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8 Ways To Switch From A Dreamer To A Doer

8 Ways To Switch From A Dreamer To A Doer

A lot of people can categorize themselves as a dreamer; very few fall into the “doer” category. That’s a shame, because the dreamers are wasting their time thinking what if instead of telling the world what’s what. Their are a few steps they can follow that will get them closer to fulfilling their ambitions. Below are eight ways you can change from a dreamer into a doer.

1. Map out the big picture

A dreamer can’t get anywhere they really want to go without a roadmap to guide them. Draft a detailed plan of what you want to accomplish over the next day, week, month, year, two years, five years and maybe even further. List only accomplishments that are in your power to achieve. Getting a novel published by HarperCollins is not in your power. Finishing a manuscript that you’re happy with is.

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2. Set reasonable expectations for yourself

Don’t expect to have that novel finished in a month. Even if you’re doing NaMoWriMo, plan to do some heavy, heavy rewriting before it’s ready to show someone else. The key with setting expectations for yourself is hitting that sweet spot where you’re motivated to work quickly and not depressed because you can’t keep up with your self-imposed schedule.

3. Set deadlines

You don’t need to have that novel finished in a month, but you do need to have a fairly specific idea of when you’ll have it done. Even if it’s not up to snuff yet, at least get to the point where you get to write “The End.” You can always, and should always, revise it later.

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4. Seek out motivators

A dreamer can motivate themselves by surrounding themselves with other motivated people. You’ll be eager compete with their lofty ambitions, which will help you deliver better work faster. If you surround yourself with losers you’ll end up in last place like the rest of them. If your friends are winners then you might become one, too. Continuing the author example, find good writers and associate them as much as possible.

5. Learn new skills

One of the major things holding a dreamer back, other than himself or herself, is their lack of knowledge about the subjects that pertain to their ambitions. Do everything you can do beef up on necessary information for your industry. As Stephen King says, not only does a good writer write; he reads, too. If you’re a writer, read the books like the one that quote is from, On Writing, as well as ones teaching you the fundamentals like The Writer’s Journey and the real deep stuff with something like Story by Robert McKee. There’s likely something equivalent to those masterpieces if you’re on a different career path. Go out find them.

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6. Get some experience

Just like an aspiring writer benefits from some experience in the publishing industry, so can you benefit by getting your feet wet in your field. If you’re casing a dream career then you’re probably not going to be paid for it right away, and that should be okay with you. A dreamer can’t be a chooser.

7. Pick yourself back up when you’re knocked down

Just like a novelist almost always has at least one manuscript rejected, so should you prepare to fail before you succeed. It’s never really a disaster if you’re learning from the experience and actively improving. You’ve got time to propel yourself to where you want to be, so you shouldn’t expect or need everything to happen right away. If you’re already a doer and not just a dreamer, you should be able to take pride in that alone.

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8. Know when to let go

While you shouldn’t rush to defeat, neither should you be too slow to wave the white flag. Not every job is for every person, even if it’s in a field that you love. If that becomes clear, you need to accept that your favorite thing might not be the thing you’re best at. You became a doer rather than a dreamer once; you can do it again with something new.

Featured photo credit: dreamer/mehmet nevzat erdoğan via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Freelance Writer, Marketer

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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