In between the ups and downs, each year is full of hidden opportunities to get what you want. You just have to know where to look. Take my life for example. This past year I expanded my local network, met the fabulous Issa Rae, closed more deals, diversified my client base and managed to create some pretty sweet memories with close family and friends. It’s actually quite difficult for most people to get what they want out of life, which is why I felt compelled to share the specific steps that I take each year to see progress and make things happen.

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The first step is always turning your ‘larger than life vision’ into ‘bite-size wants’; smaller goals that will get you progressively closer to actualizing bigger ones. You can’t magic bullet yourself into your dream house or on the couch with Oprah, but you can start to lay the ground work today. I find the people who see the least progress in their lives always want to get to the end now, but you’ve got to accept and enjoy the process as you work through it today. If I told myself not to host any events until I could do it big like the Essence Festival, I doubt I would have gotten this far. Instead of taking an all or nothing approach, I chose to host a series of virtual events and small conferences on an annual basis. Whether its 10 ladies in a mastermind group or 100 women on a webinar conference, every event that I host each year allows me to accomplish my ‘bite-sized’ wants while working towards the bigger vision.

The second step works with the first one: get those wants out of your head. You’ve got to think it, write it, speak it and then live it (in that order). Once I define my wants, I fill my notebooks with plans and projects. This is often followed by talks with my business advisor – my hubby and even Google to work through strategies that I can actually implement. Dreams don’t become real if you keep them in your head or even in your notebook, you’ve got to create a plan of action for everything you want to activate in your life.

Step two leads perfectly into step three, start with hope and build with help. You have to genuinely believe that you can get the things that you want and work towards them. Take all talks of ‘good luck vs bad luck’ out of the equation. Don’t get stuck believing better is not in the cards for you. Don’t grow old wishing for things to one day change or waiting for someone to magically turn your life around. God helps those who help themselves. Know that He will bring the right people and resources into your life at the right times as long as you make yourself ready to receive. In other words, while you seek out angel investors and media opportunities, keep your eyes open for the people who will bless you with priceless words of wisdom, kind gestures of support and little gifts that keep you keeping on. Seek out helping hands rather than handouts and above all help yourself by taking yourself seriously. When I couldn’t afford to spend money, I spent a great deal of time online finding the right tools to help me create my best products and services to date.

Step four is all about the setup; you’ve got to set up a calendar of plans and check points you can stick to. Turn the things you ‘want to do’ into the things you are ‘going to do’. This past year I told myself that I was going to meet Issa Rae, get more local business, host weekly group calls and reconnect with loved ones. With those thoughts in mind I focused on goal oriented activities. I attended the Digital Undivided conference in NY with the intent of meeting Issa Rae and I met her! I participated in local networking activities that resulted in new clients and speaking opportunities. I committed myself to hosting weekly Jumpstart Your Business calls and even though I missed a few, I stuck with it and expanded my brand in the process. Best of all I “made the time” to schedule in staycations and family road trips that renewed and strengthened personal connections. Truth be told, there are a few things that I never got to finish or even start, but that’s okay. The key is to create a calendar of events and ongoing activities that you can use as a guide; this will help you reach pivotal progress points along the way.

Step five is crucial, don’t drop the ball. This past year I began expanding my client base via elance.com; a marketplace full of freelance opportunities for service professionals. My time on eLance was short lived, but I didn’t drop the ball. I tried different packages and payment plans that ended up working really well for me. When things don’t quite work out as planned, don’t drop the ball or throw the baby out with the bath water. In other words, avoid seeing one option as your only option. You are more likely to get what you want when you try different solutions to get your desired results. I always encourage clients to work on tweaking their projects over time versus entering a viscous cycle of constantly starting over. Be flexible and forward thinking, this is essential.

Let’s recap the steps. You have to create ‘bite-sized’ wants, get those wants out of your head, start with hope and build with help, set up a calendar and don’t drop the ball. For me getting what I want boils down to creating a steady business, a stable home life and memories that will last a life time. What do you want out of life? Can you see yourself following these steps to make it happen? The choice is yours.

This article was featured in the Fierce, Focused, Firedup Issue of SistaSense Magazine. Click here to get a complimentary digital issue when you register for our upcoming Fierce, Focused and Fired Up Webinar Conference. Or order your print issue over at mag.sistasense.com.

Related: WrapUp Last Year Projects and FireUp the New Year Right

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