Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
A dream doesn’t hurt. It fuels your focus, gives you grit, and carries you toward milestones; but a dream can hurt when we make this destructive mistake: deferral.
It takes effort to realize big ideas. It takes action steps and tools to see what you are hoping for! I know it well. As a marketing manager, my job is to take people from reaching for the stars, so to speak, to having them in their hands.
When This Awful Little Thing Comes Along
I help entrepreneurs and wellness pros craft goals and create tactical plans to reach those goals. But then a little thing called distraction comes, and we start taking steps in wild directions.
It’s a problem.
And, it’s a common one. Dreams can also be deferred because:
Our imagination runs wild with preconceived negative outcomes – we don’t act out of fear of those imaginary outcomes
We overthink and refuse to take any action because it won't be perfect, immmediately
We find a way to belittle and ignore the advice to take the action in the first place (too much time sitting with a big idea will do this)
Here’s the truth
The opportunity cost of not doing what you know you should be doing is higher than you think.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neurologist and author, explains in several of her books that when you believe and say that you are going to do something, but you don’t actually do it, it literally causes brain damage.
Cognitive dissonance (a conflict in your mind) is harmful.
Now, not only is your amazing dream not being realized, but your inaction is causing injury!
That’s not good, friend.
Question: What have you not been doing that you know you should be doing?
That’s a problem
That’s cognitive dissonance
What we Don't Want, Want, and Need
When it comes down to it, it’s really a lack of integrity. That’s not who we want to be. (That’s like being a yoga instructor who doesn’t ever do a downward facing dog.) If we want to be stable, principled and honest, we need to do the things we know we should be doing.
OK, so, yes. I need to take some sort of action, but I’ve been stuck in fear, overthinking or second guessing mode. What should I do?? I NEED HELP!
Alright, friend. Take a breath.
I completely understand, AND it’s not really your fault. Think of whatever is stopping you from taking action as a habit you learned somewhere along the way to help you, but it's not helpful, anymore. Inaction and overthinking are not helpful, anymore.
We’re tossing out the old and outdated habits to make room for the new.
Four Steps to Avoid a Dream Deferred
These four steps I’ve laid out are incredibly helpful in avoiding inaction.
Step one: Decide to Reach Forward and Take Action
To decide means that you are cutting a deal, forsaking the idea of continuing in your outdated habits of inaction and internal conflict, and forsaking the opportunities you could be taking instead of the action you need to take (we call these shiny objects).
Decide to take action. Turn away from the idea that you are not going to do the thing. Reach forward and resolve to do it. I’m not asking you to do it, I’m just asking you to make the choice. Really, at the end of the day, you still haven’t decided to take action. If you had, you would have taken the action.
Need to build your email list?
Decide to do one thing that will move you toward that goal
Need to post more on social?
Decide to repost someone else's post!
Need to organize your files?
Decide to google or look up on Pinterest best practices for doing so
Stop the cycle of conflict and paralyzation. Make some decisions on what actions you need to take and then move to number two!
Step Two: Make a ‘two-do’ List
During a group meeting the other day, my friend explained the freedom he’s found in creating what we now call a ‘two-do’ list.
I love to-do lists. They allow me to release the things that need to get done and be in the moment. If something comes up, I add it to the list with a date and a time to remind me of it and I don’t think about it again.
So, Nick, my friend from the meeting, realized that some things on his to-do list have a hard deadline, and some things do not. Every night, he creates two lists. One list contains the tasks that absolutely need to get done that day and the other list contains tasks he would like to get done, but can wait until another day.
This method gives him flexibility but also accountability. It allows him to take the actions that are necessary, gives him the gratification of checking it off the list and the option to do more if he is up for it, but doesn’t force him to do unnecessary work.
Like I said, I find to-do lists extremely helpful. I also find myself changing timelines, often. That’s ok! We want to go with the flow (emphasis on the GO) which brings me to number three.
(I personally use google tasks as it syncs up nicely with my calendar on all of my devices)
Step Three: Go With the Flow
The other day, I was on my computer attending a webinar with a content creation genius teaching us about copywriting and content creation. She mentioned that we should create when we’re motivated and have an energy that should be shared. She said that if you’re stressed, negative, or tired, don’t create … but I thought, ‘what if I’m never motivated or inspired? What if it’s been two months and I’m just internally exhausted and none of the things I want to get done are getting done?’
So, I asked her. “What’s your strategy for pushing out content when you’re super unmotivated for long periods of time?”
She said rest. Take care of yourself, first. If there’s something in the way of your success or pulling you away from being the best version of yourself, you need to address it, first, because whatever we resist will persist.
So, what’s keeping you unmotivated or uninspired? Who can help you address it and navigate healing?
If you ARE motivated and inspired, then run with it!
Write three blog posts
Take 20 photos,
Record three videos
Fill in your marketing calendar
DO the things when you are motivated. However, if you’re in a season where you need rest, you have permission to rest.
Step Four: Get Support or Accountability
Relationships are everything. If you know you need help or support for any of these things (deciding to take action, getting your to-do list done, assessing and addressing what’s holding you back) then seek help.
There are people out there who’s entire careers exist to solve your problems.
Right now, I have more than a dozen people whom I meet with almost every week in a variety of roles to support me. We were created for community. We were made for love, and wanting the best for someone else is a form of love! Reach out to the right people, and they will love to help you.
Ask your people to keep you accountable, to listen to you and your toxic thoughts if they are qualified to help, to hear about your big dream and to support you in making it reality.
What you think of most, grows. So, keep it positive.
Overthinking is actually paralyzing fear. No need.
The world needs what you have to offer. Your dream is worthy pursuing.
Stop the cycle. Take the first step toward you big dream. Reach out and keep growing!
Renee M Valle
MBA, BA, Certified Business Analyst, RYT-200hr
Owner, Local Bee Marketing
p.s. if you need accountability, help or support, schedule a meeting with me, here! I love helping people reach their goals effortlessly.