I live a very excited life, anticipating great things happening every day. I expect that my hopes and dreams will come true by the time the sun sets. Sometimes this is reasonable but all of the dreams that matter typically take longer than one rotation of the earth.
It has been said that a weed can grow up overnight but the oak takes a human lifetime to grow. This is also true for many of our dreams. We must learn patience as we strive to accomplish greatness. Like all things we must practice if we are to get better. Patience must be the most difficult of character traits to develop. We need it desperately; but we must wait for it. While this is not natural for me here are some tips that will enable you to wait just a little bit longer.
Take Action/ Don’t just dream
I met a man who had big dreams. He raced around town meeting with different folks and engaged in conversation about his dream. Passion and energy surrounded his presentation of the possible results. This passion was totally contagious. Honestly his ideas were brilliant and could really come together to positively impact not just individuals but entire neighborhoods. Nearly everyone that he came in contact got swept up in his dream.
After each meeting he would promise to come back with a few more answers and a more detailed plan as well as graphics for the needed promotions. There would be discussions of a follow up meeting. A week would go by, then a month and nothing would be heard. He would not answer his phone or respond to emails. Many believed that he had vanished. Usually about three months later he would call and come back with a different vision. This one was just as brilliant as the first one. When asked about what happened with the first vision he would reply that he got busy and he was on to something new now. He had been so busy talking about his dream that he never took the time to focus and make his dreams come true. It is certain that he would have gotten the needed support.
However, now he was seen as flakey and as a man who never completed what he would begin. I know that, for me, his new endeavor was much more difficult to get excited about. Over the years I have gotten excited about many projects and committees only to be disappointed because every month there would be conversations and great ideas but nothing ever came of the discussions. When pressed I would be told to be patient. That was not patience! That was laziness.
We can accomplish nothing without action. Those actions can be meetings but eventually the team must come out of the huddle and play the game. How long would you watch a football game if the teams went into huddles and the game never got going? Take action toward your dreams. That might include study, conversations, experimentation or taking surveys. Investigate where others have tried the same sorts of things. Do something. Action will take away that anxiety of waiting for the glorious day where your event or life comes to pass.
Keep the big picture in mind
The journey to dreams that matter is often long and full of obstacles with many divergent paths toward your goals. Discouragement is always an enemy. I have often thought, “Wow this is harder than it should be.” To be honest nearly every run and nearly every project had a point where I had the thought that I should simply quit. Keeping the big picture in mind can help you push through those moments. Not quitting is exciting and motivating for the next time out.
Remembering that I want to be able to dance at my 50th wedding anniversary in just 31 years helps make that possible in the moment. Doing maintenance around the house and the fourth trip to the hardware store I debate calling a professional. But I think of the fact that one of my goals is to be independent. I press on and ultimately I finish the repairs and usually learn some things along the way. This even helps when I am dealing with irritating folks.
I remember who I want to be and the character that I want to show. This keeps me from blowing my top and saying or doing something foolish. The key here is to capture your ultimate dream. Write out your ultimate dream, think about it often, draw a picture if needed. I read of a young man that wanted to play major league baseball for the New York Yankees.
At eleven years old he had a picture taken of him with a Yankee uniform on and had that on his mirror on the day that he was drafted by the Yankees. Do what you can to envision yourself in the middle of your ultimate dream. What are the smells, the tastes and the sights? Who is there and what are you feeling. The more reality you put in your destination the better. Keeping your mind on the destination and you will build grit and patience.
Look for a taste of the dream
Along the way you are likely to get a little taste of the dream. When I was a Battery Executive Officer in the Army there was a short three weeks where the Battery Commander was out of commission due to an injury. He was totally out so I was in charge for three weeks.
Those three weeks taught me all that I did not know about being a commander. It gave me enough of a taste to let me know what areas that I still needed to develop as a leader. That little taste gave me the patience to press on for another two years.
Take time to meet someone who is already doing what you want to do or living in the neighborhood that you want to live in. Watch movies that inspire you and help you to feel like you are living your dream. That will give you the patience to wait just a little longer for your dream to come true.
Your dream is valuable to our world. It will come to pass when the time is right. Be patient but don’t just sit and wait. Waiting will drive you insane. Take action. When you feel stalled or even off track remember the big picture.
That picture should be vivid enough to motivate you through the mundane and boring parts of moving toward your dream. Look for some little taste of what you want to do or be. That taste can satisfy enough to help you last much longer.