Dream Chaser Lesson Three: Focus on Goals Not the Gap

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” – Joel A. Barker

I believe firmly in the power of visualization.

Our imagination is one of the most important assets we have as human beings. It’s what allows us to see new possibilities for our life.

When I started on my journey to be a drummer, I was motivated by a grandiose vision.

I imagined myself to be in a famous band, playing drums in front of 50,000 fans at Lollapalooza. I would meditate about living out this moment and it fired me up and kept me motivated to practice.

I guess I had a wild imagination, but I think a dream chaser has to have a bold vision.

A year after this visualization practice, Yes You Are went on a national tour with the Neon Trees, and I took this picture at the last show. The image is pretty similar to my visualization, albeit without 40,000 additional people. Regardless, I was stoked and excited to perform!

That picture was from over three years ago, and I’ve enjoyed playing many other similar shows.

The thought of myself playing drums in front of large audiences, with screaming fans and fog filled lights, is still a form of inspiration, but I also make sure to keep reality in perspective.

Imagination can only take us so far. We also have to take daily action and make the hard choices that get us closer to our vision.

Regardless of the scale or scope of your vision, at some point you have to get down to the nitty-gritty.

I’ve yet to get the coveted invite to perform at Lollapalooza, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.

Instead of getting trapped in the gap, I’m going to practice and make progress.

Don’t get trapped in the gap

If you don’t stay grounded in the present, your lofty vision can start to feel out of reach.

This is because the larger the gap between present reality and our long-term vision, the more we begin to doubt and question whether it’s possible.

When the journey takes longer than expected we end up discouraged and trapped in the gap.

The gap is the space between where we are now and where we want to be.

The longer it takes reach our vision, the more likely we are to get stuck in the messy middle.

The vision I had for music was going to take years to fulfill. Sure there could’ve been some huge break or miraculous opportunity, which is what I was hoping for, but in reality I had to step back and admit that what I wanted was going to take serious time, energy, and commitment.

Instead of focusing on the end result and how far away it was, I focused on the daily to do’s and small goals I had control over. This included practicing drums, teaching drum lessons, writing music, and performing as often as I could.

This allowed me improve my craft of drumming, build my confidence, and have measurable progress along the way.

Most importantly, it helped me keep a positive mindset and focus on what I could accomplish, instead of a far off distant vision that wasn’t getting any closer.

Focus on Goals instead of the Gap

Once you have a clear vision of what you want and where you want to be, you need to establish a realistic timeline that facilitates progress.

A vision helps to ignite motivation but we also need a way to maintain motivation for the long-haul.

You need to focus on the daily, weekly, and monthly progress you’re going to make.

This takes specific and achievable goals.

In his book Your Best Year Ever, Micheal Hyatt provides a SMARTER goal setting framework that can help us reinforce our chance of achieving goals.

    • Specific – Identify exactly what you want to accomplish. The more specific the better.
    • Measurable – Quantify the result. How will you know when you achieve the result?
    • Actionable – Start with an action verb, not a to-be verb.
    • Risky – Make your goal something that challenges and pushes you to grow.
    • Time-Keyed – Set a specific deadline. What is the exact date you will achieve this goal?
    • Exciting – Make your goals personally compelling and something you care about. Have some skin in the game.
  • Relevant – Make sure your goals are appropriate to the season of your life. Make sure it fits in with your current priorities.

The first step is to ask yourself what it will take to make your vision a reality. From here break down your big vision into specific and measurable goals. Create 4-5 long-term goals that will get you closer to your vision.

For example, you might have the vision of yourself playing guitar and singing cover songs so you get paid to be a musician.

Pull some specific and actionable goals from this vision.

How are you going to get there?

Maybe you start with some karaoke to knock off the dust, or set the intention to watch some YouTube guitar lessons, or sign-up for actual guitar/vocal lessons.

The point is, you need to have some direction and a way to create effective goals.

Use the SMARTER Framework

Here’s a possible SMARTER goal: Be able to play and sing 30 songs on the acoustic guitar by December 31, 2019.

That’s enough to book your first solo gig!!!

Once you have this clear long-term goals get even more specific about the habits you need to create to make it happen.

Here’s a possible habit goal: Play guitar scales for fifteen minutes Monday – Friday at 9:00 PM starting January 1, 2019 until December 31, 2019.

The only way to reach the final destination is to consistently make progress.

When you need inspiration turn you your vision, but remember that the progress happens day by day.

What you want to achieve comes down to daily choices. Keep learning, take action, and get better along the way.

What’s one goal you have for the coming year?

If you don’t know what your vision is, read this article.

Featured image credit: Hey Beauti Magazine