Deadlines Kill Dreams

I love deadlines. They can be a motivating and fun way to gamify a task and help you stay on track with your projects. Deadlines give you something to aim for that will get you closer to your big dreams and goals.  

But sometimes, we use deadlines against ourselves and today I want to talk about how to stop doing that. 

Over the past few years, I’ve seen people set really big goals and dreams and then put this tiny little deadline on them. They say things like…

“This is my year! I’m going to give myself six months to land a manager and then quit my job.”

“It’s do or die – I must sell a screenplay by the end of the year!” 

“I’m turning 40 [or 50, 60, 70], so I have to make it happen this year or else.”

Or else what? 

What happens when six months or a year goes by, or the money runs out? Do you go back to the life you had before, end of story? What happens when you hit the “milestone” age and haven’t succeeded in your dream? Do you just give up on it because you didn’t hit your deadline?

Deadlines kill dreams. Don’t defeat yourself before you even get started. Save deadlines for projects, tasks, and short-term goals. Use deadlines as an evaluation tool, not a death sentence to your big dream.

Consider how long it takes to master a career as a doctor, lawyer, pianist, pro athlete, full-time A-list actor, best-selling author, or any other number of careers that require a high level of mastery. How many of them do you think could achieve that in six months to a year?  

Instead of deadlining your dream, commit to it. 

Because to make it a reality, you have to believe in it despite a timeline, despite what you think it should look like, despite how young or old you are. Just ask Grandma Moses. 

If you’re more committed to the deadline than you are to your big dream, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  

If you have a big dream and your primary goal is to become a full-time screenwriter, the work is really about becoming that person who is a full-time screenwriter. That work is a lifetime commitment, not a deadline or something you do after reaching the goal.

Commit to the process of doing whatever it takes for however long it takes to reach that big dream. You have to emulate what the person is doing who is already living that dream. 

Commit to meeting as many people as you can to build your network without worrying about how that will come back to you. This is what the person is doing who is already living that dream.

Commit to sharing your work with the world despite the rejections, critics, flops, and numerous fails your work might encounter. That is what the person is doing who is already living that dream. 

Commit to showing up for yourself when you say you will, to hone and master your craft. That is what the person is doing who already is living that dream.

Do this because this is how you will operate when you reach that big dream. It’s how you would normally walk in the world if you had already achieved your success. 

Commitment doesn’t start when you reach your dream – it starts now, and you’re highly unlikely to achieve your dreams without it.  

If you can say…

“I don’t care how long it takes or what my success is going to look like exactly, but becoming a full-time writer is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m fully committed to the long game.” 

…it’s way more inspiring than…

“I’ll give myself six months to land a manager. If I don’t, I’ll just go back to corporate.”

There’s a book called The 10X Rule. The author, Grant Cardone, talks about how people fail to reach their dreams because they miscalculate the effort and how long it’s really going to take to get what they want. They give up because they think it’s not happening fast enough. He says that whatever you think is going to be the effort and time needed to reach your dreams, to create or achieve something, multiply that by 10. 

This is why commitment is what you need to reach your big dream, not a deadline. 

You may have to get honest with yourself. Is this a dream you really want? Is your why big enough to commit to? It’s 100 percent okay to say no. Nothing is more miserable than pursuing a dream you don’t really want. I’m speaking from lots of experience on this one. 

Be honest with your original intentions and pivot if you have to. There is zero shame in that! The courage to pivot could be whole other Tiny Talk! 

If you’re committed to becoming the person it takes to realize your big dream or you need clarity around what your big dream is, I can help you. Sign up for a free consult right here. Let’s get you moving in the right direction.