'Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power & magic in it.'
Every January we get together as a team and use it as an opportunity to agree our focus for the year ahead and start off with a bang. It’s an exciting time and one I love more than anything – a chance to sit down with a blank pad and list all the things I am excited to achieve this year. We follow this up with another planning session in the summer; not only as an excuse to get together in the sunshine, but to dream about what the next 3 years might hold.
It’s fair to say the last 12 months have been like nothing any of us could have planned for, so after using my brain intensely in a way I’ve never had to before – head down focused on the detail, re-shaping our largely face to face business, listening to the needs of our clients and creating content to answer this, constantly adapting, evolving, being agile and not standing still. So when faced with the question what do I want to achieve in the next 3 years, year or even the next 6 months, it suddenly seemed impossibly hard.
My brain has become used to being in a ‘hackathon’ mind-set, focusing on our next move, like a boxer, bouncing back and standing taller each time. Whilst I am glad to have been reminded this is a muscle that needs to be flexed, at the same time the past year has made us all a little afraid to be dreamers, for fear that our plans might always be pushed back. Anyone who had a summer holiday or big event that was moved back 2 or 3 times last year will know the feeling. Even the most optimistic of us will start to think there is no point in making plans. I have been living in the now for so long, I have forgotten how to plan ahead. It’s a strange feeling, almost like mindfulness gone mad, we now need to push back the other way to get balance.
It felt fitting then that my Business Partner reminded me of this quote that found us when we were first setting up FizzPopBANG 9 years ago. We built this business when the economy was in recession, not the best time arguably. We had ‘safe’ careers at Red Bull and we were giving it all up for a dream. This sentence by Goethe I had almost forgotten in the last year. I always had it pinned on my wall and it had disappeared somewhere. But the words ring so true. We should dare to dream still. Because if we don’t we will be stuck in the same place, not moving forward, not discovering the magic.
I know I am not alone. So here are some of things I have found that have helped me scratch the planning, achieving, dreaming itch, at a time when it might feel luxurious or naive to think this way:
1. Flex that dreaming muscle – we know that to be creative you have to unlock the part of your brain that allows you to access your subconscious. Alpha state, the part that allows us to dream a little. We have been in busy mode for so long (using the Beta part of our brain), it seems even harder to do. To have the best year yet, we need to be thinking about what you want to achieve in the next 2 or 3 years, so you can make steps this year to get there. Shut your notebook with your ‘to do’ list, turn off your phone notifications, go for a walk and just ponder that question? What do I love doing, what do I want to be doing more or less of in 3 years time? Afterwards, capture your thoughts down and keep building on them. It feels so refreshing and exciting to allow yourself to think like this but it definitely requires a change of scene to change your brain state.
2. Use this time to be in your comfort zone – we are still being challenged at even the most basic human needs of Maslow’s hierarchy right now. Showing ourselves a little kindness needs to be a big priority. Make yourself a commitment that it is ok to be at ease in your comfort zone and find just one moment of joy in a day is enough; you don’t need to add pressure on yourself to achieve huge things. However, at some point comfort zones shrink, so set yourself a goal to start to stretch your thinking and give yourself space for this. It could be reading a new book once a month or setting aside time to focus on you and working on 1 thing at a time.
3. The power of plan B – if like me, you are desperate to make some big exciting plans…then do it. After all, even without a pandemic, the world is full of change. All goals worth setting should feel a stretch and have an element of uncertainty otherwise they wouldn’t feel like a challenge to strive for. If you think of your proudest achievements, I am sure it would include a struggle to overcome. So do it, dream, reach for the skies no matter how unrealistic is might be when you come back to earth. Then against each, think about a plan B. Something that would still feel good if you couldn’t achieve your original plan. It will help you be more resilient if things don’t go your way because of factors beyond your control.
4. Let’s Play – we have all had a fair dose of being serious in the past year. Accept it is ok to still have good and bad days. Take a bad day slowly and be forgiving of yourself. Just be. But on good days when you feel more energetic, find a way to be playful and break from routine. Not only will it help unlock your dreaming, creative brain, it will boost your energy even more through endorphins. Set yourself little daily creative challenges. Buddy up with someone to see if you can build on each other’s thoughts. 10 minutes is all you need and will help you skip a little more when back on to your to do list. The smallest acts can make the biggest difference.
For all you dreamers out there, let’s all give ourselves a bit of permission to be brave and plan for the future, big or small. There’s no better time to start than Spring time, the promise of new beginnings and hope. I have heard boldness has genius, power and magic in it.