Thursday, August 22, 2013

Turning Dreams Into Reality: The 7 Lessons I’ve Learned

Turning Dreams Into Reality: The 7 Lessons I've Learned

In 1995, I was engaged to a guy who wasn't very nice. I believe that every person comes into your life for a reason, though, and his reason had to do with introducing me to Laguna Beach. He brought me to the Surf & Sand Resort on New Year's Eve 1995, and on New Year's Day, I wrote a "resolution" that I would eventually move to Laguna Beach. Even in that short, overnight visit, I knew I'd come home.

The first action to take when you've pictured your dream: Record it in writing.

Five years later, a big company transferred me to San Diego to help them revamp a large website. It was a three-year contract, but eight months later, having completed the assignment, I turned in my resignation to skip back across the line to entrepreneurship. On my way from the office to my house, I called Bob Proctor to tell him the news. He asked my plans, and I said, "I'm not sure, but I'm not ready to move back to Denver yet."

"Where do you want to live?" he asked

"Well, I'd LOVE to live in Laguna Beach, but it's SO expensive."

…Silence greeted me on the other side. I knew I had just said the worst possible thing to the man who preaches that nothing is impossible unless YOU make it so. Finally, he said, "Diane."

I winced, waiting.

"I want you to drive to Laguna Beach right now. Find one of those places where you can rent a mailbox and start forwarding your mail. Today."

So, I did.

The other thing I've learned about having a dream: ACT on the darn thing, even in just a small way, as if you EXPECT it to happen.  

Two weeks later an email arrived in my "in" box from someone I had absolutely no connection to. Completely out of the blue. They were renting their cottage in Laguna Beach for the winter.

Three weeks later, I was a resident of Laguna Beach.

In the years that have followed, Laguna Beach has continually proven a magical "vortex" for me. When I needed to find a larger home for me and my beloved Merlin (a Great Pyrenees), the dream happened in the form of a tiny "For Rent" sign next to a mailbox.

(Next hint on fulfilling a dream: Actively look in all the usual places, but be open to it showing up in an unexpected way.)

When I decided it was time to move to the beach, I had my famous Bob Proctor Goal Card written out and was searching fruitlessly for months. One evening, a friend and I trotted down to my favorite beach for a picnic and, having no knowledge of my search for a beach condo, he looked up at the condo complex looming above us and said, "Wouldn't it be awesome to live in THAT place?"

I couldn't believe I had never noticed this place before. With the image of that condo complex in my head, I revised my Goal Card that night.

(Another lesson learned: Slight revisions to the dream are OK. Dropping the dream completely, not OK.)

The next morning, I called the management, asking if rentals were available. She assured me no new rentals had opened up there for years. Two DAYS later, I saw a new, tiny "For Rent" sign on the side of the highway and knew it would lead me to that very same complex. It did, and I was moving into this magnificent place weeks later.

The magic continued again when I decided it was time to move above into the penthouse.

The magic continued again when, in 2008, I decided to start writing a blog – LagunaBeachBest.com – and, in mere months, I had collected thousands of subscribed readers. Two years later, having written hundreds of blog entries, I announced that I was going to create the first "travel guide" for Laguna Beach and call it Laguna Beach's Best.

So, here's one problem with having a dream: When you talk OUT LOUD about acting on your dream, eventually every friend who's heard you drone on and on about your PLAN to act on your dream begins to ask you for an ETA.

Initially, my announcement had been met with raucous approval from friends far and wide. After all, how hard could this be? Since 1989, I've been writing, editing and finishing books for budding authors and famous people. Since 1995 – eighteen years – I've had an agency of genius talents helping me do everything else for books, from cover design and layout to websites and marketing materials. Piece of cake.

For two years, I TALKED and PLANNED and TALKED some more … And, by Christmas last year, my raucous supporters were beginning to turn on me. The question, "When's the book going to be done?" began to pepper me like those "mine-mine-mine" seagulls in the movie, Finding Nemo.

In March this year, I reluctantly pulled up to the "Book Starting Line." I rallied a single troop – Patti Knoles – the most patient, amazing book designer in the universe. She readily agreed and vroomed up next to me, tires smoking, engine gunning, grinning over at me. What could I do? I couldn't back down now. She was already asking for the back cover copy, for criminy's sake.

That's when the terrible realization about having a dream hit me …

Once you make your "Declaration of the Dream," God/the angels/the Universe are going to be peeling rubber ahead of you, halfway to the first turn while you're still idling at the START line. The Universe is like that - it's not much for excuses when it's time to lock and load a dream you keep blabbering on about.

Granted, you have every right to TRY to put a governor on that Universe. Over the last few months, I tried a few tactics (aka: excuses) of my own … I was too busy with my clients to work on my own stuff … travel guides require so much fact checking … I had to re-take larger photos of many of the entities … the print bids were ghastly sums.

At that last excuse, I sent an email to Patti. This was costing too much money, I didn't have it in the coffers, and we should just shelve the book until 2014.

I pictured her sitting there at her computer, halfway through the design of the book with the biggest sections still looming. She could have said to herself, "Good. I'm tired of this book. Good decision."

I waited on the other side, computer humming, watching my email, wondering how long it would be before she would respond. Three minutes later, she wrote, "I'm going to keep working on the book. It's a great book, Diane. It'll work out."

The most important fact I learned that very moment about dreams: When you see someone faltering on their dream, believe in it for them.

I remember years ago, when I had talked about reaching what appeared to be an unfathomable dream, Bob Proctor told me, "Diane, if you don't believe in this dream of yours, I'll believe in it for you."

For years, I've told client after client the same. They hit that Terror Barrier; they hit that fear, and they start to back away, scrabbling back to what they know, what's comfortable. Who needs a dream anyway? And I tell them that I believe, that my team believes, and we always bring that person through to the other side.

One person believed in my dream more than I did at that moment. And at that very moment, everything changed.

Two questions I leave you with:

1.     What are you doing to act on your dream?

2.     Whose dream can you believe in today?

What you do – or don't do – will change everything.

Diane Armitage

As an Internet strategist, writer and website creator for global entities and renowned motivational speakers.

Edited by: Lawyer Asad

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