As a part of her I'm Making It program, Sandra Magsamen shares daily activities that will help you make your dreams a reality.
A long time ago, I heard someone say, "The power of a dream is not in having it, but in living it." I knew the statement was true the second I heard it.
Dreams start somewhere deep inside us. They have time to grow and germinate in our minds, hearts and thoughts, but it's true—there comes a day when we must give birth to them.
Our dreams are magic, and if respected, nurtured and honored, they ultimately bring an abundance of meaning and purpose to our lives. Dreams guide us as we reach for the stars, follow our hearts' desires and do the things we are passionate about.
Dreams help weave the fabric of who we are, and they reveal what matters most to us. They allow our spirits to shine as they reflect our uniqueness and authenticity.
There are no big secrets to making dreams come true, but there are three ingredients found in every dream realized: the belief in yourself and in your dream, a heaping dose of passion and imagination and a lot of hard work.
Over the next seven days, you will explore your dreams and begin to make them what they are meant to become.
Reflect on dreams that you have made come true, and let the ones you have yet to bring to life begin to bubble up.
Jot down in your journal two lists: the first, title "Dreams That Have Come True," the second, "Dream to Do." Have fun writing down all your thoughts and wishes related to dreaming.
Remember, no dream is too small or too big. Honor every dream and thought, including a dream to see an old friend, to finish a marathon, to write a book, to plant a garden that will feed your family, to sing in a gospel choir, to tour Italy, to change jobs or to stop worrying about paying the rent.
When we focus on what we want, we can begin to align our thoughts and actions around achieving our dream.
Read through both lists you created yesterday in your journal. Take a moment to reflect on your first list, "Dreams That Have Come True," and feel gratitude for the dreams you made come true.
Think about how you did it—what worked? What did you learn? Are there any lessons that could serve you well for future dreams?
Now move to the second list, "Dreams to Do." Read through each of them and pick one to focus on.
It is key to visualize, see, define, redefine and be specific about the dream. In your journal, write the dream at the top of the page and continue to write as many details as possible about the dream until you feel you understand it as much as possible. The more details you can imagine and create about your dream, the better.
Try to see in your imagination how your life will be different after the dream has been realized. See yourself creating the dream, living the dream.
Making dreams come true is no different from making anything else come to be. We must first see what we want to make in order to make it. If you've ever made a cake, you may recall that in your mind, you saw it as a chocolate cake or angel food cake; you saw the icing, the plate it sat on and I'll bet you could also almost taste it. Dreams come true when you imagine them too.
Take your dream with you all day and play with it and sleep on it.
Day 30 Make a mission statement for your dream.
As soon as you wake up, write a mission statement for your dream. A mission is just a sentence declaring what your dream is and what you intend to make. After the statement is written, write a list of five steps you can take to help make the dream come true.
Don't worry, no one is going to judge you on this. This sentence is important because it will serve as a reminder to you of what matters in the dream. As you come back to it time and time again, you will continue to be inspired by the mission.
Remember, there are no rules, so get creative and put your own spin on the work! Use your imagination and make this your own. Have fun, explore and embrace the infinite ways there are to make your dream come true.
Here is an example of my dream mission and to-do list:
Dream mission: I want to make and sell things that touch peoples lives and hearts.
Things to do: 1. Learn to make pottery. 2. Create and design a look that is uniquely my own and make a collection to offer. 3. Look for retail outlets and learn how craft and wholesale shows work. 4. Learn enough about business to get me into my first show. 5. Believe I can do this.
If you need to learn a skill or understand a business model, take a class, borrow a book from the library or become an intern with a master. Research the area of your dream as much as possible.
There is an old saying that I repeat to myself during times of research and preparation. "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail." This little phrase reminds me to do the work I need to do to move my dream forward.
Day 31 Make this a day to work on your dream coming true. Look at the list you created yesterday of the five things you need to do to make your dream come true. Start at number one today.
You may only have five minutes today to work on your dream, or you may have 12 hours. It doesn't matter how long you work each day, but it matters that you stay working on your dream every day until you've made it come true. Stick with it.
This is where the hard work comes in. You must work through your plan. Along the way, you will be learning, gaining knowledge, reaching out to mentors when needed and following through on the plan.
The one thing I know for sure is that as you work and grow, so will your plan. People often make the mistake of thinking they have to quit their job, change their life and start again to make their dream come true. My advice is to take your plan and break it up in small steps. Do what you can each day, but use time mindfully so that it feels joyful, not rushed or stressed.
When I created my pottery business, I worked in the evenings and weekends while keeping my full-time job for years. Once I was confident that my dream plans were working, I was then able to move to my dream job full time.
Once it takes flight, your dream will take you places you never imagined. I never dreamed of the opportunities and people I would meet along the way that have given my dream the breath, beauty and life that it possesses today.
A few things to take to heart along your dream journey:
Your dream matters! We need dreamers and dreams that will make this world a better place. Take it seriously, nurture it, believe in it and believe in yourself.
Give yourself permission to be you. Stop censoring your actions. Be you, the only you there is. Remember, only you can be yourself. No one else is qualified for the job. Ask yourself, if you don't manifest your dream, who will?
Have fun. Adopt a sense of humor, don't take it all so seriously and have a million laughs.
Be an optimist. Embrace a positive attitude because, as Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are probably right."
Embrace your inner child. Do something new, exciting and different! Look at life from a different point of view. Get curious, ask a trillion questions and experience the joy in looking for the answers.
Make new friends and cherish the old. Make and build relationships along the way that are supportive and helpful as you reach toward your goals.
Let creativity in your life. Creativity can help you solve problems, face challenges and become a part of the fabric of your daily life.
