#6 steps to making your dreams come true.

"Just haven't gotten that far..."
"Hard to work when you feel so disorganized..."
"Once I'm settled..."
Have you found yourself saying things like this? Are you describing things you know you should do or have wanted to but more urgent stuff has popped up?
You're not alone. Many an entrepreneur has struggled to put the important before the urgent. The important is the work that could allow you to launch a new project, make waves. The urgent is the stuff that feels like it needs to get done right this second; most urgent stuff is about meeting someone else's agenda, not your own.
The urgent stuff may be the stuff that's paying you immediately, but your investment of your time in the important is what's going to pay tenfold later. You've got to learn to put these things first.
In fact, I'm still learning to put these things first.
Right now, I'm working on a workbook to help entrepreneurs DIY their own thought leadership efforts. But getting tweets out for one client, editing several pieces of thought leadership content for another, and sending a crap-ton of emails all ate up my attention today and I haven't worked on the workbook yet.
The workbook is about 1/3 written as a Scrivener binder. (If you write books or other longer projects, I recommend Scrivener for drafting it! It makes it really easy to outline the project and see what's written and what isn't.)
The sooner I can finish it, the sooner I can get it out to people who might help me promote it, the sooner I can launch it, the sooner I can make a difference and hopefully some money. But getting random stuff done can sometimes seem more important.
This is a mistake in my thinking. Is it a mistake in yours?
The three phrases at the top of this post were all part of one Facebook chat session with a friend and fellow entrepreneur earlier today. She left her job earlier this summer and is working on launching a company. She's got a website up and products for sale -- it's a great start! But the things that will take her to the next level don't seem to be a priority for her right now.
She was telling me she hopes to send out newsletters "hopefully by September." I said she needs an opt-in offer to promote on her site and grow her list. She said she's got the idea for it and just hasn't gotten it done yet. I suggested she use a daily planner to help her keep on track and get stuff done. She said once she's settled (she moved a few days ago) she'll start using the one she thinks is packed away in a box somewhere.
I'm not sharing our conversation to pick on her, but to point out how often these things are said.
1. List Your Unfulfilled Dreams And Incomplete Projects
So what have you been putting off in your business, in your relationships, in your health, in your personal life in general? Write down your answers.
Be honest, reserve self-judgment and surprise yourself. Your "Action Items" should be things you might end one of two sentences with; those sentences are: "I would love to..." and "I should..." The things on your list might be the unfulfilled dreams of your childhood, plans you've put off making with friends, pouring out the art locked inside you and much more.
2. List The Thoughts and Circumstances That Have Stopped You
Next, go through the list. Why haven't you taken these actions? List every reason or excuse you've given. These obstacles and excuses are things you perceive as "real" or external as well as the internal.
My list would look like:
Action Item: Launch my thought leadership workbook.
Obstacles/Excuses: "I've gotta send this email." "It'll take two weeks to get this finished and I need to complete A to get paid by the end of the week." "What if I spend all this time on writing it, I launch it and then it doesn't sell?"

Action Item: Travel to Paris, France.
Obstacles/Excuses: I don't have the money. I am nervous because I've never been on a plane. I'm scared of getting lost trying to navigate this foreign city.

Action Item: Lose weight/get in better health.
Obstacles/Excuses: "I can't afford a noncancellable gym membership." "I don't like getting sweaty." I don't want to have to wait to see results. My boyfriend thinks I should get started by working out at home.

3. Review What You've Written
Read over the list. Are you feeling your stomach turn because you've put off so many things? Are you shocked at how many excuses you can come up with for not having done these things? I totally expect you are. I feel that way about my own list.
You can let this marinate, sit overnight, but get back to it within 24 hours.
4. Flip Each Obstacle & Excuse On Its Backside
Your next step is to go through each item and counter the listed obstacles and excuses.
For me, I might write (or think):
Action Item: Travel to Paris, France.
Obstacles/Excuses: I don't have the money. (Counter Thought: I could have the money if I started saving for it.) I am nervous because I've never been on a plane.(Counter Thought: I've taken trains and buses to places I've never been before and thought I felt nervous, I made it there safe and sound; I expect the same would be true of taking a plane to Paris.) I'm scared of getting lost trying to navigate this foreign city. (Counter Thought: I can carry a phrase book, ask for directions and maybe my greatest experiences in Paris would be had while trying to find my way back to the hotel.)

Everything is a choice. We can choose to overcome obstacles to achieve the great things we think we don't deserve or can't actually have. We can choose to believe that we deserve -- and can have -- anything we want. We can choose to recognize our fears and our excuses and to do the thing anyway. ("Feel the fear and do it anyway," like the title of Susan Jeffers' book says.)
5. Grind Away On Those Big Action Items To Find A Small First Step
Now that you've busted every excuse and bowled over every obstacle, let's make those action items more manageable. Let's break it into chunks or steps. What's the first step you can take toward making that action item a reality? Refine your action item into the most basic, low-pressure first step possible. Great first steps fall into several categories including gathering information, making a purchase and checking the calendar.
For me, my first steps on the three action items listed above would look like:
Action Item: Launch my thought leadership workbook.
First Step: Write the "Your Expertise" worksheet section of the workbook.

Action Item: Travel to Paris, France.
First Step: Pick a date (the day I want to leave for France) as a fundraising deadline.

Action Item: Lose weight/get in better health.
First Step: Buy a Shake Weight to start working out at home.

6. Check Off Your First (And Second, And Hundredth) Steps
Once you've made your list, start working on your first steps. Put them into your calendar or a to-do list app and set deadlines for yourself.
Take it a step further and find an accountability coach. For at least the really important stuff, tell your accountability partner what your goals, steps and deadlines are, and ask them for theirs. Keep each other consistent and achieving!
Or you can pay someone to keep you accountable by hiring a life or business coach.
Whatever you do to keep yourself on track, I promise you'll feel so much better when you get into the practice of recognizing when you're making excuses and mentally working through them to start making things happen.
I'm proud to report that I have taken all of the first steps outlined above in the last couple of weeks, and I'll keep busting my own excuses and taking action to live a happy life.
Blog post shared from Rosella LaFevre