Martin Luther King didn’t ONLY have a dream

An inspiration

April 4, 2018 marked 50 years since the death of Martin Luther King Jr. If you ever get a chance to visit Washington DC, take some time to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial where you’ll find a 9.1m stone relief of the great man, facing across the water to the Jefferson Memorial. It’s an inspiring sight. (And, indeed, an inspiring site.)

During his life he also inspired through his rousing speeches, the most famous of which is probably the “I have a dream” speech of August 1963. But the point is, he didn’t ONLY have a dream.


We all have dreams, but if that’s all we have then it’s not enough to effect real change in our lives. We need more. We need to turn our dreams into goals, our goals into plans, and our plans into actions.

A dream is a greatly-desired aspiration, ambition or ideal. Dreams are important, as if we’re not clear what we want in life then we risk expending physical and emotional energy on things that won’t actually make us any happier. It’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about what gives you joy, what inspires you, and what you don’t want to look back on with regrets in 10 years’ time.

Having identified what you desire, the next thing is to clarify what that dream means in terms of goals; observable and measurable end results. Let’s say, for example, that your dream is to become a teacher. Your goal might be that you want to get your teaching degree. However a goal expressed as such is still a bit vague and sounds rather like a dream.


Goals should be SMART. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-limited

So you could say “I want to complete (measurable) a teaching degree at ECU in early childhood education (specific, relevant) by 2023 (time-limited) by studying full-time (achievable)”. You could also, depending on the goal, break it down further into smaller goals; in this case, you could consider how many units you want to take each semester or any pre-requisites to gaining admittance to Uni.

Having established the goals, you can then plan how you’re going to achieve them. This could include working out the financial and logistical resources, for example childcare, that you need to put in place in order to take the actions to achieve your goals.


And then Do. Something. Anything. (Well, not quite). But getting started is hard; unfortunately it’s usually not as easy as “just do it” or “feel the fear and do it anyway” as emotional blockages can get in the way and anxiety-related procrastination can rear its ugly head. That’s where a counsellor and/or coach can be useful, helping you to resolve those emotional blockages, stop procrastinating and start actively working towards creating the life you want to have.

But, in the case of Martin Luther King Jr., “I have a dream, SMART goals, a resources plan and I’m marching on Washington as we speak” doesn’t sound quite so catchy.

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