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Dream, Plan, Succeed!
By Susie Fields Carder

(Picture) Susie Fields Carder is Executive Director of Salon Training International, a division of Milady

Let's take a journey into your life for the next twelve months. Where are you? Who are the people surrounding you? Where do you work? Where do you live? How much money do you make? What kind of car do you drive? Who are your friends? What are your accomplishments?

When we dream with an end in mind, visions and possibilities show up like miracles. Most people do not give themselves the luxury to dream or to pursue happiness. They just think it will be bestowed upon them; they believe the Good Fairy will make it happen. They are caught up in the "Someday, I will......," but the "someday" never comes.

One of the problems shared frequently by unhappy people is that they allow their lives to be governed by what may happen tomorrow. They are always waiting for a future incident to make them happy, such as getting married, paying off the mortgage, children completing their educations, finding the right salon, or getting a new car. These people often are disappointed and frustrated.

It is unwise to base happiness on a specific event or possible occurrence in an uncertain future. Just as you find the solution to one problem, another problem will come along. Your whole life will become a succession of difficulties or problems, both large and small. For "winners", these times are an opportunity for challenge and growth. Happiness is right now. The "Someday, I will.....," never comes.

Fear of Success
But is there safety in procrastination? Procrastination is generated by the fear of success. I used to think it was the fear of failure, but now I know, after years of studying and costly experiences of my own, that people procrastinate because they are afraid of what they feel they do not deserve and the success they know will result if they move ahead now.

I was caught in the "Someday, I will......" Until I got what I call a "cosmic boot". The "cosmic boot" is when you are waiting for the fairy to show up and for something to happen to awaken you. Mine happened to be two major car accidents within six months, both of which totaled my cars and left me with serious physical injury. I believe my fairy was shaking the fantasy out of me and screaming, "Wake up! This is your life, not a test life, not a rehearsal. This is it!" And as I lay flat on my back with a concussion, broken leg, and wounded spirit, I started inventing my life. I started inquiring into my purpose. At that point, I was financially successful and had a great job, but it was not my purpose. My point is that there is no "Good Witch" or "Bad Witch" and there definitely no ruby slippers, just your smelly shoes in the closet.

Dare to Dream
What you need to do is to create a future, a future bigger than you had imagined, and decide who you will be in 2007. Then, work backward from there. Most people get confused. Confusion is an agent of sabotage and prevents us from truly experiencing success. Another agent of sabotage is self-doubt, such as: I can't....., I could never....., and It's not possible....., which is your own resignation and cynicism. It's important to understand which one stops you. Once you identify the one it is, you can battle that conversation. You can see yourself and experience yourself differently. Then, you will know that you have the power to break through the agents of sabotage.

Money creates self-doubt; I share this with you because no matter how successful, no matter how much I produce or how big I play, that little devil sitting on my shoulder or that Doubting Thomas pops up and says: "Yeah, right! You'll never find the money." Or "You'll never be good enough." Can you identify with this, too?

Making Changes
Change occurs by noticing, not by doing something different. The French have a saying: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Changing habits, belief systems, and behaviors requires your noticing at the exact moment that you are doing it. The subconscious is a powerful thing: the subconscious state is where a breakthrough occurs.

So now you have the idea of what is getting in your way, and most of the time, it is your own limitations. The mind actually cannot distinguish between truth and fantasy.

So Fantasize, dream and explore. This is where the fun begins. Write these different categories on a pad of yellow paper: Family, Career, Education, Physical, Spiritual, Fun, and Financial. Notice that Financial is the last on the list, not the first. If your life is balanced, the financial aspects will be handled.

Next, prepare a separate page for each category. On each page, list as many things as you want under the category. Some will have lots of things; others will have only a few. You will notice that if you have too much under Career, you may be avoiding fun or intimacy. This exercise also gives you a gauge for your priorities, where and when you are spending most of your time. Now you should look at the short term and the long term. Twelve months would be long term and 30 days would be short term. Now work backward and ask yourself the following (or similar) questions:

  1. If I want to attain this in twelve months, what do I have to do every month, every day, or every hour?
  2. Who may I ask for support? (Support systems are amazing. When you speak about what you want, you hold yourself accountable.)
  3. Who is already doing this?
  4. Who can I ask to mentor me?
  5. What education or information do I need to obtain each goal?
  6. How committed am I to this?
  7. What would I have to give up obtaining this? (This question is a brilliant one because sometimes we have to give up being comfortable in order to move forward.)
Empower Yourself
The power of this experience is the process. There are three major points here. The first is time. By what date will you accomplish this particular goal? Be definite about the date so that you are accountable. The second is specificity. Be specific about what you have to do in order to have this goal come to fruition. The third is action. Without an action plan, it's just another great idea.

A well-known industry leader, Jim Yates, says he uses the ALA principle. ALA means: Ask questions, Listen to responses, and take Action. Action is the antidote for despair. When you are moving forward, you are growing: when you are standing still, you are stagnating. Every day, work on your action plan and do one thing, such as telling everyone what you are doing so they can support you. The way we change in this industry is one step at a time and one person at a time. It's by standing in the unknown and feeling okay about being uncomfortable. It's the inquiry into where miracles occur in your life. It's also an inquiry into your self-esteem. Live your life as if it were a project, as if you were planning a vacation or a party. Remember: your gift from your Divine Maker is your life, and what you do with it is your gift back.

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