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Ten Strategies to Transform Your Dreams into Reality

Ten Strategies to Transform Your Dreams into Reality

Many of us live for our dreams. Oftentimes they are what keep us going. Our dreams are embedded into us from when we are small children. We don’t have them by coincidence and more importantly, the precious dreams in us are meant to be realised.

Here are ten strategies to transform your dreams into reality.

1. Be honest.

The truth shall set you free: free from worries, guilt, or anything that’s been holding you back from achieving your dreams. At any given time you can become honest with yourself by committing to the truth. It may hurt your feelings but it will change you forever. Be real with yourself if you want to make your dreams real. If there’s something about your character that you’re not happy with, look for ways to improve it.

For example if you’ve been struggling financially, admit to yourself that you’ve made some mistakes and are not in the best position, but straightaway look for ideas to emerge from that situation. It could be phoning your bank in order to obtain some guidance. Whatever the case may be, if you become truthful the world will become more helpful.  At times being honest is not easy, but if you can master it I believe that you will excel at everything else.

“Honesty is the first step to prosperity.” – Michael Demadema

2. Do the little things first.

Oftentimes it’s the little things that can stand in the way of achieving the bigger things. Maybe you need to take out the trash that’s been sitting for the past week. Maybe you been putting off arranging your clothes in an orderly manner. (I know I have!) Or maybe you’ve been meaning to reach out to someone. Take care of business. Do the little things first because success is in the small details.

To accomplish our dreams let’s focus on mastering the baby steps. Getting better at the small steps will set us up for the big strides to come!

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“Taking baby steps each day is a lot better than standing still every day.” – Michael Demadema

3. Get ready.

You have to set up yourself for the greatness that you yearn to achieve. How? By planning for it. Before each article I write I spend time planning. It could be a rough plan on my phone, but I create a map of what angle my articles will take.

Planning validates your goals. It shows that you are serious about becoming successful. Planning is all around us. Today millions of people planned their journeys to work, what to have for lunch, or what to buy their loved ones for their birthdays.

Imagine your dream is build your own mansion. For you to build this house you have to sit down and analyse the costs and the money that you can raise. When you plan for it you are connecting reality to your dreams. You are connecting costs, projected revenue, and the time schedule with your aim- your dream.

4. Plant right.

Since we plant seeds of success or failure every day, we need to fix our intentions on the right type of seed. To experience your dreams you need to plant the right thoughts, words, and actions. What are the right seeds to plant each day? That depends on who you intend to become in the next six months or year. I love to challenge myself by asking this simple question: “Are my thoughts, words, and actions in line with who I intend to become and where I intend to go?” Each day we are becoming someone by going in a certain direction but how often do we stop and consider whether or not this is what we want for our lives? If you want to transform your deepest desires into reality, you must get intentional with everything.

“Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others exists in you.” – Zig Ziglar

5. Pay the price for your dreams.

Your dreams have a price tag. Paying the price is the sacrifice. I consider sacrifice to be giving up something in order to gain something else. Ask yourself often, “What must I give up in order to gain what I desire?” It could be that you need to give up some sleep in order to get that project done quicker. Or maybe you need to give up watching that programme in order to spend more time with your loved ones. Look around you and write down the things to let go of and the things that you want in return. As humans our consciences are integral parts of ourselves. These epicentres know what we should and shouldn’t do in order to achieve our dreams.

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You don’t get without letting go. You don’t receive without giving. From today, pay the price required for dreams to evolve into reality. Pay the price today in order to achieve your dream tomorrow.

“Success is like a cake: to get a bigger slice you have to pay a bigger price.” – Michael Demadema

6. Never settle.

Always be thankful, but never settle. Settling for something is a sure-fire way to trigger complacency and laziness. Keep grinding. Keep believing. Keep improving. The world is always on the lookout for the next innovative product, the next superstar, and the next big business venture. That could be you!

I’ve found that it’s easy to settle for the mediocrity that we see around us or settle because of what naysayers tell us, but settling guarantees that dreams will not come true. In life there are traps to force us to become less than who we want to become. We think being less or having less is a sign of humility but there’s nothing humble about settling for averageness. If you can dream it you can do it!

It’s time to force yourself to seek the best in life. Don’t worry about what they will say because whether you do well or poorly, give up or try again, follow your dreams or succumb to mediocrity, there will always be critics.

“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than what you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

7. Serve people.

Whatever the dream, there’s no doubt in my mind that you will need people. The great thing is that someone out there needs you as much as you need them. They need you to share your dreams, your gifts, and your talents. Look to fix problems through your dreams.

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Write down the people you are looking to help. Jot down your ideal customers or clients. Write down who you want to reach with your music, your book, or your services. At your work place get together with your colleagues and brainstorm what’s good about your team and what’s not so good. Look to achieve greatness wherever you are.

You shouldn’t just serve the people directly connected to your goals; you should serve everyone in between. A lot of people want to be presidents, CEOs, managers, captains, or prefects but they fix their intentions on the wrong way of living. To build leadership that lasts you have to place your needs last. People will help you transform your dreams into a reality but you have to help the world first.

 8. Overcome excuses.

There’s no time to throw yourself a pity party. Every moment counts! Excuses are your biggest adversity. Many people go about their lives with an army of excuses so that it’s become natural for them to write off their dreams or dreams of others. A lot of us have a mental excuses list. I urge you to form your own executions list. For every “I can’t do this” excuse, write down beside it “I can do this because I am equipped with all I need in order to succeed”; “I am talented”; “The good work that has been started inside of me shall be completed”. Speak and challenge any excuses!

I’ve realised that we will always find what we are looking for. If you’re focused on why things will fail or why you cannot do something, a plethora of reasons are available. Thankfully, if you were to do the opposite and meditate on executions your mind will amass the tools for you to fulfill your potential.

“The world is tired of excuses; it’s ready for more results.” – Michael Demadema

9. Go through the process.

Don’t wish for attaining your goals to be easy. Wish for it to be worthwhile.

Maybe you’re going through an uncertain time and you’re not sure if you will ever reach your dreams. In everything we do there are certain processes or steps we need to take to get somewhere.

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Any setback is a sign for you to step up. It could be fear, ill-health, or lack of resources, but use those processes wisely. Step up your thinking and the way you speak about your life. If you can handle the failure, the fear, or the illness, the world will reward you with more of what you want.  No matter where you are today, I believe that you are able to grow and mature through anything you may be facing. When we look back at our lives we will recognise poignant moments as times when we took hold of our dreams by monumental decision-making. You will remember the day, the month, and the year that you made the life-changing decision to follow your dreams.

10. Act it out.

Every moment of the day is an opportunity to act out your goals. (I started writing this article on a bus.) Sing like the greatest singer to ever grace the planet. If your aim is to become an expert in your field, start studying with so much zest that it looks like you are already a knowledgeable individual. How about you go and test drive the car of your dreams? When you act out your dream you must do so with fearless faith because herein lies the spark to produce stupendous results. Faith is an action, and your level of faith will decide how often you act out your dreams.

“You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

Conclusion

The goodness on the inside must be transferred to the outside. Your dreams have to be bigger than you. People may forget your name but they should never forget your dream. Always remember that the first part of our dreams is the part when we think about them every day and the second part is when we go about attaining them. May this article fuel your burning desires!

Michael Demadema

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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