Have you ever been stuck on a dream? You’ve let yourself dream big, you’ve defined what you want that dream to look like, and you may have even outlined goals to help you achieve your dream. But you keep hitting a wall. Either the dream seems too big or you just can’t figure out what to do next. You’re not alone. Two-thirds of people say they actively set goals for themselves, but only a small fraction of those people create a plan, and even fewer actually achieve their goals.
So, what’s the problem, and—even more importantly—what’s the solution?
The problem could be many things. Maybe you haven’t defined your dream clearly enough. Maybe the timing is wrong. Or maybe there are some other areas in which you need to grow first, like your effective communication skills or your relationships, before you can see real progress. No matter what the problem is, the solution lies in the journey you map out for yourself and the actions you take along that journey.
The Key to Success: Developing a Personal Growth Roadmap
In his book Your Road Map for Success: You Can Get There from Here, John C. Maxwell outlines the four elements to turning your dreams into success this way: “Your dream determines your goals. Your goals map out your actions. Your actions create results. And the results bring you success.” He uses the word ROADMAP as an acronym to remember the goal-setting process, as well as an illustration of what needs to happen between the stages of recognizing our dreams to realizing success:
- Recognize Your Dreams
- Observe Your Starting Place
- Articulate a Statement of Purpose
- Define Your Goals
- Move Into Action
- Adjust Your Plans
- Point to Success and Celebrate
The key to achieving success is so much more than having a dream—it’s mapping out the journey and the steps it will take to reach your destination. Below, we discuss three of these steps to help you move from dreaming to succeeding!
ARTICULATE A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
You’ve recognized your dream, and you can see it clearly. You know where you’re starting from, where you want to end up, and some of the barriers and costs involved. Now what?
You need to articulate a statement of purpose to help you stay on track and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. This statement should be a natural extension of your dreams, personal growth and development goals, and values. It should also evolve as you evolve.
A quick search on the web can provide some great guidelines for writing powerful purpose statements, but don’t get caught up in trying to make it perfect. As you learn and grow, you’ll discover more about yourself and what you envision. So, as you write your statement, just know that you’ll refine it along the way.
DEFINE YOUR GOALS
This is one of those steps that everyone says and knows to do, but rarely executes in a way that leads to progress. If we stick with the roadmap analogy, your goals are the micro-destinations and mile markers. They should lead to action, but to do that you need make sure they have these characteristics:
- Personal and within your power to achieve
- Written and specific
- Measurable and have a deadline
MOVE INTO ACTION
If your goals meet the requirements above, this step should be straightforward. All you have to do is follow the path your goals have created and take action! Yet, as simple as that sounds, this is where people often get stuck. Moving from thoughts to action is one of the hardest things to do at times. That’s why the steps before this one are so important. If your thoughts have been defined well and you have your purpose statement to keep you grounded, the determination to act usually comes naturally.
This is also the step where it helps to have a mentor or trusted guides who can help keep you inspired and accountable. Don’t forget that every personal growth journey needs a guide!
Once you’ve started taking action, you’re well on your way to success. The journey from this point is just adapting and refining your steps along the way, keeping your eye on your ultimate destination, and finally, celebrating your success!
If your dreams are big enough, they can be daunting, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t achievable. With the right roadmap and resources, you can turn your goal-setting into a successful, significant journey of personal growth.
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Whether you’re looking for more on topics like this one or inspiration to fuel your leadership development and personal growth, we have you covered! Check out best-selling titles from John C. Maxwell like Your Road Map for Success: You Can Get There from Here, the 25th anniversary edition of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, and more on our online store.