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“Live from the end" (inspiration on how to reach your dreams and goals)

Updated: May 16, 2023

I recently revisited some of Dr Dyer’s books and was struck anew with the concept of living your life from the end. Meaning to know your dream and to live your life as if your dream has already been realised. Although knowing where you want to end up is key - getting there entails much more than just knowing where you want to go. Thinking on the steps to reach your dream, I realised it is based on the same principles that I used to run and complete my Comrades marathon some years ago. I gladly share with you the principles that helped me reach that goal as you can apply it to any other dream or goal you have for yourself.

These then are the simple principles. Firstly, to know where you want to go. In this scenario, it was that I wanted to participate in and finish the Comrades ultra marathon. That then became my goal, easy isn't it?

In your life you need to ask yourself where are you heading, do you have a dream that you are working towards? (Do you still dream?)

Step 2 is to then visualise yourself fulfilling the dream / purpose.

For me, in this instance it was finishing the Comrades. Every opportunity I got I used to visualise me reaching the end of the race. I put as much detail in as possible, the stadium, what it would sound like drawing near to the stadium. Will you hear the noise from the crowd? Are there people along the road? What does it smell like – late afternoon in Durban. Can you smell the ocean? Do you smell the human sweat around you? What does it look like, is it getting dusky? Are there lights above the stadium? What does it feel like underfoot once you hit the grass. Running into the stadium seeing the people all around. Seeing that banner hanging by the end. All these things, to make the picture of me finishing the race as clear as possible. I also printed out the map of the route and posted it on top of my computer where I could see and look at it every day. Visualising the whole route in as much detail as I could.

Step 3 and maybe the most important step, adding the feeling you would have on reaching your goal. What would you feel like finishing the race? The relief, the sheer joy and pleasure of knowing you’ve just accomplished something big. Get that feeling and make it real, make it part of you. If you struggle with this, just think on anything that makes you happy and apply that same feeling to what you are visualising reaching your goal to be like. Put in as much detail as you can imagine and then start feeling what it feels like being there and do this every opportunity you get. While walking your dogs, preparing supper or waiting in line at some store. Feel the satisfaction, joy and gratitude of reaching your goal.

Step 4 is ‘No Fear’. Literally NO FEAR. You cannot move forward if your feet are anchored in fear. You will have to reach beyond or dig deep and be determined to move ahead despite of whatever fears you may have. Although it is natural to fear the unknown, just keep telling yourself that this is no longer an unknown, as you know where you want to end up, so whatever has to happen to get you there cannot be of importance as you have (in your mind’s eye) already reached your goal. The more you do this, the more your fears will dissipate.

Step 5, unfortunately, is doing the actual work to get you there. None of us can reach our goals or dreams without actually putting in the hard work. You can visualise and dream all you like, but if you aren’t actually going to do the steps necessary to get there, you will not reach it. Maybe my example of the Comrades is too easy an example as you cannot just visualise reaching the end of an ultra marathon without practicing every day for at least 8-10 months before the time! A nice little exercise therefore is to visualise yourself at your goal and then turn around and look back to where you are now. What steps would it take to get you from where you are now to where you want to be? Do you need to get some qualification (eg. you dream to be a doctor, you actually need to go to university)? Do you need to do marketing? Do you need to get fit? Whatever it is you are dreaming of becoming or doing, there most certainly are steps involved in getting there. So, write them down, make a list, acquaint yourself with what it is going to take and then vow to put in the necessary work to get it done.

Step 6 is consistency. Now you know what needs to be done, you have to show up for your dream every day and do it. The more you do it, the more real it feels and the more real it becomes. You cannot do this once and expect a wonderful result. And as with the Comrades I not only had to show up every day for practice, but had to do use my visualisation every single time I ran. If I trained for 10km, then I would imagine those 10km to be the last 10km of the race or the last 5km or 3km. The distance did not matter, what mattered was that in my mind’s eye I always visualised it to be the last few kilometers of the race. Resultantly before I actually showed up on the day of the race, in my mind I had run and completed the race a hundred or more times. The benefit of this was that although I started the race that day feeling somewhat unwell, I knew to keep going as I had already done this and finished it. Doubt and fear was not an option. I had put in the work so in my mind it was a done deal already.

Step 7 : Don't put it off! Ask yourself how you are doing with your dream right now. If your dream is to become a dancer on Broadway (and I’m borrowing this example from Tony Robbins) then at age 19 or 20, you should be in New York going for rehearsals, auditions etc and not sitting in another county busy with other studies. If you don't do something about it right now, your dream is going to slip away. If this is your dream now, then this is what you should be working on now!

Lastly, a few handy tips.

Keep everybody else away from your dream or vision. It is after all YOUR dream or vision, not theirs. Chances are they are not going to be able to see the outcome or the end goal that you in your mind’s eye can visualise as it is not theirs to see. Keep them out, put up a “No Trespass” sign in your mind not allowing anyone around you, whether family, naysayers or others that want to tell you their story of why it failed or didn’t work – keep them all out. This is yours and yours alone!

Do not to allow any negative self-talk or negative thinking. Tell yourself “I don’t do negative, I don’t do self-doubt or self-recrimination” or whatever negative thing it is you like to tell yourself. Negative thoughts will eat away at your dream if you allow it, so don’t! I find if I struggle at any particular time with this, I put a notice on my phone’s wallpaper that says “I don’t do…..” whatever it is you don’t do, so you can remind yourself of what you don’t do every time you look at your phone. Repetition brings realisation!

Even if it gets hard, keep on going, no dream worth having is going to be reached just by sailing through it.

Surround yourself with positive people who will support you and cheer you on along the way. The amazing effect of the support on the road to Comrades was absolutely mind-blowing and literally fuels you to keep going - do not underestimate the power of support.

Focus on what you are good at and not what you’re not. That which you focus on is what you will hit 99.99% of the time, so why not rather make it what you want.

Read about your journey, other people that have done something similar or reached a similar goal. Someone whose journey can inspire you and get you excited about your dream. Watch a movie or a YouTube clip on it - fill your head with the positives.

Remember the world needs you to do what only you can do and how only you can do it. If you don’t show up for your dream, the world around you is also going to miss out.

I will leave you with this quote by Michelangelo :

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

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