Let me give you two words which are the key to success — THINK SMALL! I can just hear many of you now as you exclaim – Wait a minute! I thought we were supposed to think big and have bigger-than-life dreams and a gigantic vision! If you’ve read any of the ever-popular “how to succeed” books or heard many motivational speakers, that is, in fact, the message you will most often hear – Think Big!
Now, I must admit I believe there are really four words which lead to success – Dream Big; Think Small. You must indeed have a dream which requires you to stretch, grow and get out of your comfort zone.
I once heard a wonderful statement: “The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream…dreams are the seedlings of realities.” So yes, you must first spend some time visualizing, desiring and prayerfully asking for your dream to come true!
However, many people can get overwhelmed at the magnitude of a big dream. Let’s say you want to start your own business. That’s awesome! And it’s also a Big Dream. You can quickly become stuck in all the thoughts, doubts and questions which come rushing to your mind. “Do I have enough money?” “Will people actually buy what I’m selling?” “How will I plan and market?”
Often, the interns I supervise want to open a counseling practice after graduating with their Master’s Degree in Counseling. As soon as they’ve stated their goal, it seems they encounter such seemingly huge questions and obstacles very quickly. From there, procrastinating quickly becomes very appealing! And before you know it, that dream has taken a back seat to daily living and finding a job just to make money.
So, I advise them to do what I’m encouraging you to look at here; think small – start with an action to be taken today or this week.
A good way to remember the steps involved in thinking small is to look at the acronym SPAM. Yes, looking at that can of potted meat can help you get started. Here’s what the letters stand for:
S = Small and Specific
P = Practical
A = Achievable
M = Measurable
A counseling intern can use this in the following way:
S = Small & Specific: This week, I will talk to a therapist who’s already established a counseling practice.
P = Practical questions to answer include the well-known journalism questions: who, what, where, when, how?
- Who? Identify the counselor
- What? Set up an appointment to interview that person.
- Where? Will you take them to lunch? Or you could meet for coffee or come to the established counselor’s office.
- When? Determine the best time to meet, as well as the amount of time he or she has available.
- How? Write down questions you wish to have answered – come prepared!
A = Achievable = Knowing yourself as you do, is this goal achievable? If you have something else going on this week, it’s not – and you will need to come up with an alternative.
M = Measurable = At this time, you’ve moved beyond the “thinking” stage, and your action steps need to be measurable. You might want to enlist the help of someone to keep you accountable.
From that first week of action, that intern can set up the next goal to be achieved, step by step. The journey of a thousand steps just started, and the dream of becoming a practicing therapist is beginning to unfold!
No matter what you want to achieve, remember this:
Dream Big; Think Small and SPAM goals are a good way to get started!