We want to be a lot of things in life. We dream to be this and we dream to be that. However, we could sleep all day and still wake up the same. Should dream houses be just dreams? I do not say that dreaming is altogether bad. I began with dreams too but we shouldn’t stay in idle talk about the things we want to become and achieve. We should make these abstractions into goals. The next thing we need to do is to plan on how to make our dreams become a reality.
If you want to build a tower, you first sit down and decide how much it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job.
Luke 14:28 NCV
Identify the cost it requires
You might have already figured out by now what it is that you want to build – be it personal development, career, business, or relationships. The next step you need to take is to identify the cost it requires.
Time. I don’t know how you regard time but this is a very important aspect to consider. We even made time quantifiable so that we could say there are only 24 hours in a day. Irregardless of how we see it, we are in control of how to spend our time (and we can maximize it to the full or just waste it entirely).
- If you want to learn a new skill, you ought to spend time to acquire mastery. By seeing this need of time, you can now have an idea how many hours you should appropriate in a week for scheduled practices (frequency depends on your time availability and/or eagerness to learn).
- If you want to advance your career by taking certifications or graduate and post graduate studies, you should identify how long it will take you to actually achieve them. Knowing how much time they might consume allows you to have an idea when you should start acquiring them. (Remember that you are not getting any younger!) Same goes with putting up a business.
- If you want to keep your old friendships alive and strengthen them, you should identify how long it would consume for you to catch up with them. Keeping tabs with friends takes your time too!
Skills. Are you waiting for that big break in your career, that salary increase, that promotion, and that (insert everything you want to achieve)? Before you get to sulk for not having that promotion, you should identify what qualifications that promotion is actually looking for. By doing so, you will be able to plan on how to be the person for that position. If you’re planning to put up a business, it is also important to identify what skills that business needs to be sustainable.
Money. Most of our transactions involve money that is why this is also an important factor to consider when planning. Say for example: if you want to build your career capital by taking graduate studies, you should identify how much money you should have to be enrolled in a university and get that masters degree.
Check your resources
Identifying what skills and how much time and money you need to make that dream see the light of day enables you to gauge where you are in this whole planning process.
Time. Do you have the time? The most notable lesson here regarding planning is that you must schedule your plans. By scheduling them, you will no longer have any excuse to miss them. And NOW is the best time to start making your dreams a reality.
Skills. Do you have what it takes for that big break in your career, that salary increase, that promotion, and that (insert everything you want to achieve)? If not, you don’t just wait for that opportunity by doing nothing. You must improve your skills or invest in your ‘career capital’. Cal Newport in his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love defined career capital as rare and valuable skills you can offer. As the saying goes, ‘you cannot give what you do not have‘. (I recommend Cal Newport’s book about ‘why skills trump over passion’ where you can learn why improving your skills eventually opens up more opportunities.)
In the case of putting up a business, having the skills it needs to be up and running is a plus. However, if all you have is the financial capital, then knowing the required skills gives you idea of the need to outsource them.
Money. After identifying how much making your dream a reality will cost you financially, you can now ask yourself if you have the available money to fund for it. You want to get a certification but don’t have the money yet? Then you can start saving now or even cut your expenses to compensate for it. Want to get a master’s degree but you don’t have the money to admit yourself into a university? Then you can consider applying for scholarship grants. Want to put up a business but what you have in the bank is not enough? Then you might consider loans.
And because dreaming alone will take you nowhere, knowing how much time, money, and what skills you need allow you to see the bigger picture and let you build actionable steps to make your dreams possible. Truly, planning is very important in our lives but we must remember that the success of our plans is in the hands of the Lord.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3 NLT
In planning, identifying the cost of what you want to build and checking your resources to achieve it go hand in hand.
- Identify the cost of making your dream a reality. Evaluating the things you need to make your dreams happen sets up the stage of the planning process.
- Check if you have the resources to make your dream a reality. Knowing what you need, checking your resources enables you to gauge where you are already in the planning process.
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