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How To Think And Act To Realize Your Dreams

How To Think And Act To Realize Your Dreams

The idea of pursuing our dreams can bring up either excitement or anguish in most of us. For a lot of us, those dreams we had as kids when it felt like we could do anything and be anyone, are long extinguished. Settling down in the humdrum of life has led us to give up on our true path to happiness.

That’s not to say the life you have now isn’t making you happy but should you settle for just okay? Perhaps you went the safe route with your job – after all you have a family to support; you can’t go chasing after frivolous dreams. Your parents wouldn’t support you to start the career that you felt so passionate about so you went and got the safe job that does nothing for you? Perhaps you’ve hit a time in your life where you start to re-evaluate your path and what truly makes you happy but you’re not quite sure what to do or where to begin?

For many people realizing their dreams is hard because both mindset and action can be difficult to put into motion. We’ve lived so long not pursuing our dreams so from our comfort zones we look out and see a world of fear, rejection, failure and what ifs. If you feel this is you – you’re longing to pursue your passions and realize your dreams, then this can be achieved with a change in mindset and a good strategy. Follow these steps to get the wheels in motion and pursue those long-forgotten dreams.

1. Adjust Your Mindset to Realize Your Dreams

This is probably the number one inhibitor of dreams – the mindset. Whatever your mindset is tuned to will determine whether or not you can achieve your dreams. It determines how you think and behave and ultimately how successful you will be. There are many negative mindsets that we develop over time and stick with us either out of fear or lack of understanding. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, then it’s time to change your way of thinking.

  • Believing you can’t achieve your dream: The number one dream-squashing mindset. Falsely believing that your dreams are out of reach is usually a product of low self-esteem and fear manifested as excuses. Realize that YOU CAN achieve your dream – you are no different to anyone else who has experienced achievement and courage to go after what they want in life.
  • Your dream is about validation rather than true happiness: Going after a dream that is all about you – recognition, getting rich or even famous – is a big no-no. This is showing your focus is all wrong and you are most likely pursuing a dream that is trying to heal deep-rooted issues. Find something that has a pure motivation behind it and don’t make it about others or status.
  • It won’t require much work or growth on your part: Realizing your dream can be an exciting prospect but it’s important to understand that it may take a lot of effort and growth both on the inside and the outside. Be prepared to fight for what you want and put yourself out there – don’t let fear get the better of you because most of the time fear is just an unjustified emotion based on ideas and past experiences that don’t hold water anymore.
  • Only see the opportunities directly related to your dream: Sometimes opportunities will present themselves but aren’t quite what we want or we feel they are beneath us and our dream. Saying no closes potential paths to exciting places; ones that will take you to realizing your dream. Be prepared to have a mindset that supports saying yes to all opportunities and stop limiting your potential.

2. Identify What Your Dreams Are

For many of us we have an idea of wanting to do something different with our lives but are unsure of exactly what it is. You may have found yourself unemployed and wanting to take this opportunity to finally go after your dream but don’t quite know what it is.

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Ask yourself this question: ideally, if you could choose any path and dream you wanted what would it be?

The key to this question is to relax, ask it to yourself without any pressure and see what comes up. Choose to trust your gut feelings and don’t dismiss anything as silly or unattainable – this is a true insight into what would make you truly happy and once your mindset is in check then you can start to believe that this could happen for you.

For me, when I asked myself this question, I couldn’t give any answers other than I wanted to do something creative. Once that was in my head I noticed more and more instances where writing came up and it planted the seed. I eventually realized I decided that becoming a writer was something I wanted to pursue.

3. Deal With Your Limiting Beliefs

Your limiting beliefs are the thoughts and ideas in your head that justify why you can’t achieve your dreams. They will usually manifest as “but I don’t have the financial security to just follow my dream”, “I’m too old now, there’s no point”, “I’ve never managed to achieve much in my life before so I can’t see how this is going to work out”.

These are damaging and usually come out of fear and lack of trust in yourself. When these come up, try and analyze why they are there. Are they real or are they just created out of fear? Many people who achieve their dreams have made a leap of faith quashing their pesky limiting beliefs – feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Try and find examples in your life or someone you admire to show you that these limiting beliefs aren’t actually true; there’s nothing standing in your way other than your own mind.

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And yes, I came up with ALL these when I first toyed with the idea of making a career out of writing so you aren’t alone!

4. Don’t Listen To Negativity or Opinions That Counteract Yours

There will always be people who will not support your dream – unfortunately this will be a lot more people than you wish it was. But understand that people have their own ideas and thoughts built on their own fears and ways of looking at things and this doesn’t mean they are right. If someone is being negative or unsupportive then accept this and remove yourself from speaking to them about your plans. Instead find people who are excited for you, supportive and believe you will succeed – this will help push you towards your dream and make it a reality.

I came across a lot of opinions and negativity about how I’ll struggle as a writer and it’s not financially secure – why would you want to choose that kind of life? But I chose not to listen to or read negative things – I set my sights on what I wanted to do and solidified my reasons for doing it in my own mind.

5. Don’t Bow To Social Pressures

In relation to the last point, so many of us live our lives due to societal ideas, beliefs and pressures. We live in a world saturated with messages about what we should do. The idea that you should have a safe and stable job and be married with children is a world-wide social pressure. We are made to believe that these things will bring us ultimate happiness but this isn’t the case for everyone. Chasing our dreams is often looked as as irresponsible but who gets the right to say that to you? If you want to pursue a career as a writer rather than sitting on a desk at a reception then you should have the right to do it no matter what people will think or say!

We often use the excuse to live a safe and comfortable life to justify dismissing our dreams. If you find yourself feeling unhappy and frustrated with your current life – that it’s being ruled by other people’s expectations then it’s time to take action.

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Having a career change in my 30s wasn’t exactly ideal according to society. Instead I should have been settled down, making the big money even if it’s in a boring job. But at the end of the day, it’s my life and this is your life – only you get to say what happens in it and realize your dreams.

6. Create A Plan Moving Forward

So you’ve sorted out your mindset, said no to the social pressures and naysayers and decided to take control of your life and realized you deserve to make yourself happy! Now is the time to come up with a plan. Take small steps and start with some research – find people who have done the same thing and look for potential ways to start the ball rolling.

When I realized I wanted to become a writer, I had no idea where to start or if it was truly possible but I didn’t put any pressure on myself. I looked around online and found stories and ideas that reinforced in my mind that this was achievable. I invested in a daily program that took me through the steps to set myself up as a freelancer and built up my confidence.

It’s really important to take small steps to get your mind around the idea that this is possible. Small, achievable steps = more confidence which will take you on your way to realizing your dream.

List any anticipated problems that could arise and how you will deal with, and overcome them. Having a good plan in place will quash any fears of the unknown and give you a sense of comfort.

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7. Don’t Give Up!!

It won’t always be easy (although with the right attitude and planning it can be) so if you come across hurdles, negative talk or opinions and general fears that will crop up from time to time (we are human after all!) then whatever you do don’t give up.

I’m still on my journey to becoming a writer and I still don’t even know where it’ll take me but I know I’m on the right path and following my dream. At the end of the day, life is about your own happiness so go and do what makes you happy.

There are many inspirational people out there who have managed to go out and grab their dreams. If you need any more motivation then check out 9 Famous People Who Will Inspire You To Never Give Up On Your Dreams.

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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