“Dreams die in execution.” – Jocko 

Think about that for a moment. Turning a dream into a reality is often challenging and, for many, rarely successful. Starting can be easy, especially when we’re excited and fired up about our goal, but what happens when we’ve left the starting gate and are on mile thirteen of the marathon? Many times, when we encounter the obstacles and setbacks that come with the journey, our dreams die. 

With that in mind, how do we protect our dreams? And more importantly, how do execute on our dreams to make them a reality? Here are some tips for chasing them and protecting them…

Chasing your dreams requires execution:

  1. Write them down. There is scientific evidence supporting the mind-body connection between the physical act of writing down your dreams and your ability to achieve those dreams. Grab a pen or pencil, a notebook or a journal, and write down what you want. Get specific and make your goals S.M.A.R.T.
  2. Visualize. Clearly define what it is that you want to achieve, and then close your eyes. Visualize what achieving that dream will look, feel, smell, and sound like. Get specific, experience the details in your mind, and keep returning to this. Visualization may feel uncomfortable at first. Many of us haven’t connected with our imagination in years. Reconnect now and push through the uncomfortable moments. 
  3. Start taking action. Action is where executing on your dreams takes flight. Identify what you need to do each week to achieve your dream, and then define what each day will require of you. Doing small things consistently is the key to making your dreams a reality. Start doing the work today. 

As Jocko said, unless you execute on your dreams, they will die. You need to do the work. You also need to do a couple of things to protect your dreams. 

Protecting your dreams requires the following: 

  1. Surround yourself with the right people. There will always be people who try to talk you down from your dreams. Some will say they’re trying to protect you. Others don’t want you to succeed or are scared of the bar that will be set for them. Either way, be aware of the voices you’re listening to as you chase your dreams.
  2. Be aware of your own voice. As much as other people’s voices can derail you, your own voice can sometimes do the most damage. As fear creeps in or imposter syndrome begins speaking up, our own internal conversations can sabotage our results. Awareness is the key to keeping negativity at bay. In those moments, remind yourself of your past successes and work to quickly redirection your thoughts. It’s not your first thought that is the most dangerous. The second, third, and fourth thoughts, where we allow our dreams to be pulled down a hole, make the difference. 
  3. Be consistent. We all have days where the work and execution required to make our dreams a reality is overwhelming, or we don’t feel like it. Protecting ourselves from those “I don’t feel like it” moments is the key to staying on course. Catch yourself, and instead of quitting, keep going. Stay consistent. 

The Takeaway

If dreams die in execution, then the reality check for all of us is this. Keep executing. Write down your goals, visualize success, and do the work. And at the same time, protect your dreams by listening to the right voices and focusing on consistency. Simply put, execute.

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