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Thursday, February 2,2012

How "Hot" or "Cold" Are Your Dreams?

By Al Secunda  
This bright new day, complete with twenty-four hours of opportunities, choices and attitudes. A perfectly matched set of 1440 minutes. This unique gift, this one day, cannot be exchanged, replaced, or refunded. Handle with care. Make the most of it. There is only one to a customer.

Dreams are wonderful things to have, but if we never pursue and realize any of them, they can become more of a curse than a blessing. Their haunting screams can remind us of what we haven’t experienced and accomplished. They can also leave an enormous hole in our spirit and soul. The biggest dilemma here is that nothing can fill this void except stepping onto and traveling down our dream path. Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no substitute for the self-satisfaction we will receive when we can gather the courage and walk directly towards and engage in a personal dream or overwhelming task.

Emotionally speaking, if we are not pursuing a dream or facing an overwhelming project one of two things will usually be going on. Either the project is too “cold” (we no longer really care about accomplishing it), or it is too “hot” (we care about it so much that we are scared to death of it). While our brain will try to find loopholes, exceptions, and footnotes to this very direct statement, most of the time, this “cold” and “hot” issue will ring true.

After exploring the area of dream fulfillment for many years, I created a process that has helped me and my clients to figure out how “cold” or “hot” our unapproachable dreams and projects truly are. It’s called “The l5 Second Agreement.” The agreement has two short parts. While each part may sound very simple each is also very challenging to execute on a regular basis.

Part One: Spend a Minimum of l5 Seconds a Day Furthering the Project In this hectic world, we can conveniently rationalize that on a given day we were just too busy to devote an hour, 30 minutes, or even l5 minutes to a dream project. While this may or may not be true, what happens on any busy day is that we wind up doing nothing. Then the next day comes around and once again we wind up doing nothing. After a week, month, or year of this behavior, two things usually occur: First, not much has gotten accomplished. Second, because habits breed habits, stagnant inertia has set in.

The first part of “The 15 Second Agreement” states that each and every day I agree to take some empowering action in the direction of my dream project or overwhelming task. This action needs to last only for a minimum of 15 seconds. The action of committing to “The l5 Second Agreement” each day is quite powerful because it can create momentum and possibility and prevent stagnant inertia from setting in. There are several reasons for this:

l. Psychologically, l5 seconds is not an intimidating amount of time. Therefore it is easier and less frightening for you to keep returning to your project for a minimum of 15 seconds each day.

2. You can never convince yourself or anyone else that you don’t have l5 seconds on a given day to do something. It’s too small a block of time to rationalize away. As a result, you will have to face the truth. Either you don’t really care about this thing, or you are scared to death of it.

3. Engaging your project for a minimum of 15 seconds a day will prevent your fears and negative thoughts from growing too large and powerful. By momentarily taking the helm of your dream ship, you will have a visceral experience of what living your dream really feels like, rather than what your imagination thinks the experience will feel like.

4. Although you are only committing to l5 seconds, you will generally find that you will want to do more. It’s the fear of beginning rather than the actual doing of the project that is preventing you from breaking the ice and spending more time pursuing your dreams and important projects.

Part Two: The Power of Forgiveness You will be amazed to discover just how challenging this simple sounding 15 Second Agreement truly is. This will be especially true if you pick a cherished and passionate dream project. The main point here is that if you screw up and skip a day, forgive yourself. Beware of the temptation to beat yourself up for not living up to this short and seemingly easy agreement. The problem with berating yourself and giving yourself a nasty thrashing is that punishing yourself will just dig you deeper into the stagnant inertia hole. This, in turn, will make it harder for you to climb out of the inertia hole and back onto “The 15 Second Agreement” track the very next day. Remember, in order for you to gain more freedom and mobility in your life, forgiveness needs to be the name of the game.

Keep having fun playing around with your empowering 15 second actions as well as flexing your forgiveness muscle. If you do you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

I’d love to hear how you are doing with your 15 Second Agreements.


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