What to Do When Your Dream Feels Too Big

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It is time to take stock of our lives, reevaluate our dreams and goals as we make peace with what we haven’t done and take steps towards our new expanded vision. This post is by Janet Cranford


In my last post I wrote about how to take an old dream and bring it to life. One of my readers sent me an email afterward, asking:

“But what do you do when that dream starts to feel too big? I’m so ready to move forward, but I keep feeling overwhelmed.”
 
Maybe you can relate to this.

You started out with a clear picture of what you want. You’re feeling positive and optimistic about where you’re headed. You’ve even begun taking some concrete steps forward.

But then something happens. You have a setback or two. Your self-doubts and fears kick in. Whatever it is, you end up feeling overwhelmed by the immensity of your dream and all the things you need to do to make it happen. Your dream starts to feel like much more than you can handle.

What’s worse, you start believing that you’re somehow inadequate and not up to the task.

It just seems easier to give it all up.

Why Dreams Become Overwhelming

An important part of any goal-setting process is creating a clear vision of what we want the end result to look like. This vision is what keeps us going.

Problem is, this vision can become too rigid.

We find ourselves wanting some sort of guarantee that our dreams will end up exactly the way we picture them now. We want to know what to expect going forward, what might go wrong, how things will play out along the way. We try so hard to control the outcome that when something new comes along – whether it’s an opportunity or a personal crisis – the entire dream gets blown away.

But… and be honest with yourself here… how many things in your life have turned out exactly the way you planned?
For the sake of your dream, decide that it will be OK if things don’t happen as smoothly or as quickly as you’d like. That you can’t know precisely where you’ll be at the end of the path you take.

Allow room for serendipity.

How You Can Keep Your Dream Alive

The best (and only) way to bring your dream back to size is to “ease” into it step by step. You won’t feel as overwhelmed when you concentrate on only one thing at a time.

I know this sounds simplistic, but it’s what works.

See your dream or vision as a work in progress.

The novelist George R.R. Martin said, “I know the ending in broad strokes. I don’t know every little twist and turn that will get me there.” Your dream is like that. Don’t insist on envisioning a detailed outcome. And avoid the temptation to look too far ahead at all that needs to be done. You can always tweak your goals to fit changing circumstances.

Share your dream carefully at first.

When you finally know what you want to do, you probably want nothing more than to shout it from the rooftops. But this is when your dream is at its most fragile. Criticism from other people, however well meaning, can be all it takes to stop you in your tracks. Consider keeping your intentions to yourself until you feel more confident.

Choose one very small goal.

Start with a small step that you can accomplish easily and within a short time frame. If you want to create an online business, for example, register a domain name (use your own name, for now). If you’re looking for a job, talk to one person who works in your area of interest. Just getting started can give you the motivation you need to keep going.

Complete that goal before even thinking of another.

Finish what’s in front of you before moving on. With each “small” success, you’ll feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. You’ll also start to feel better about yourself and your ability to finish things.

Continue to keep it manageable.

If your dream is important enough, if it stretches you enough, it’s going to feel too big at times. That’s simply the nature of dreams. But if you try for too much too soon, you’ll only end up frustrated.
Just keep your attention on that one step in front of you. The one you’ll be taking today. Then… before you realize it, you will have moved that much closer toward your dream.
If your dream has started to feel too big, what’s one tiny step you can take right now?

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