The dreams we want to realise are the ones that are more...realistic; ones that are slightly more in touch with our abilities and do not involve attempts to fly. Here are six steps for you to get your past dreams going and start doing something to achieve them.
1. Create a vision board
If you’ve ever walked into a Kikki.k store, you’ll notice it’s full of inspiring quotes, with the materials you need to create a vision board (the physical Pinterest of your future). In chapter 15 of her book Your Dream Life Starts Here, founder Kristina Karlsson writes that the act of handwriting helps with memory.
When you see a visual representation of your dreams daily, you start to open yourself up to opportunities, and take actions consciously and subconsciously to make them come true. Kristina takes the S.M.A.R.T. approach to ensure her dream is “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound”. She wrote down when she wanted to open her first Kikki.k store in London, and how she was going to do it.
2. Discuss your dreams with others
Sharing your goals will make you accountable and help you achieve them, writes Kristina in chapter 16 of her inspiring book. You never know who might help, or provide the kind of criticism that you need to reflect on your approach.
When she had three stores, Kristina told a journalist that she wanted to open 40 stores in the next few years. It was nerve racking, but it made her process things and think about why she was chasing this goal. She thought through the risks and uncertainty. But after the article was published, she received phone calls from mall landlords offering deals and incentives.
3. Surround yourself with people you trust
Build trust and respect with the people around you so they can speak freely, especially if they have differing views.
Cynthia Chua, founder of Spa Esprit Group and Wonderscape Holdings, has a close group of friends to bounce ideas off . “My businesses are all creative, lifestyle focused and people centric, so friends don’t need to have relevant business experience before they can share a valuable opinion,” she says. “Even if it runs counter to my opinion, I always listen and ask further questions to gain a better understanding of why they think a certain way.”
4. Know when to quit
Cynthia’s vintage boutique, Potion, was in business for three years before it shut in 2006. “We were growing and had created so many brands that I couldn’t dedicate enough time to run Potion well,” she says. She realised that resources are finite and you need a great team to make a business work.
5. Start with seven actions you can handle
Kristina recommends shortlisting seven actionable steps. Focusing on what you absolutely must do will move you ahead more quickly and keep you motivated, otherwise it only gets overwhelming.
In 1996, with her idea of opening a Swedish stationery store, Kristina opened the Yellow Pages business directory and contacted potential suppliers. Some of the people she spoke with couldn’t relate to her dream, but the rest booked her for meetings, took her around their factories and explained the various processes of manufacture. #Win.
6. Communicate your message well
Kristina wanted to feature fashion designer Stella McCartney in her book. She was turned down at first but, undeterred, Kristina sent an e-mail detailing why she felt Stella in particular would be a good fit and that the book’s purpose was to inspire 101 million people to chase their dreams.
She also explained that she planned to donate $1 for every book sold to Tererai Trent International, a foundation run by Dr Tererai Trent, a woman who was born in a war-torn village in Zimbabwe and is now an advocate for education in rural communities. “I just had to do a better job of communicating to her how sharing her story in my book could help change the world in a positive way,” says Kristina. Stella said yes. So you see, dreams can come true!