I often joke that it takes years to become an overnight success. But it starts with a dream. My dream was to own a factory. I wasn’t even sure what kind of product I’d make, or exactly where it would be. But I pictured myself walking the factory floor, talking to workers. The pile of broken-down machines I bought might have looked more like a nightmare at the time. But dreams come true – with a lot of wide-awake work.
Here are my ABCs for reaching your dreams.
A is for attitude. It is absolutely essential that you have a positive mental attitude in every aspect of life.
B is for believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals. It doesn’t matter if they say you can’t do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it.
C is for creativity. Your dream might not even be original. You can start with an existing idea, product or service, and then use your innovative skills to take it to a new level.
D is for determination, what keeps us hammering away. Determined people possess the stamina and courage to pursue their ambitions despite criticism, ridicule or unfavorable circumstances.
E is for enthusiasm. You should be so pumped about your dream that you won’t take no for an answer. Get excited about what you can accomplish.
F is for focus. Don’t let distractions and interruptions undermine your focus. Keep your eye on the prize.
G is for goal. Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day. Goals tend to tap the deeper resources and draw the best out of life.
H is for hard work. Be prepared to work long and hard to make your dreams come true. You might lose some sleep achieving your dreams, but rest assured, it will be worth it.
I is for imagination. As you explore possibilities, give your mind some space to wander to new territory.
J is for just do it! Ideas don’t work unless you do.
K is for keep dreaming. Often times one idea will lead to another and then another. Watch your dreams grow.
L is for learn everything that is important to you. Take classes, find mentors, search online – there’s a world of information available just waiting for you.
M is for mentors. Connect with successful people, even if they are not in your chosen field. Pick their brains and find out how they achieved their dreams.
N is for no. Know when to say no, we need to try a new approach.
O is for open mind. Consider options that could improve your ideas and make adjustments as needed.
P is for perfection. In your dreams, your concept is perfect. Work out the kinks, shake out the wrinkles, and keep trying until you can’t do any better.
Q is for question. Ask the right questions, and not only will you get good information, you will get it sooner and tailored to your needs.
R is for results. As I often say, they don’t pay off on effort, they pay off on results. Your dream may take some time to achieve, but until you produce results, it’s still just a dream.
S is for strategy. A strategy connects where you are and where you want to go. Do something every day that puts you a step closer to achieving the dream.
T is for tenacity. Take control of your own destiny. It helps to have a little bulldog in you to achieve your dreams.
U is for unique. Lots of people may have the same dream as you, but you are unique in your ability, desire and knowledge.
V is for visualize your dreams. I believe that visualization is one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. If seeing is believing, visualizing is achieving.
W is for what’s next. When you have realized your dream, start dreaming again.
X is for experience. Use your own experience to generate ideas and solutions.
Y is for YOUR dreams. Make sure you are not chasing someone else’s dreams.
Z is for ZZZs – a great place to start dreaming.
Mackay’s Moral: May all your dreams come true.
Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.
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