Say you’ve got this slightly out-of-your-ordinary goal, like traveling over land from Thailand to Portugal. As with everything else in life, it won’t happen without help and input from other people. But it can be tricky to put it out there if you are a little bit shy or nervous about explaining what you want to do. How to get around the fumbling and rambling?
Easy, you simply give your dream a name.
The power of naming
When you name something, it gives it power, substance and identity.
In ancient times, knowing an enemy’s name gave you power over him. In modern times it gives you a shorthand to share information with other people, just like your regular name.
(I call myself Betsy instead of The Eldest Freckled Daughter of House Gray, though reading Game of Thrones is making me rethink this decision.)
So if the reason to name something is to give it substance, gain more control over it and better communicate its identity to other people, it makes perfect sense to start naming your dreams.
Naming your dreams
We named our overland journey the Eurasian Adventure 2012, both as a descriptor of the journey and an indicator it was different than the rest of our travels. We set out on April 1, communicating along the way our intention to travel about 18,000 km across both continents without using a plane.
At first, people thought we were weird. “Why wouldn’t you just fly?”
But as we’ve said before:
No one has to approve of or understand your dream for you to do it.
As we continued our journey, people began reaching out.
- “You should definitely check out this place/food/activity.” (Sure thing.)
- “My family/friend lives there! Please look him up.” (We did.)
- “Can we meet up when you get here?” (Of course.)
- “Stay at my place!” (Why, thank you.)
- “Will you house sit for me?” (Certainly.)
We named our adventure, and even though some people thought it was weird at first, those who got it came out of the woodwork to help.
Naming encourages help
We are now in Berlin, kicking off the European leg of our journey. Because we named our dream and publicized it, we’ve garnered some great partners for the remainder of our journey. Let us tell you about them:
- Eurail has sponsored our train travel throughout Europe for the next 2 months with first-class rail passes. We love trains, and there is no better or more convenient way to see Europe than by train. (My favorite thing? You arrive in the center of a bustling city, ready to explore, rather than in a sterile airport fighting your way to a taxi and a budget-crushing ride into town. It makes a huge difference in attitude.)
- Wimdu has sponsored our European kick-off week in Berlin with a fantastic flat in the trendy Kreuzberg district of Berlin. We first discovered Wimdu in St. Petersburg, and we love staying in a more home-like atmosphere after all our travels. (Their slogan? Travel like a local. Which is exactly what we like to do.)
How this applies to you
There is something you want to do in your personal or business life – a big change, a medium-sized tweak, or a healthy addition – and you struggle getting this goal off the ground by yourself. You know why?
Because all great dreams are heavy and require many hands to lift.
If you can give your goal a name, you make it easier to manage yourself as well as for others to step in and help, offer guidance, and make it better or easier than you could on your own.
How to name your dream
This isn’t the time to go small. It’s your dream, after all, and probably a big departure from your normal way of living. So give it a grand name worthy of the effort:
- The Massive Brain Investment 2014 for your savings plan to return to college
- The Healthy Happy Heart Hour for your new daily exercise commitment
- The Midlife Get a Life Plan of 2013 for your goal of trying a new hobby or activity every month of the year
- Sexy Summer Streamlining Strategy for your goal of cleaning out the clutter in your life
- The Free Bethy Project for your goal of becoming self-employed by a certain date
Notice the similarities in these examples. Most contain a descriptor AND a unit of time. This is important, because we’ve talked before about dreams without deadlines (they don’t ever happen). The other consideration is to make it something you can share with other people. We learned this in a very powerful way as we saved for our big adventure with the Phrase to Save (fully outlined in Dream Save Do), and it really brought it home when our friends started repeating our phrase back to us.
To create your dream’s name:
- Think in terms of the result or feeling, not the specific actions to get there.
- Put a date or timeframe around it.
- Be grand and use adjectives.
We’d love to hear the name of your dream on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest as you share the article. In fact, the most creative name on a share by August 6, 2012, gets a free copy of one of our books. (Be sure to tag us in your response so we can see it.)
Remember, once you name a dream, you give it substance and increase your power over it.
Need some encouragement to name your dreams and live more boldly? Get bite-sized doses of inspiration in our latest, In Confidence: Essays on Bold Living. Click here to get this 99-cent pep talk for busy people.