Days 32, 33, 34 Make it "a dream come true" week and start working through the list you created on Day 30.
Again, if you have five minutes, use it. If you have five hours, go for it. You are in the driver's seat. The more you focus and work on making your dream come true, the sooner it will come true.
Get organized and write in your journal each time you work on your five steps. Document thoughts, insights, notes and ideas that will help you along the journey.
For the rest of this week, work on the five steps you have created. Work includes daydreaming about how to move forward, researching, reaching out for mentors and help, making something tangible and anything you can do to bring your dream into a clear focus.
Day 35 Make time to evaluate your dream progress.
Ask yourself, "What have I accomplished?"
Reread your mission statement and your five steps, and ask yourself, "What's next?"
Spend some time today reflecting and writing in your journal honestly about where you are and where you need to go to make your dream come true.
Dreams don't always come true overnight, in a week, a month or even a year. Some dreams take a short while to manifest, and others take a long time, but all dreams require attention and care.
As you leave this week and go through your days, remain goal-oriented and focused on your dream. When you make your dream a priority in your life, your life will begin to unfold with the dream in reach.
This week, we continue to discover who we are, explore where we want to go in life and validate who we see ourselves becoming as we grow.
The goal of the "I'm Making It" project is to live deliberately, to realize that you have the power to make the life you imagine and to make it.
Too often I hear people say that they have no control over what happens to them. These folks describe themselves as tumbleweeds in an ever-changing landscape they call their life.
Far back in recorded time, philosophers and teachers have advised that to be truly happy and content, we must come to know ourselves. I, too, believe that knowing ourselves is key to making the lives we imagine.
Read the words of wisdom below and allow them to inspire and encourage you as you continue on the journey of fully discovering the one and only you.
"No one remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself." — Thomas Mann
"He who knows others is learned; He who knows himself is wise." — Lao-tzu, Tao te Ching
"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it." — Buddha
"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying 'Amen' to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive." — Robert Louis Stevenson
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
Knowing yourself is essential to being fully alive. It is a necessity for you to excavate who you are and share it with the world. When you know yourself, you are better able to point your life in the direction you want to go and to steer clear of things that are not meaningful or relevant to you.
Use your journal this week as you write and discover more about the authentic, unique extraordinary, beautiful, essential, vital, loving person you are.
Day 36 Make a list. Complete this sentence: "I am..."
Day 37 Pretend it's 50 years from now. Where are you and what are you doing?
Fill a page or more in your journal with ideas about who you are in 50 years. Think about who you want to be, where you want to be, who you want to be with. Take time to describe in as much detail as possible what a day in your life might look like. Try to see in your mind's eye a movie of your life in 50 years.
When we focus on where we want to go, the journey toward getting there begins to reveal itself. The more details you can imagine, the more "road signs" will reveal themselves to you on your journey.
Remember, the joy of the journey is in the ride.
Day 38 Make an entry in your journal where you describe yourself as a wise old woman, an elder or a mentor.
What do you look like? How do you carry yourself? What do you teach?
Imagine yourself as the elder of the community. What lessons do you have to impart? What universal truths do you know that will help others?
We each posses a wealth of knowledge. We have learned so much on our journeys, yet we fail to see ourselves as problem solvers and experts in life.
Explore what knowledge you have as you write in your journal. What do you know about nature? Child birth? Gardens? Cooking? Marriage? Divorce? Grief? Work? Hope? Helping? Community? Life?
In each O magazine issue, Oprah writes a section titled "What I Know for Sure." Just like Oprah, you, too, know things for sure.
At the top of a page in your journal write, "What I Know for Sure." Then, list everything you can think of that you know.
When you've finished, reread your page. What do you think? Do you know a lot? What don't you know that you want to learn more about? What can you do with all this knowledge?
Day 40 Make a list of what makes you smile.
Joy, happiness, contentment, awe and peace of mind are available to us every day if we decide to embrace them.
We can easily be washed down the river of chaos, confusion and despair as life's ever-changing currents race through our days. But, we don't have to be taken where we don't want to go if we are armed with ideas, places and thoughts that help us to stay positive and happy.
Use your list of things that make you smile every day. Smiling reflects inner joy and contentment, and your goal is to make smiling as much a part of every minute as possible.
Smile when the spirit moves you, smile for no reason, smile because it's raining, smile because it's spring, smile because you have a friend, smile because you just ate the best piece of chocolate pie—smile tons and see how your day changes.
We all get sad from time to time. Dolly Parton, one of my favorite philosophers, said, "You gotta put up with a little rain if you want to see a rainbow."
There is a lot of wisdom in Ms. Dolly's quote. Without the gray, rainy days, we would have nothing to contrast the beautiful, sunny ones with. The highs in life are higher because we have had the lows. Nothing would ever change if we didn't have that nagging, sad feeling that alerts us to keep growing.
Knowing what makes you sad helps to identify even further what is meaningful to you and helps us to embrace what really truly matters.
I'm sad when my daughter is off at college. Although I am proud of her and want her to be in school, I am sad because I love her company, doing things together and talking. The loss I feel when she is away only strengthens my love for her and propels me to be grateful for all the moments we have together.
As you make your list of what makes you sad, think about why and how you can turn that sadness into gladness.
Day 42 Make a list of all the things you would say if you had to describe yourself to a stranger.
I hope you have spent this week searching, reflecting, uncovering, digging, simmering and feeling all the things that make you who you are.
Please don't stop searching for yourself after this week. Each day is an opportunity for you to uncover something new about yourself and to explore the next idea, thought, place or relationship.
Begin to see yourself as a work in progress, a masterpiece that is ever growing and changing.