How to turn dreams of success into reality: Convert your long-term intentions into daily actions

Read the experience of a conservatory student who turned his 20-year vision of success into manageable weekly action steps.  This is how dreams become a reality:  by taking your vision and breaking them into small actions that bit by bit will get you to your goal!

At a recent workshop on Career Planning for Music Entrepreneurs, I worked with a group of highly talented, motivated and intelligent conservatory students on how to create career success. We spent a good deal of time on the art of setting inspiring goals and breaking them down into manageable pieces in order to take actions on a daily and weekly basis that would lead to goal achievement.

We started by setting long-term intentions and learned the process by which you can turn that vision into an action step.  (To read how this is done, read my article on SMART Goals and the 4 steps you can take that will get you closer to Carnegie Hall). The result was fascinating.

One young man had a vision of being the music director of one of the country’s leading orchestras.  I encouraged him to set his intention in terms of a future date.  He articulated that vision as follows:

In 20 years, I am the music director of the ________Philharmonic.

He was very excited about his vision and the next step was to break that vision down into manageable goals.

We first started with where he had to be in 10 years in order to reach that goal.  For him, that meant being the conductor of a good regional orchestra.

We then broke that 10-year goal down into a 5-year goal: regular guest-conducting engagements.

In order to achieve that 5-year goal, I asked him where he had to be a year from now.  He quickly saw that in one year, he need to be conducting the orchestra at his conservatory.

And how about at the end of this semester?  His answer was most interesting:  he felt that he had to master the skill of reading the orchestral scores of 20th century composers.  How many?  3-4.  Which ones?  At the very least Bartok and Stravinsky.

And finally,  in order to achieve that semester goal, what did he need to start doing on a weekly basis?  Getting scores by these composers, learning them and mastering them, with the goal of mastering 3-4 of these 20th century masterworks by the end of the semester.

So every time this young man picks up a Bartok score, he knows that he is doing something that is getting him closer to his visionary 20-year goal of being the music director of a major US orchestra.  How inspiring is that! 

© Astrid Baumgardner 2011