Remember to dream: it’s a simple but powerful concept, but one that is often overlooked.
Sometimes there will be days that will leave you tired. Of those days, there will be moments when you are so exhausted that you will wonder: “why am I even doing this”? Thoughts of leading a simpler life will look very appealing. Why are you choosing such a hard path to follow?
In moments like this, when you can’t even remember why you are doing what you do. When you can not even remember your purpose as to why its important. Why you are going so far and pushing yourself to learn, to develop, to create. It is in moments like these – which will come up, even if they haven’t so far – that you need to have something to fall back on. Something that will remind you of your purpose, your why.
I think these lulls happen in our motivation because we are completely out of energy. Enough so that our minds start to think of old paths that get the job of survival done – in an easier and simpler fashion.
But the old ways aren’t going to change the world. They will not make life better for yourself or for other people. Your vision is important and in order to stay on track with it, you need to have it written down. Then, in your moments of doubt, you have something to build you back up again.
So when the dark of the night gives way to a new day, you have the motivation and inner strength to get up and make a difference.
It’s easy to say just to write down your vision. But let me elaborate on how I do this, as I almost gave up on my vision and myself a few weeks ago.
Thinking of Giving Up
Feeling deflated, time is always marching on relentlessly. There is always something more to learn: there is always something more to do. I had a particularly challenging day learning some Angular* concepts. By midnight, I had gone over the course section material twice, then a few more times per module, but I still wasn’t getting it. I struggled to apply what I had learned to the assignment project.
It was Sunday night; I had spent the whole weekend learning – or trying to learn. I’d spent more hours than I care to admit to, working on my blog, learning, practicing drawing, planning, scheduling, household chores, comic writing and so on. And Monday had already begun.
Crawling into bed, the warm glow of the bedside light was gentle to my bleary eyes. Thoughts of a simpler, 9 to 5 job swam before me. I’d done it before, and it was all right. Why wouldn’t I go back? It wouldn’t be that hard. I wouldn’t have to learn any more code. My free time would not only exist again, but I’d be able to use it for other things.
No. This isn’t right. I realised I was at a serious down point from exhaustion and frustration. I couldn’t go to sleep like this. Thankfully, there was foresight early on in my business and I had made a recording. A recording which was just me, talking, enthusiastically about my business ideas. The plans I had.
The hope and aspiration in my voice was tantalising. I wanted to be like that, too. Closing my eyes as I lay in bed, letting past-me talk myself back into the dream.
I outlined the purpose. Speaking of our (present-me, past-me, future-me) reasons why, followed by why our reasons where important, to us and to others, followed by more connecting reasons of what I and loved ones would get out of the success of the business.
Not only did this recording rekindle my hope in my dream, it encouraged me. I could not dishonour this version of me, so full of aspirations. I smiled as I fell asleep, knowing that when dawn came I would be ready for it once again.
Remind Yourself Why
As it worked well for me, I would like to recommend that you create a similar reminder. It could be a recording, it could be a video, it could be a letter. Just make sure you detail to yourself:
- Why – your purpose
- Why the why matters – your impact scope
- How you are going to realise the why – your method or path to success
- Why the why is awesome – detail desired results, maybe think unique selling point
- The benefits of your vision – benefits of success for your customer, your loved ones and you
A lot of what you will talk about will be related to your goals, mission and values. It’s important to think about these things also, and write them down as concisely and descriptively as possible. Then it’s making it a whole lot more personally by speaking to yourself, a future you, and encouraging yourself to keep going.
You can take this a step further if you are doubting that it should be you to carry the dream forward. Remind yourself that no one will care about it the same way you do. If it’s dropped, by you or whomever you throw the idea to, how will the world be worse off without it? By and large, you have an idea which was developed in response to a problem or a gap you have noticed. Inherently, then, the world will be worse off if you do not follow through.
*I’m sorry if Angular is supposed to be easy, I agree it’s somewhat more manageable as a framework than building all on your own (which I tried first) but I still find it a real challenge. I suppose it’s the learning a new way of thinking about problems, the way a computer does, that is really challenging.