How to decide where you want to go

Getting started on a journey is the toughest part. The first part of the Dream Into It Roadmap separates those who will from those who won’t. Let’s find out right away which group you belong to.

There are a ton of resources aimed at helping a person identify who they are and what they want to do. In ancient times, Socrates insisted that one must “Know thyself,” and Quintilian, the famous Roman orator, was positive that focus, simplicity, and clarity are the keys to success.

When I first began this work, the vocational question was, “What color is your parachute?” Later on, Tony Robbins urged us to take control of our lives by awakening “the giant within.”

Stephen Covey entered the fray with, “First things first,” and his colleague, Hyrum Smith, set us on a search for our “governing values.”

Others have talked about finding your passion, knowing your purpose, writing a life mission statement, being the best you can be, setting big goals, and creating the life you love.

It can get confusing out there, can’t it? All of the pundits offers some good advice—but whose advice to take, and how to enact it?

As part of a project I was working on for one of the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers, I revisited every self-development program that I had ever attempted, and I studied many more that I had missed. I invested months of research in that work, and I studied until a light came on: There was one principle that they all acknowledged, one principle that seemed to be the hinge pin… and it goes like this:

Something that thrills you may bore me to tears—and my main desire might sound like your worst nightmare.

Fitting a square peg into a round hole is seldom a good idea. Many of us waste years of our life trying to be someone we are not, and others settle for just a reflection of what could be.

Our primary mistake is that we mistakenly attempt to live a life that will please others (impossible), rather than to go after the life that is our own.
The flip side of that coin is a bit more difficult to see: Those who are severely hurt and let down by others can turn to rebellion as a way of life—even to the point of denying their own deepest desires.

After all, we are brought up to please others, aren’t we? To head in our own direction is to “make Mommy and Daddy sad.” To think differently than the crowd is to “disrupt the meeting” or to risk being counted as “not part of the team.”

By the time we have left the teenage years, it is likely that our youthful Dream, our God-given picture of who we are, is either so covered up by conformity that it is no longer recognizable, or has turned into a destructive vendetta to show the world who is boss.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Most folks can still recall the basics of who they are and where they want to go. They still know what they really want—they just don’t believe it is possible, so their Dream gets filed away in the basement of their consciousness like a discarded jacket.

Here’s the deal: In order to access the power of The Roadturn Principles, you will need to risk digging your Dream out of storage, taking a look at it, and brushing it off with a few basic exercises. (By the way, if your Dream doesn’t fit anymore, you can trade it in for a new one.)

We are going to keep the process very simple, but you do need to set aside some time to do the hardest work there is: Focused thinking. This first exercise will require fifteen minutes, more or less.

When you’re ready, let’s get started…

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