Longing for Change? How to Turn Nothing into Something

I love Jim Rohn and recently came across a collection of CDs (his "Weekend Seminar ") that I bought and listened to while I was living in Mexico, around six years ago.

It’s always a good idea to go back to a classic – whether it’s an audio program, video or a great book – as great ideas stand the test of time. As a bonus, as you get older and wiser you’ll appreciate and be able to apply the wisdom much more effectively. I’ve grown so much since 2006 that it’s like I’m listening to these CDs for the first time, which is awesome.

In the audio program I was listening to on my way home today, Rohn shared his thoughts on the three key steps required to "Turn Nothing into Something". I’ll share them with you here, as well some thoughts of my own on how to achieve a goal you dream of.

Jim Rohn’s 3 steps to creating Something:

1) Imagination

According to Rohn, "Imagination is the ability to see things that don’t yet exist". The word YET is what matters most here. The attitude and belief that what you’re imagining WILL come to life one day, versus it just being a dream, is critical.

2) Faith

As I mentioned above, it’s important to feel confident that what you dream of is possible, and that it’s only a matter of time until it becomes tangible. Rohn encourages you to strengthen your faith through "your own testimony": look back at your life at things that you’ve accomplished, obstacles you’ve triumphed over, miracles you’ve pulled off, and remind yourself that "I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again!"

You can also strengthen your faith in the achievability of your dream by studying the testimonials of others who you admire who have accomplished what you’d like to see in your life. If they’ve done it, so can you!

3) Deposit faith and imagination into discipline and activity

Another great quote from Rohn: "Wisdom uninvested in labour is wasted." Unused ideas that never take tangible form gather dust and don’t ultimately get us anywhere. I never lack for ideas, in fact I seem to almost have too many of them. This year I’m determined to finally get to where I dream of going with my life and career, and so far "diligence" is my word for the year. My lack of discipline and consistent goal-oriented activity has been (up until now) the number one thing standing between me and my biggest dreams. There’s a good chance that that’s your greatest obstacle too.

So now that you’re ready to actively imagine yourself achieving your dream, are believing that it can become reality, and are ready to take some serious action, here are some suggested steps which I use all the time when helping coaching clients (and myself) to make some serious headway:

1) Write it down

Get your dream on paper. Describe it vividly. Have a special book where you write down dreams and goals, be sure to date the entries, and then have FUN later looking back and putting triumphant check marks next to your dreams as time goes by.

2) Protect your dream carefully

There are very few people I mention my dreams to, especially the big dreams. I avoid dreamkillers obsessively; people who are likely to pour doom and gloom all over your dreams shouldn’t get to hear them, period. Consider hiring a coach who you can share your goals with and will keep you accountable on taking steps. But before you hire them, chat with them and make sure that this person believes in you and what you want to achieve. You want someone who is positive and enthusiastic, yet wise. They’ll cheer you on and help you believe in yourself, but will also speak up if they think you’re making poor choices or decisions.

3) Identify who you need to become in order to achieve the dream

If you dream of scaling Kilimanjaro, you will need to be fit and learn mountaineering skills. You may have to become someone who hikes regularly in your local mountains. You might have to save up a certain amount of money (and therefore need to change the way you earn or spend money) in order to be able to make the trip. Get clear about what you need to develop in order to be that triumphant person you see in your vision of your dream.

4) Identify the right next step

In order to become the person you’ve described above, what do you need to start doing? What’s the first and easiest thing you could implement into your life and check off your list? Once that’s in place, ask yourself what’s next and do that. .

5) Silence the voice of doom and gloom

I was just talking to a coaching client today about the nemesis she has living inside her mind, always speaking up and squashing her hopes and dreams before she manages to put them into action. We all have this inner voice, and you need to learn to both anticipate it and ignore it. See Rohn’s second point about having practical reasons for faith; use that faith to shut that negative voice up and keep going.

6) Surround Yourself with Positive Influence

It’s amazing what happens when you deliberately surround yourself with positive sources of motivation. I’ve found that listening to great wisdom like Rohn’s in the car, instead of the radio, has a huge impact. I also carry motivating reading material with me. Today when I went to the dentist I brought a great business magazine with me that I’ve been meaning to read, instead of reading the celebrity-focused stuff that’s usually in the waiting room. I had to wait an extra ten minutes before my appointment and learned some great things during that short spurt of reading, I’m still thinking about those valuable nuggets hours afterwards. Also focus on hanging out socially with doers and idea people, rather than complainers or people who just passively slide along through life.

7) Keep your eyes open

Another quote I love from Rohn is "When you move toward something, it moves towards you". I always tell clients to keep their eyes open once they commit to a dream and start taking steps toward it. People and opportunities that are related to their dream or goal will quickly start to show up; it’s important to expect them so that you recognize them when they appear. It’s not a coincidence!

8) Act on opportunities

This is the key switch you have to flip to make the intangible tangible. Having done all the previous steps you will be feeling great about your possibilities and very likely will be amazed at the panoramas that are opening up in front of you. But if you don’t act on opportunities as they show up, your dream will die a slow but guaranteed death. If your dream is to climb Kilimanjaro and you "coincidentally" meet someone the next week who did, get their number or email and arrange to meet for coffee. And don’t find an excuse to cancel, please. Yes, I know you’re scared that it’s starting to "really happen". That’s normal.

9) Do what you need to do

Beyond acting on opportunities that arise (which can be inherently motivational as it’s just so fun when they show up), you need to acknowledge the key things that you need to do to make your dream happen, and just DO them. Become very aware of what your most important result-producing actions are. Be careful not to get sucked into excess information gathering and other non-productive "busy" activities that don’t really move you forward.

Act. Do the big stuff. Sooner than later. Then write me and tell me all about your dream when it comes true for you! I can’t wait to hear about it. I’d also love to hear about your dreams, and what you’re going to do about them now – tell me about it in the comment section below. (p.s. I’m so not a dreamkiller)

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One Comment

  1. Kate Klingensmmith says:

    Excellent post. Some of my favorite sayings are by Jim Rohn.

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