Going after your dreams with short-term strategies
Don’t ignore your dream
Have you ever had a big wild dream of what the future could be like? I bet it felt awesome imagining how much better life would be in this new reality.
But I bet something happened quickly after that dream popped in your head. You probably started to shut the dream down and brush it off as just that - a dream. You probably don’t plan to really pursue it.
And let me tell you, that would be a shame.
I think the reason we shy away from those big dreams is because we aren’t quite ready to move in that direction. And that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about them now.
Let me teach you what to do with these dreams so the chances of them actually becoming a reality are higher. I’m going to tell you about my client, Sue, who laid out both short-term strategies and long-term dreams in a way that got her excited and really thinking about the future in a way she hadn’t thought possible before.
What’s your dream?
Let’s get that dream in your mind right now.
Maybe you imagine yourself managing a large and talented team that runs your successful empire. Maybe you’re a world-renowned speaker, a published author, a thought-leader in your industry. Maybe most of your income is generated passively through online courses or by being an affiliate instead of the time you spend working directly with clients.
Close your eyes (yep, really) and conjure up your dream up in your head. Think big. Think anything is possible.
Okay, now hold on to that, maybe even write it down and we’ll come back to it.
Sue’s Dream Business didn’t feel like a dream
Sue McLaughlin calls herself a Somatic Coach and does mind+body healing sessions through her business, Inner Source Living.
We were introduced through our personal trainers and grabbed coffee to chat about life as entrepreneurs (and I had been thinking about hiring someone like her). She’d already been in business a number of years, yet when we first met, she told me she found it challenging and draining to build a client base and wasn’t sure what to do about it.
Together we identified that this likely stemmed from not having a clear direction on who she really wanted to work with, the work she really enjoyed doing with them, nor strategies for getting them to come back time and time again.
When she started Inner Source Living, she thought she was starting her dream business, yet it didn’t feel like a dream right now. She wasn’t reaching her goals and knew she needed help figuring out what to do with her business. She decided to book a Strategy Intensive with me to figure it all out.
Always start with who you want to serve
Sue has worked with many types of people - those with physical ailments, kids, young professionals, couples, and beyond. However, we discovered in our session that she was most drawn to working with leaders who are business managers or small business owners.
These people struggle with balancing work and life, extreme stress, managing a business, and often experience relationship tension, time management problems, and putting themselves last because of their work situation.
She felt passionate about using her mind+body work to help these people and that by doing so, she’d also have a positive effect indirectly on the families and employees of these leaders. That felt awesome and exciting to her.
Defining the dream
Next, we brainstormed how to solve for this new ideal client’s needs. We came up with a gigantic list and as we sorted through them, we discovered that she had a long-term dream to be completely done working 1:1 with clients.
Her dream was to shift her work to education (books, speaking, courses, company programs) along with building into a new generation of holistic practitioners (training, certification programs, a holistic healing center).
This long-term dream would allow her the freedom and flexibility to live her ideal lifestyle, have a broader impact, make more money, and pass along her wisdom.
Defining the short-term strategy
The dream felt awesome, but scary and really far out.
But there was a second pattern that emerged. In the short-term, Sue did want to work 1:1 with this new ideal client. She was excited to serve this specific group and wasn’t ready to stop doing the healing work directly.
Doing the 1:1 work with this clientele a little longer would allow her to learn even more about how to best serve their needs specifically and to build up more experience and credibility doing it (which will only help her accomplish the long-term dream).
With this new ideal client in mind, it became easier to think of places to find them in bulk - large companies, incubators, accelerators, coworking spaces, membership groups, and graduate and PhD programs. Once she niched down, I also thought of a bunch of people I could refer to her - that hadn’t happened before when she was for everyone.
Even though this group was a smaller portion of the population, Sue started to see how niching down could actually bring her more business (and enjoy it more too).
Connecting the dream and the short-term strategy
Together, we wrote an inspiring and guiding mission statement and vision statement that will help Sue not only take action now, but also keep the dream top of mind. That way, when she’s ready, she can go after her dream more directly, pursuing her mission and vision on a greater scale.
If you just discount the dream and ignore it completely, it will be hard to be intentional about moving in the right direction and the long-term dream will become reality.
Don’t get me wrong, when you do this, thinking about your big dream will still feel a little unnerving. If it didn’t, I would say that maybe you’re not dreaming big enough.
But by dreaming big and then thinking about how you can push yourself a little bit in the short-term, you start being able to connect the dots. You start to see how your short-term work can start to get you to your long-term dream.
Sue’s short-term strategy supports her dream
For Sue, working specifically with her new ideal client will help her develop the experience, credibility, and thought-leadership she needs to educate this group on a larger scale through books, speaking, and courses. This will in-turn give her the authority to develop the next generation of experts in her field.
By doing it this way, Sue told me, I left with something that felt, tangible and achievable! Her excitement for me added to my confidence, too!
She knew she was close to being on the right path of what she was meant to do, but had trouble placing the remaining puzzle pieces to see the big picture. She filled those gaps, giving her a clearer direction... and the answers [she] was looking for.
Now that Sue has her long-term dream and her short-term strategy laid out (that supports the long-term dream), her next steps are to go after her new ideal client: leaders who are business managers or small business owners. She’s working on new messaging for her website and materials that will specifically speak to them - explaining how she can solve for their unique needs.
For you, dream big, and think about what you want in the short-term. Does your short-term push you in the right direction of your dream? If it does, you should be able to write a mission statement and vision statement that works for both the short-term strategy and the long-term dream.
Then, start working on the short-term strategy while always keeping the dream in sight.
How to write a mission statement
Check out my free download, How to Write a Killer Mission Statement (with examples) to do this. You can download it for free below.
One of the best ways to ensure your dream becomes a reality someday is to tell people about it. It might feel audacious. You may feel unworthy. But you have what it takes inside of you, you just have to be brave enough to go after it. Because if not you, then who?! Everyone who ever did anything important was a human being just like you and I.
I’d love to hear about your short-term strategy and long-term dreams. Post about them in the comments!
Curious what my dreams are? Read about them in this post.
I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you build a kick-ass business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.
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