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.
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.
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.
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.
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