Turning dreams into reality involves some luck. Organizations often discount the role of luck in strategic outcomes. You can’t plan your way into getting struck by lightening. Luck does play a roll in our success, but luck was never meant to be a strategy.
If you are using luck as a strategy you will soon be living a fantasy.
“Dreams plus Luck” is in the same camp as winning the lottery.
“Dreams plus a Learning Agenda” is a commitment to a reality.
Dreams are highly beneficial when accompanied by action. But dreams without action enable people to live in a world of make believe. A dream without a plan is soon exposed.
“When the tide goes out, you discover who’s been swimming naked.” – Warren Buffet
Dreaming with a learning agenda directs our intention towards what’s most important to us. John Kotter has said there are two kinds of people in the world:
- those who accept their life, and
- those who lead their life.
Some people just get up, look at their life, and hope something good will happen. They are saying, “I hope I get lucky.” The successful person says, “I’m going to make something happen. I’m going to build on trust; make that relationship work; take control over the things I have influence over; lead my life; create a personal learning agenda that will help fulfill my dreams. AND, I’ll be alert to, and take advantage of all the lucky breaks that come my way.”
Their thought process goes like this:
- Clearly noticing what’s possible
- Seeing specifically what I want to achieve
- Building upon good decisions along the way
- Strategically thinking about tactics to get things done and change minds
- Valuing the trust and respect of the people around me
So how do you create a learning agenda that will help you fulfill your dreams? For starters, ask “What is the gap between what I know or the skills I have and the information or the skills I need to actualize my dream?” Then follow these five steps:
- Determine your goals and ask yourself: Where do I want to be next year? What do I need to do to accomplish these goals? Your answers become your learning agenda.
- Assess the skills or knowledge you’ll need. Some goals won’t require new skills or knowledge, but others will. What specific skills do you need to make your dream(s) come true? What skill that you already possess needs to be improved?
- Explore the best sources. Is it going back to school? Enrolling in a training course offered by your employer? Developing a relationship with mentors and/or coworkers who can teach you new skills or insights? Look for that optimal source for every skill you decide you need to learn.
- Create your learning agenda. You now have the information, so start creating your learning plan. It should lay out the skills and knowledge you need to acquire. It should include a timeline and be in writing.
- Execute. Let the fun begin. The sooner you get going, the sooner you’ll learn the knowledge and skills you need to enjoy and achieve your goals!
Be aware of some subtle traps. Avoid these….
- I’m too young.
- I’m too old.
- I don’t have the time.
- I don’t have the money.
These doubts are common to all of us. One of the best ways to fight your doubts is to be clear on where you want to go. Life’s what ifs will move you towards your worst nightmare. Clarity will move you towards your dream.
You are putting a stake in the ground. It’s solid.
As you look at your dreams, don’t choose the hardest or the easiest. Choose the most important. When you create dreams that align with your purpose you will discover overlap in a number of areas of your life.
In the words of Seth Godin:
“Change that’s worth doing is change that most other people are afraid of. It’s change that other people fear won’t work or that will lead to ridicule. You know you are onto something when you find the tension, when you find the dissent, when you find people who say ‘that’s insane.’ You were taught in school to do what you were told. But you will not be rewarded for that going forward.”
“The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.” – Douglas MacArthur
What’s your learning agenda?
What’s been helpful to you in establishing your learning agenda