Checklist for being the leader of your dreams

No one likes regrets. Yet, well-meaning people may have trained your dreams out of you. You may have had many naysayers in your life, but the worst critic can be the one in our own head. You may doubt yourself, thinking, I’m not good enough, or As soon as I …, then I’ll start on my dream. No! Enough is enough. It’s time. Your time.

So, where do you start? What do you need? How about a checklist? Reverse-engineer any big goal you’ve ever accomplished, and you will find most of these tips. Look at any hero’s success story and you’ll find these too.

These are the bare-bones essentials for making dreams come true:

[ ] Decide. Don’t just dip your toe in the water; dive all in. No ridiculous dreams have come true without that commitment. As soon as you truly commit, your world shifts. You start doing things you just thought about before you decided. If you look at a week of your life, would you see evidence of your commitment and decision? Don’t be a hobbyist; be a lobbyist for your dreams. Go all in! 

[ ] Create a visual of your end goal. What does your end goal look like? Having a constant reminder keeps your brain engaged and your subconscious mind working even when you are not. At random times, you’ll have various ideas that may just get you to your next breakthrough. What would your end goal look like?

[ ] Self-belief. What belief do you need to work on? To reach a ridiculous dream, we usually need to change something about our self-identity. How would someone who achieved the dream you have look at themselves? Identify it and find a way to build it. Breakthroughs that you experience along the way will help create a new self-identity. You may not immediately notice when it happens, but people who are close to you will notice your shift. It will be cool to hear.

[ ] Pray/meditate. Often. Daily is recommended. Enough said.

[ ] New habits. Habits, good or bad, affect us more than we would like to admit. Practice? Yup, both important, but not nearly as critical as the habits that get you closer to (insert your dream here). For your ridiculous dream, there will be a few critical habits you need to create. Find out what they are and commit to yourself.

[ ] Accountability buddies. In addition to committing to yourself, find two accountability buddies or a study group. Be careful who you choose. Find people you can be vulnerable with and who will call you out while still being encouraging. Remember, you are the CEO and leader of your dream. If your accountability partners aren’t helping move you forward, find another. Try sitting down with them over coffee and tell them what you are doing and why. Your why is important to them helping you during the tough times. Create a plan that works for both of you, including how and when you will check in. Who could be your accountability buddies?

[ ] Direction. If you are going to put in the effort, wouldn’t it make sense to work in the right direction? The biggest thing that causes doubt is working really hard and making no progress. No progress leads to doubt. What courses could you take that would give you direction? Do your due diligence! There are many people trying to sell people who have big dreams. Don’t overcomplicate it. Also, don’t listen to someone who has zero experience in the area of your dream. Period. They may be successful elsewhere but seek out people with the experience and credibility you need.

[ ] Feedback. Here’s a formula called the Math to Mastery. Effort x (direction + feedback) = mastery. Once you choose a direction, you must seek out feedback from a mentor, coach or a guide with experience in that area. You need that voice of experience who has seen many people work hard in the wrong direction. You will get off track due to our engrained thoughts, habits and programming. Like when you take a wrong turn and your GPS says, “recalculating.” No harm, no judgment, just that voice of reason helping you course-correct. This is critical because too much effort and time in the wrong direction will lead to doubt. Your guides and mentors will come and go on your journey, and they will take different shapes and forms and spend different lengths of time alongside you. Who will your journey start with?

[ ] Momentum. Make no mistake, momentum is essential along your dream journey. That is why you need habits. Momentum gets us to our next breakthrough. When you have breakthroughs, you’ll feel invincible for a while. It will pass. Momentum will get you past, over around and through the blockades on your journey. Make it a goal to gain momentum.

[ ] Letting go. To make changes, you need to make changes. Don’t overdramatize this though. Change is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. What are some of the habits that do not serve you, your family or your dream? They can be time suckers. Who are some of the people who do not deserve to influence your thoughts as much? You don’t have to remove them from your life, but you may consider giving them less ear time. The people around us influence us, whether we like it or not, good or bad.

What else should be on your checklist for your dream?

What are your dreams? Are you serious about them? Use this checklist and start checking! It’s your dream. You are the CEO of your dreams. No one else can be.

Darren LaCroix, founder of Stage Time, is the author of the book “17 Minutes to Your Dream” and the co-host of the podcast “Unforgettable Presentations.” For more information, visit

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