I’ve talked to a lot of young moms lately who have huge dreams, but are lucky to be getting a full night’s sleep. I get it because I’m still emerging from the throes of early parenthood. As someone with a full life (9-5 job, running my own business, and raising 7 and 9 year old little girls), I invited them to give themselves some grace, while also trying out the 5 steps I’ve taken to chase BIG DREAMS while raising LITTLE KIDS.

Here goes:

1) Hire a coach – In order to get really clear on where you want to go on the most efficient path, hire someone to help you get clear. This is what I did in 2015. Not only did it lead to the idea for Small Town Leadership, but it sped my path to making it happen. If you are the type of person who appreciates tough questions and likes to be held accountable for progress, a coach can be your ticket to success. Coaching changed my life. It could be the best investment you make in yourself at this point in your life, too.

2) Find and use your “Fringe Hours” – I learned about the concept of fringe hours when author Jessica N. Turner was interviewed on an episode of my favorite podcast back in 2015. Check out episode 74 of The Lively Show. It’s where the Pomodoro Technique (focusing solely on one thing for 25 minutes) meets those small pockets of time when your kids are a) in bed b) watching a 22 minute cartoon c) participating in their weekly dance/soccer/karate class or any other activity that doesn’t require your full attention. This is your time to get things done. I’ve built, rebuilt, written, recorded, and created more content in these fringe hours than any other blocks of time. The fringe hours can be your time to make progress on you!

3) Write it down – if you have an idea, strike while the iron is hot and write it down! I have a clear memory of a motivational speaker who came to my high school telling us that the reason 98% of people don’t achieve their dreams is because they don’t write them down. He then went on to encourage us to become part of the 2%. I believe this more than ever. In addition to post-its galore on my desk, I keep a running Google doc titled “Unpublished Content.” When an idea hits, I write it down. If I have 10 minutes when the flash hits, I write as much as I can in the moment. (That’s how this article came to be.)

In addition to capturing these in-the-moment thoughts, I also write down my accomplishments and goals on a monthly basis. I look back at the content I created and delivered, the coaching clients I served, the connections I nurtured, and the progress I made toward my larger goals. Then, I craft a set of goals for the upcoming month. This usually takes me 15 minutes, and sets the course for a productive month ahead.

4) Lean on your partner – I couldn’t have done half of the things I’ve done in the past five years without the support of my husband, Rob. I travel a lot for work and have regular commitments in the evenings and weekends. I used to have extreme guilt at leaving the family to chase these dreams, but now I realize that I’m a role model for my daughters. They are learning from me what it takes to be a leader and build a business. I’m also showing other young mothers that it’s OK to put your partner in charge while you go after your dreams.

5) Identify the right time to get started – You will always be able to come up with a dozen reasons why now is not the right time to pursue your dreams. What if I challenge you on this and simply state that: Now is the perfect time for you to pursue your dreams. Waiting for your kids to be out of diapers will turn into waiting for your kids to start kindergarten which will turn into waiting for your kids to graduate from high school. By then, your dream may be lost. You might lose yourself in the process. The next 10, 12, or 18 years are going to pass by quickly, whether or not you are pursuing your dreams. Why not jump in and make it happen, NOW? Your kids, partner, friends and family deserve to see you showing up for yourself as much as you show up for them.

If you already have your big idea, this should be a good blueprint to get you started. If you don’t know where to even start with your big dream, hire a coach or use some of your fringe hours to explore. Enlist the support of your partner to help you get started.

Don’t let having little kids get in the way of your big dreams. You are showing them a way forward that will stick with them for a lifetime.

I love chatting with young parents about their dreams. If you’d like to have a 20 minute chat, reach out to me HERE. It could be the 20 minutes that unlocks the dream that you’ve put behind the diaper changes, homework help and carpool line.