How to Get the Life You Want
Ask yourself: Are you ready to reach for something really huge that you never thought you could accomplish?
Write a book or go back to school or renovate your home or start a volunteer
Your dream is a capital-B big one—and it feels like a mountain you're not
sure you can climb. "These are 'wouldn't it be great if...' dreams,"
says Fortgang. "What's difficult about them is that people get tripped up
by the 'how.' It's such a huge undertaking that you feel like you need to know
how to do the whole thing from the get-go—and because you can't see the end,
you think you don't know how to start."
That's what happened to 40-year-old Cate Colburn-Smith of Boulder, CO, who
sat on the idea for her book, The Milk Memos, for two years before she
finally went ahead and decided to do something about it. "I thought it
would be impossible because I didn't know anything about publishing," she
says. "But the experience taught me that it's okay to just start doing the
work before you really know what you're doing." To jump right in:
Step 1: Hunt and gather.
Get your hands on any info you can find about what it'll take to attain your
goal. Read online, check out books and magazines, investigate courses and local
adult-education centers and colleges, and talk to people who've done what you
want to do. Don't know anyone with "connections"? Call associations
that represent the subject area that interests you (if you want to become a
massage therapist, call the American Massage Therapy Association) or visit
businesses related to your dream (Want a horticulture degree? Chat up the
salesperson at your local garden center). "This is a confidence-builder
because it helps squash the feeling that you need to know it all from the
outset," says Fortgang.
Step 2: Tackle your fear.
When you're embarking on something huge that you've never done before, it's
completely natural to be scared. "You're out on a limb without a net and
you don't know what the outcome will be," says Fortgang. Keep your nerves
under control by having an "anchor"—a tangible reminder of your goal
that you can refer to when you start to wonder why the heck you're putting
yourself through all this. That anchor might be anything from a mission
statement that you write in your journal, to an object you keep on your desk,
to a person (your husband, your sister, a close friend) you can turn to for
encouragement whenever you need it.