Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Got it?

Now quick…write down the five things you would MOST want to accomplish if anything was possible.

Don’t think about it.

Maine Beach

Just write whatever comes to your mind. You have 30 seconds for the list (not for each one.)

At the end of 30 seconds, stop where you are, even if you don’t have five things listed yet.

OK, time’s up.

Now flip that paper over.  Now write down the three big dreams you have for your life in the real world. No fair crossing out or putting it off until later.

Just write down three dreams you have for YOUR life.  Stop after 30 seconds, no matter how many you’ve written down.

Look at your paper. If you’re like most people who have done this exercise, you have two or three on your “if anything was possible” list. And maybe one on your real life list.

Yup, for most of us, our dreams, the very things that are supposed to be directing our path in life — simply don’t exist. Or at least, they don’t exist in a way that allows us to define them clearly on a piece of paper when some crazy lady tells you to write them down in 30 seconds!

So why that matters….

If you can’t clearly define what it is you dream about doing, there is very little chance you’ll actually do it. Because without dreams, it’s hard to set meaningful goals. And without goals…well, you know the way that road goes.

Don’t despair!

You are not alone!  Remember I said that most people can’t write down their dreams under pressure. Lots of us can’t write down anything!  But you can change that. You can turn that blank paper into a guide to your next steps. There are lots of ways to do that.

  • You can set aside some “just you” time to daydream and imagine where your life might go
  • You can start with your interests and talents and build on them to see what dreams come to mind (taking classes to expand your talents is a great tool for this.)
  • You can watch other people who are living their dreams to see how they got from point A to point B, and then apply those lessons to your own life
  • You can attend conferences or gatherings of people who want to see you find your dreams…and realize them. (MomCom2014 is a great example of this!*)
  • You can find a mentor who can help you identify your dreams, and follow them by setting goals and going for them
  • You can find a community of like-minded women who can help each other reach for their dreams, and keep them accountable along the way
  • You can just jump in with both feet and go for whatever you wrote down (or tried to write down), and see where you end up. It just might be beyond where you hoped!

Whatever method you chose, it’s a good idea to repeat the 30 second exercise every six months or so. See where you are. Keep track of the changes in what you write down, and how many dreams you can list. I think you’ll be amazed as the paper fills up!

*At MomCom 2014, we love having speakers who have followed a dream and achieved something amazing. No, we aren’t talking about the miracle success story. We’re talking about ordinary, hard-working moms who have grabbed a dream, set goals and made it to a point where it all become possible.  

This year, among our big dreamers we have Yasmin Diallo Turk, a mom who went from GED to PhD, and head of a major relief charity reaching women and children in war-torn regions of the world.  We’re also excited about hearing from Bridget Dunlap,  the one-woman dynamo who went from bartender and waitress to the force behind the Rainey Street revitalization.  The stage…and the tables throughout the room will be filled with even more dreamers of dreams. It might be a great place to find your own next-step in life, too.