Dreaming on Paper

That’s what writing is to me.

That’s what writing is to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing a blog post, a book on management (it’s finally finished!), or a fiction story. It’s all living a dream to me.

I rarely remember my real dreams. I may remember an emotion, a fleeting sense of happiness, or fear. But, what happened and who was in my dream? Rarely. I’m sure my subconscious mind has them all catalogued with a nice roadmap explaining their meaning. Writing lets my conscious mind tap into that reservoir, if only briefly.

It’s truly amazing to me how often I’ve started writing about one thing, and something completely different comes out on the paper (or Word file, as the case may be). Unlike regular dreams, I get to see these paper dreams unfold and take shape. I get to be the first person to read what happens in the story.

There’s something special about stories, whether fiction, non-fiction, or opinion. They are always there, waiting to be told, waiting to teach, waiting to challenge what we believe and know to be true. The writer finds a way to show the stories to us. I love uncovering the story.

Jeff Turner recently wrote a post about his writing and concluded, “I’m writing because I like seeing how my thoughts look as they pass through this medium of writing.  And I like standing at a distance and seeing how they look if you choose to allow them to pass through you.”

I couldn’t agree more. As our thoughts develop and pass through the written form, then into the reader’s mind, they engage, energize, and take on a life of their own.

When I opened my writing up for others to see, I learned, firsthand, the way one’s thoughts are received and shaped by others. Many times, someone will tell me about a connection or message they took from a blog post. The meaning they describe is often a bit different from what I had in mind while writing it. At first, I felt compelled to explain my thought process and help them see the “real” message. I quickly learned how wrong this was. The key was that my writing had caused them to think, to consider their own experience, and ascribe their own meaning. That’s all that mattered. Each person makes their own custom-designed interpretation.

They may also find nothing of value in my writing. They don’t connect with it at all. But, then they make a connection to their own thoughts. They take a moment to listen to themselves. They get to know themselves a little better. I’ll take that as a victory, even if they don’t connect to what I’ve written.

Our lives are filled with activities, schedules, distractions, movement, requirements, and reactions. Most of our own making. Cutting through all of this noise is the truest gift of writing—dreaming on paper.

Seven Steps to Creating Your Goalprint

People who buy shovels don’t want shovels…

There’s a classic quote in business:

People who buy shovels don’t want shovels.  They want to make holes, or fill in holes as quickly and easily as possible.

Chances are pretty good that you’re selling shovels to someone.  Or, maybe you dig the holes?

Either way, the planning, the shovel, the digging, and the hole itself are all merely steps along the way to achieving someone’s goals.

Your goals?  Maybe…that all depends on whether you know what your goals are.

The funny thing about goals is that no one has the same goals.  They may share some, or agree on goals to pursue together.  But, no two people have the exact same goals.

Each of us has a goalprint as unique as our fingerprint.  It captures our passions, our dreams, and the specific goals we’ve laid out for our lives.  Partially-developed goalprints live in our subconscious mind, until we take the time to bring them into our conscious mind and fully define them.

Consciously defining our unique goalprint isn’t easy.  Nothing worthwhile ever is.

Here are the seven steps for creating and living your personal goalprint:

1.  Define five things you are most passionate about, and how you plan to center your life around these passions over the next five years.  Not willing to focus your life on this list of passions?  Maybe these aren’t really your passions.

2.  Define at least seven things you plan to experience over the next ten years.  A quasi-bucket list, only with a ten-year horizon.  Notice this isn’t a list of seven things you want to experience, rather a list of the seven things you plan to experience.  How many of these involve the things you are most passionate about?

3.  Money isn’t everything, but it does make the world go around.  With this in mind, write down how much money or assets you plan to have set aside for big ticket expenditures (i.e., home purchases, kids’ college, retirement, something you were passionate about in item 1, etc.) in one year, five years, ten years, and twenty years.  What income do you need to hit these targets?  Start saving now, if you haven’t already.

4.  Define what you plan to be in one year, five years, ten years, and twenty years.  This can be personal, professional, or anything else you define as what you plan to be.  Keep working until your “what” supports what you’ve listed in the first three steps.

5.  If you’re blessed with a spouse, or a soon-to-be-spouse, compare and discuss your answers in the first four steps above.  What do you have in common?  Are your goalprints compatible?  How will you each accommodate and support your spouse’s goalprint in the coming years?

6.  Hold yourself accountable for fulfilling what you’ve laid out in your goalprint as you make decisions in your life.  Enjoy defining success on your own terms.

7.  Repeat this exercise once a year.

Unlike fingerprints, our goalprint will change and grow over time.  That is, if we have the courage to let it.


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