I have a co-worker who dreams of opening her own bakery. She makes cakes on the side and sells them from her home, all the while trying to raise four children and her husband (that was not bad grammar, I meant it exactly as written). She recently had an opportunity to buy a bakery fall through because, simply put, she wasn’t financially prepared.
I meet a lot of people, myself included, who have a dream of something better, some passion they’ve harboured from their youth, and are impatient to reach their goal. The problem is that most of us focus on the goal and never on the steps it takes to get there.
My co-worker is the perfect example. Here is a young mother of four. With both her and her husband working full time, they barely make ends meet. Clearly this is not someone ready to jump into her own business. I can’t imagine trying to raise four kids with a 40 hour job, let alone the 60+ hour commitment of owning a business.
My advice to her has been this: you’ll achieve great satisfaction right now if you start laying out the plan to reach your goal.
No, she cannot open a bakery next week. But she can do a little research and determine how much it will cost her to do so. Then determine how much savings she’ll need on hand. That gives her something tangible to work towards. If she needs $50,000 in the bank, she can say, “Okay, I need to save $1000 a month for four years. That’s $250 per week. What can I cut out of my life to do that?”
Maybe that’s too much to ask. But she can probably save $100 per month. Or $50. Anything to move her along that path toward her goal. You see, the frustration we all feel is from a goal that seems distant and unattainable. But by taking the first step, then the next, we’ll see the goal inching closer to us. And as it gets a little closer, it becomes clearer. We’re excited each time we look at it because it’s even bigger and nearer than before.
I hope my friend takes my advice. I’ve even showed her my own “life plan” for writing my novels and getting published. It’s too late in my life to say I made my living from writing. But the joy will be no less when I’m publishing novels in my fifties, making myself a nice little retirement income (yes, the 401k is funded…I ain’t nuts). It’s never too late to take the first step toward your dream. If you die of old age along the way, it sure beats the heck out of sitting in a rocking chair and dreaming about what might have been. I would even suggest that we’ll extend our lives if we have something to work toward. At the very least we’ll be really cool grandparents. “Oh, my grandad? He writes books about murders and cop stuff…he’s taking me to the county morgue next week.”
Yeah, pretty cool.
So how about you? What’s on your bucket list that appears distant and unattainable? Let’s take a step together. What could more fun that that?