“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week, we focus on his inspiring words and his dream of a world in which people of all races could live together in peace and harmony.  His message continues to resonate with so many all over the world; especially today, when we need to accept one another regardless or race, creed, circumstance, environment or sexual preference to live together harmoniously.   

Dr. King didn’t just have a dream, he had a powerful vision for the future at a dark and troubled time.  His dream and his visions were firm, determined and bold. I am inspired by his words to explore what it means for each one of us to have our own dream – yes, despite corona,  or perhaps because of corona –  and how we can translate it into a vision for our individual future. 

How do you turn a dream into something tangible, something you can see, and ultimately pursue, until it becomes reality?

Visualize Your Dream

“What’s my dream?” is a big question for many of us, and perhaps many have already given up and are no longer willing to dream. I understand. But to stop dreaming means to stop living. If this describes you, then you can decide right now to start dreaming again.  

If you haven’t been dreaming for a while, start small.  Dream of a cup of tea, 30 minutes alone, going away for the weekend. Dream of something that is 50% believable, so it makes sense to you and it is less scary.  A good exercise is to give yourself 5 minutes to dream each day.  Save this article somewhere, try it for an entire week and then come back to it!     

Of course we can dream about many things, but I’m writing about the dream or vision you want to create for yourself, something that has become more important than ever. Maybe you refer to it as your wish or hope. Simply put, it’s the vision you see for yourself.  Whatever you call it, knowing what it is will help you understand how you define yourself as a person.  This vision can be professional or personal. It may have one aspect or many. Write it down and revisit it often. Again, if you are just getting started, make it small, make it tangible.

Your Own Vision Statement

Once you have started to dream again or are ready to dream more actively, I suggest using vision statements as a way to make it easier and more tangible. Vision statements help with formulating the dream because it gives you clarity for what you want.  This is easy since you can start with any kind of vision statement. The clearer the statement, the more powerful it is.  

Here are a few examples:

  • I want to be healthy and vital
  • I want to be known for my community involvement and charitable contributions 
  • I want to become a partner in business
  • I want to be happy and have joy in my life
  • I want to be abundant

If you are ready to take this further, find some time to write out your final vision statement.  Decide for what period of time this statement is going to last.  It may be just for the month, or this year, or perhaps this next chapter, which could last a decade. 

Think of your vision statement in the same way a company writes its mission statement.  This will help you define your objective and communicate it to others. You may find it easy or difficult to put down in words.  But the fact is, writing a vision statement needs to be a bit challenging. If achieving your vision were easy, you probably would have done it already! So take some time, meditate, use all the emotional intelligence you have, and look inside yourself. That’s when your vision will click.

Remember, vision statements are aspirational, because only when you look to the future can you keep moving forward.  Just as important is believing in yourself and your ability to achieve your personal vision. Self-actualization happens when your beliefs, values and objectives are in harmony. Beliefs are generalizations that will help you with decision-making in what is certainly an ambiguous and challenging world.  

The most important belief for achieving your vision is belief in yourself. You must feel and internalize that you are able to reach for your personal star. You have to assert your strength, integrity and values to get you from the present to a rewarding future.  

If you think you can do it, you are a hundred times more likely to achieve your vision than if you are filled with doubt or allow obstacles to stand in your way. You can become what you see in your future if your beliefs, values, and desires are in line with your vision. 

Many of us continue to take inspiration from Dr. King all these years later. Today is a holiday that serves as a reminder to all of us to be kind and to be generous, in thoughts, words, and deeds. Let’s also be inspired to dream big and dream often, and work to realize those dreams, each and every day.