Ahh, do you hear that? That’s the sound of a lovely, high powered vision pulling on us like a rare earth magnet (the most powerful magnet on the planet!), encouraging us to get to work, make a difference, and create our dreams (in a healthy and balanced way, of course).

The next step is to get started!

So, what do I do next?

Well, here’s one of the paradoxes of change management: what creates excitement overall (a high powered vision statement about end results), makes for terrible motivation on the day-to-day.

When I think about having a “big platform and a small team” (from my vision, which I shared yesterday) it excites me…but then I realize that I can’t accomplish that today or even this week.

It’s too much.

I suddenly start thinking about the space between where I am and where I want to be…and I begin to feel overwhelmed.

And overwhelm puts the breaks on change. Suddenly you’re paralyzed by choice and stymied by the bigness of it all.

This is how a big vision backfires.

So, what to do?

Enter Riverbend Planning

In the movie Pocahontas (remember that?) there’s a song called “Just Around the River Bend” where Pocahontas is reflecting upon how the “dream giver” is always just around the river bend. Her job is to enjoy the experience of this bend in the river – with all that she can see and experience – and then deal with what comes around the next bend.

This focus on the present while being drawn towards the future is the best way to stay motivated in the daily pursuit of your vision.

To do this, we need to have connect your big vision to your immediate life.

Find this page in the guide, and let’s get cracking.

The Beacon. First, put your vision in the box marked Beacon. Whatever we are doing needs to be moving us toward that vision. Having this in place ensures that our efforts will accumulate; it acts as a driving force in our decision making.

Let’s use “big platform and small team” as our example.

The Accomplishment. Humans are terrible at estimating what they can do in how much time. We overestimate our days (filling our to-do lists with too many things) and underestimate what we do in a year (setting our sights too low). In my experience, we are most accurate about what we can do in the next 3 months. It’s enough time that we lose the panic of “too much right now!” but we are clear enough about the next 90 days that we don’t lose our minds and overcommit. The Accomplishment, therefore, asks us “What can you do in the next three months that gets you closer to your vision?”

I might say that within 3 months I want to have 3,000 people on my list and a virtual assistant that I’ve trained to do the work of growing that list even further (converting these emails into blogs and sharing them on social media, for example).

The Benchmark. Looking at the accomplishment, what could we get done this month that would get us closer?

Well, if I’m planning to train a virtual assistant in the next three months, I need to find one with whom to do a trial run.

The Next Step. Looking at that one month goal, what can I do this week?

So, this week I will post on Freelancing Females and ask around to my entrepreneurial friends about who they use as a virtual assistant. I’ll find a few people I like and set up conversations. This will also help me get clear on what I want that virtual assistant to do.

Bam. Now I have a very manageable goal that is aligned to my ultimate vision.

This is the least overwhelming way I have found to pursue a goal. It combines the magnetic power of the ultimate vision with the groundedness of the very attainable, short term goal.

I encourage you to try this on Sunday, and see how you like it!

In the meantime, happy weekend!

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About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.