Are You Sure You Know What You Want?

We motivational speakers talk a lot about dreaming. And I'm no exception. I love to hear people talk about their ideas. I love to get excited with them. And I love to give them encouragement to go after that dream, even if they are scared. I even have this four-step approach to making that dream happen. I call it See, Believe, Do, and Trust. I won't go into it all right now, but the first component is SEE. See where you want to go. That's the first step. You can't achieve success, if you haven't defined it. Sounds like a no-brainer, but many of us are going after dreams that haven't ever been clearly defined, and then we sit there scratching our heads wondering why we didn't get that thing-a-ma-jiggy we wanted. And so I tell them to define the life they want – the dream they want. Visualize it. Describe it. Give it a story. Give it life.

So imagine my surprise when someone recently asked me to define my dream, and I said I wanted to motivate the world through laughter. And she said, "That sounds great. But how are you ever going to know when you get there? Sounds a little vague to me. Shouldn't it be more tangible?" And she was right! I had broken my own rule! (Not the first time.) I had let my dream become warm and fuzzy. And in the process, it lost its definition.

It wasn't that I had let my dream get too big – it was that I had let my dream get too vague!

So I had to sit down and ask myself, "What is my dream exactly? What is it that I specifically want? To be on Ellen? To have a bestselling book? To have my own TV show? To be photographed by papparazzi while sunbathing in the nude? What is the tangible outcome I want from all of this?" It's a good question. A very good question. And I'm still struggling with it.

Ask for what you want, and you just might get it. But if you never define it, you'll never get it. So what about you?

What is your dream? What is that tangible thing that you want to be an outcome of this dream?

I'd love to hear!


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. Okay – well, the image of my favorite motivational speaker being photographed by the papparazzi while sunbathing nude sort of fried my brain.  You told me to SEE and well, I did.  

    Seriously though, what an amazing exercise this is – and I clearly don't have my dream clearly defined either. I think it's time for some serious Dream Defining for me.  When women in my audiences say they want people to see them as "professional," – I do always ask them, "Well what does that LOOK like?  How will you know when you've achieve it?"

    And yes, I haven't REALLY don't that for myself on my Big D either? 

    Off to work. Thank you Kelly!!!!

  2. I am the queen of the fuzzy edged dream!  I know exactly what I want my next cookbook to look like but the precise steps to take it to fruition are as fuzzy as a Georgia peach.  Your motivational speaking talents have reached me through your wonderfully written word, Miss Kelly!  Thanks!

  3. Kelly, have to admit I'd like to see that sunbathing moment! Very visual. I agree with everything you said AND I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute because I wrestle with this concept of how clearly a dream needs to be defined. Once I "got it" that my thoughts, words and actions created my reality, I dreamed about creating a speaking career where I was challenged to consistently grow and learn while inspiring others to speak their truth. I believe I'll do this until either I'm dead or the dream takes me in a new direction. I'm not someone who visualizes myself on a national TV Talk show, but I'm also open to that experience and wouldn't be surprised at all if it shows up on my path. Not to be cocky, just open to the experience. I believe all of us who contribute to this site are on path, under the umbrella of our purpose and sharing our passions. Sure we need to set clearly defined goals to stay on path, but I'm not sure we need to "see" it all perfectly. How will you know when you got there? To me, you'll know. You'll just know. To quote you, "Trust the cape."

  4. I'm all about dreaming, and all about visualizing.  My dream is to inspire people to be the best they can be and in doing so, making the world a better place.  My dream is to do that through my speaking and be in such a place that Gela, my amazing hair dresser, can come on the road with me!  Can you tell I'm like Linda and Polly too with my fuzzy dreams.  I'm just not a numbers person.  I remember hearing a motivational speaker say their dream was to touch 1 million people through their speaking.  How do you measure that?  How will any of us know if we've made it?  And, if Colette says we'll know, then what?  What's next?  I guess we just keep dreaming.  Dream on team!! (Kelly's nude body being photographed on a beach has not been replaced with an Aerosmith tune running through my head!)

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