What’s your dream?
Every great beginning starts with a dream. And whether you’re aware of it or not, your dreams are always driven by how you want to feel. Going for a certain feeling is at the heart of every new beginning, but it takes more than running on emotion to see things through to the end.
A new beginning requires you to step away from the old and into the new. It requires you to build a something stable and solid, supported by four legs, each leg playing a role in getting your venture up and going. Each leg, or pillar, helps support your end goal all while playing nicely and remaining in balance with the other three pillars.
Emotion – What is Your Secret Desire?
Your secret desires are at the heart of all your new beginnings. Want more job freedom? Want to start a new relationship? Want to feel healthier and happier? These are all driving emotions that encourage you to reflect on deeper desires.
What is job freedom about: flex-time, energy management, location independence? What about the ability to express yourself more? Is that what freedom means? What are you looking to feel by starting a new relationship? Is it companionship and camaraderie or is it feeling deeply connected to someone which makes you feel heard and understood? What does healthier and happier mean to you? More time spent resting or with family, or improved self-esteem through deciding to eat healthier and exercise more?
Discovering the true emotions and desires underneath the surface is an important first step in starting any new adventure because they will serve as touchstones; you will return to your Emotional Pillar and your feelings again and again along your journey. Clarity can help you focus and stay motivated so ask yourself the following to help build your Emotional Pillar:
- What is the # 1 emotion driving me to make my new beginning?
- What are three other emotions that I want to experience along with my # 1 emotion?
- What will having more of these emotions add to my life?
- What emotion am I most eager to give up by making my new beginning?
- What three words can I use to keep me motivated as I make my new start and move forward?
Thought – Insights and New Perspectives
Sparks of emotional energy can get you started but to form the second pillar of a successful new beginning, you need to also figure out what new insight or perspective is pushing you to get going. And much like the emotional roller coaster you may be on, grabbing hold of those important thoughts and insights can be messy…which is good.
New beginnings in and of themselves rarely progress smoothly from one stage to the next despite your best effort. Instead of worrying and fretting about the “right” answers and the “right” approach, stay curious as to what thoughts and beliefs come up about how you can make your beginning successful.
The key is to embrace your thoughts and insights (and capture them, so you don’t forget them) and without judging them…which can be so much easier said than done. Keep a notebook with you or open an app on your phone and keep a running tally of inspiring, scary, energizing, worrisome, and recurring thoughts you’re having. Notice how some of these will be conflicting and honor them all. Ask yourself the following to help solidify your perspective and start building your Thought Pillar:
- Why do I think this beginning is a good thing?
- How does this new idea help me?
- How does this new idea help others?
- From my perspective, why is this new beginning important?
- How does this new beginning help me live my values?
- How do I think others will perceive this new beginning?
- How can I continue to build positive and realistic thoughts and points of view around my new beginning?
Environment – Evaluate Everything
Sometimes making a fresh start takes nothing more than changing your mind and your heart. Other times, it takes radically changing your physical, mental, emotional, financial, social and spiritual environments.
Each of these environments contributes to the time and energy you have, or don’t have, to show up and get your new beginning going. Ignoring or denying that each of these has an impact is like trying to tune up your car for a cross-country drive but conveniently ignoring the fact your check engine light is still on when you pull out of the driveway. You will have a breakdown, and it will be one you could have avoided if you’d taken the time to do the right, yet sometimes difficult work, from the start.
A dream and a perspective can take you a long way but if things in your environment – a cluttered desk or workspace, constant distractions, tension in relationships, a spiritual life devoid of meaning, a near-empty bank account – are constantly getting in your way, you’ll have to work much harder for success. This is why it’s critical to evaluate each environment and figure out what needs to change.
Filter your evaluation by asking how your Environmental Pillar can support your Emotional and Thought Pillars by asking yourself the following:
- What environment would most help me feel how I want to feel?
- What environment supports my new perspective?
- What items in my environment (physical things, people, sensory inputs) are most hindering me from making my new beginning?
- How can I remove troublesome items from my environment?
- How can I better use those things in my environment that are supporting my dream and my new perspective?
- The biggest environmental energy drain I have is…..(then ask yourself how you can minimize or get rid of it)
Energy – Seize the Moment
Dream + point of view + optimal environment = great recipe for success but it’s missing the last, and most critical element – action. Planning, strategizing, pontificating, and preparing are all critical components of a new beginning, but the problem is you can’t make it happen if you don’t take action.
In the beginning, it’s easy to get mired in the romanticized version of how your new vision could look. And that’s where you stay – envisioning it. Visualizing certainly has its place but now you’re to the point where you have to actually DO something: take the step, make the call, start the ball rolling.
Your Energy or Passion Pillar is all about taking action and without it, your new foundation is nothing more than a cement slab leaned against three pillars; wait long enough, and they’ll topple over and crumble. Passion is energy in action; it pushes you forward and gets you out of your comfort zone.
So even if you don’t know if something is the right step, it’s a step, so take it. Plan as best you can (without getting caught up in perfectionism and procrastination), prepare when possible, and then take the leap.
Starting something forces you to take a stand: for your beliefs, your point of view, and your values. Use the following Energy Pillar questions to balance and support your Emotion, Thought, and Environment Pillars:
- What are the first three concrete action steps I need to take to launch my new beginning?
- What are three things I can do this week to make things happen?
- Call three people you know who will be supportive of your new beginning and ask each of them to help you with one specific thing.
- Set aside time in your calendar to devote to your new beginning. Aim for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week or more.
- Set aside time in your calendar to work on your biggest environmental energy drains each day.
- Set aside time in your calendar to reflect on how you’re feeling (Emotional Pillar) and what you’ve learned (Thought Pillar) at least once a week.
Chasing a new dream requires you to be bold and brave. It involves stepping into a world of new emotions, thoughts, environments, and ways of using energy. Using the four pillars of Emotion, Thought, Environment, and Energy can help you build a strong foundation for future success.