas that it was hard for me to really get organized.
My brain went crazy coming up with new ideas.
- Should I create group coaching?
- Oh, what about a live event?
- Licensing also seemed like a good idea.
- But which should I do first?
- Is there an order to things? Should I do them all at once?
- Does it need to be related to the book?
As you can see my mind was going a mile-a-minute. I knew I had to hire my coach again and she helped me calm down with an exercise I’m about to share with you.
I challenge you to create a mind-map of your vision. Put your company name (or your name if you don’t have a company name yet) in the middle and create a web with different bubbles. Do not edit yourself! This is the part where you can go wild!
I personally used Bubbl.us to create a map online, but a sheet of paper will do just fine. The point is for you to write out your vision and see the different components of it in front of you. This helps your brain start organizing the different parts instead of having it all jumbled up in your mind.
You’ll also want to save this somewhere because you’ll be able to refer back to it again and again as your dream starts to come into fruition.
Step 2: Find your one next logical step
Once you’ve created your mind-map you can start creating a plan. There are a few ways you can do this but I prefer finding the components that are both easy and result in money. The reason I like to do it this way is because we have bills to pay.
For example, for me creating a group coaching course based off the book was both easy (content was already created) and would lead to money. So that was my next logical step.
Had I gone with creating a live event it would have been far more difficult and wouldn’t have led to me being able to pay for my expenses soon enough. Besides, after coaching groups it would then be easier to create an event. See what I mean?
Now, if you are at the very beginning stages your first step may be more along the lines of creating a website or finding a mentor. That’s completely okay. The point is to identify your next logical step according to whatever stage your are in.
Step 3: Break your next step into smaller goals
Once you have your next logical step it’s time to break that into smaller goals. I encourage you to keep it simple and broad here, otherwise you may overwhelm yourself.
For instance, if your next logical step is to find a mentor, then your
- First goal may be to research mentors in your field.
- The next goal would be to reach out to them.
- The last goal would be to pick one to start working with.
And that’s it! Just three simple steps! Truth be told most of our ambitions can be broken into three or four basic steps so try not to come up with any more than that.
Step 4: Remember to leave room for flexibility
Leaving room for flexibility is important because things change as we gain more experience and learn new information. So while you may want your vision to look a certain way now, keep in mind it may change later on down the road.
For instance, I launched a group coaching course but I’m not hosting a big live event yet. As I gained more experience, learned new information and my values changed, I realized I would much rather focus on writing (which is easy and leads to money).
Oftentimes people create plans and rigidly stick to them even when it’s clear that they shouldn’t. In order to avoid this, leave some space for flexibility and changes down the road. You may not want the same things five years from now and that is completely okay.
Final Thoughts on big dreams and small steps
Even if we are able to break down our big dreams into smaller steps on our own sometimes, it’s beneficial to have a little extra help, particularly from someone who isn’t as attached to your business as you are. If you feel this may be the case for your situation I highly encourage you to seek out a coach and mentor.
A coach can keep you accountable, teach you from their experience and remind you to leave some wiggle room. It will definitely cut the learning curve in half.