Does Your Dream Scare You - Pinterest pinToday we’re talking about big dreams how to make them less intimidating. So the question I have for you today is this: does your dream scare you? Does the thought of the merest possibility of you actually manifesting this dream into your reality frighten you? Do you feel a sense of panic when you really put yourself into that vision and see yourself living that kind of life?

One of my favourite quotes comes from Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who said that “if your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”. But for a lot of people, the fear associated with living their biggest dreams is enough to keep them from ever getting started on it at all. They worry about whether they’ll be able to handle the changes that their dream will bring if they are successful, and this is particularly true for people who have really big dreams that could completely change their lives.

Your fears are normal

This kind of fear of success is normal. Many, many people deal with it — it’s so common that I have a whole chapter dedicated to it in my new book, fearLESS: How to Conquer Your Fear, Stop Playing Small, and Start Living an Extraordinary Life You Love. You can check that out at if you want to learn more.

Boost your odds of #success: Turn your big dream into a project! #jedimindtricks #psychology Click To Tweet

But today I wanted to talk about one simple technique that you can use to help reduce the intimidation factor that so often gets associated with big dreams. And that is to turn your dream into a project. It’s simple, but it’s effective. And it works for two reasons:

  1. There’s a mental shift that occurs when you stop thinking about “my big dream” and start thinking about “my project”, instead. It takes the pressure off because it makes it all seem less intense. It’s no longer some great big thing that will change your life – it’s just another thing you need to work on.
  2. A project is something you can deal with; you can approach it logically, figure out the milestones and stages that will need to be completed in order to achieve the end goal. You can plan out the steps and the action items and fit them into a schedule. You can deal with it in smaller pieces rather than being overwhelmed by “THE DREAM”.

How to turn your dream into a project

So how do you go about turning that big dream of yours into a project? I’ve got three little steps to help you do it.

Step 1: Give Your Project a Title

Take some time to think about your dream, and come up with a project title for it. You can choose either a descriptive title encapsulates what you’re trying to achieve, or you can have some fun with this and give your project a code name.

For example, if your dream is to launch your own business so you can quit your job, then you could either give it a descriptive name like “Business Launch Project” or you can code name it “Project Freedom” or “Project Mongoose” or whatever appeals to you and makes you want to work on it.

Step 2: Break it Down

Once you’ve given your project a name, grab yourself a pen and some paper and chart it out. What are the main milestones or stages that will be necessary for the completion of this project? Following through from out previous example, if you wanted to launch a business, some of the things you might need to do could be to:

  • decide what the business will do,
  • decide on the legal structure and then register the business,
  • build a website,
  • create your first product or service package,
  • figure out how to reach your ideal clients

Don’t worry about logical order or timing of any of these steps right now. Just brainstorm and write down all the big things that you think will need to happen in order to achieve the larger project.

Step3: Plan it Out

Once you’ve got your list of milestones created, spend some time putting those items into order (which stages have to happen before others, which ones can be done at the same time, etc.). This will give you a good idea of what pieces you need to work on first.

Once your list is ordered, then start breaking those milestones down into smaller action items. What specific steps will you need to take in order to achieve the milestone? Start adding these specific action items into your planner or agenda and commit to doing them. In fact – pick one to do today and kick yourself into motion!

Consistent action is key

Once you’ve got your project all planned out, committing yourself to actually doing your action items is critical. Your follow-through will determine your project’s success or failure. Start thinking of yourself as the project manager and make it a point to stay on top of this project and see it through!

Essentially, turning your dream into a project reduces the psychological pressure by turning your dream into something you want to “do” rather than something that will change your whole life. You’re still going to have to deal with those changes, of course, but you’re looking at the dream on a micro level rather than a macro level. Sometimes, letting go of the bigger picture in favour of zooming your focus into the smaller elements of the whole can help you to overcome your fears.

photo credit: cc (modified by me)

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