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How to achieve your dreams

By Aila

In this article I am going to share some of my goals and how I plan to achieve them. My hope is that this example can help other young people become more effective at building their dreams.

My approach will follow three steps:

  1. Me - What are my strengths and interests?

  2. You - How can I help you?

  3. To-Do - What are my priorities and next steps?

To help make this example useful I will use my dreams and goals as of today...April 15th, 2021. These may (and will) change as I grow and improve my understanding of myself and how I can best leverage my strengths and interests to make the world a better place.

Step 1: Me - What are my strengths and interests?

The first step to achieving your dreams is to know what you are good at and what you enjoy. In other want to build from your strengths and interests. So ask yourself two questions:

Question 1: What are my strengths?

  1. Fun - My personality type is the "Entertainer" (ESFP)

  2. Teaching - Explaining complex topics and making them interesting

  3. Public Speaking - Good at thinking on my feet and articulating verbally

  4. Composing - Good at making songs that others enjoy

  5. Health Conscious - Thinking about how to eat and exercise better

  6. Curious - Learning about new things and expanding my awareness of the world

  7. Design - Making things visually appealing and functional

Question 2: What are my interests?

  1. Comedy - Creating funny videos and providing live entertainment

  2. Empowering Kids - Helping kids realize they are powerful

  3. Speech - All varieties ... impromptu, educational, comedy, persuasion

  4. Piano - Learning to play better, write music, and perform for others

  5. Making healthy food and exploring new exercises

  6. Exploring the unknown unknown and sharing with others

  7. Organizing - Thinking about how to best structure virtual and physical space

Notice that my strengths and interests actually align. That may not be the case for you. The important thing is to know your strengths and interests so you can better identify ways to use them to help others.

Step 2: You - How can I help you?

Humans are social beings which means that we are happiest and perform at our best when working together. For this reason our dreams must provide service to others. To do this you need to think about how to leverage your unique strengths and interests to help other people. You can think of this list as a set of actionable projects you can work on to find an equilibrium between your strengths and interests and ways to help other people.

Here are my projects...

  1. Serious Play List - A comedy series created by my sister and I on YouTube.

  2. Mentoring and Outreach - Helping students and WEquil School and sharing about it with friends.

  3. Girls Scout Speech - Sharing my experiences and new Startup with a Girl Scout Troop on 4/29 at 5pm EST.

  4. Composing two new pieces of music to share with WEquil School.

  5. Launching "Blend and Mix"...a startup providing the healthiest possible breakfast options for families living in Falls Church VA every Sunday morning.

  6. Genomics Article - Writing an article on people being cured of genetic diseases and preparing remarks for presentation on April 24th Demo Day.

  7. Build Blend and Mix Website

Step 3: To Do - What are my priorities and next steps?

Setting priorities is key to peak productivity and achieving my dreams. Two questions should be answered when setting priorities.

  1. What are my project dependencies?

  2. What is most important to me?

Many of my projects have dependencies.

  1. Serious Play List - No dependencies ... not currently working on a new video.

  2. Mentoring and Outreach

  3. Mentees depend on me to help within 24 hours of being asked.

  4. Mentees expect me to check in with them every week to ask about projects

  5. Girls Scout Speech

  6. Girl Scouts are counting on me to share details on my startup on April 29th

  7. Website needs to be ready before April 29th.

  8. Composing two new pieces of music - No Dependencies

  9. Launching "Blend and Mix" - No dependencies

  10. Genomics Article

  11. WEquil is counting on me to have my article done by April 21st so I can share details during office hours on April 22nd.

  12. Build Blend and Mix Website

  13. My website will be housed on ... so I need to ask my family to finish with part of the website before I can start.

You can see three types of dependencies. The most important is commitments to others. For example, my responsibility to mentor others at WEquil School. Next is others commitments to me, such as my family needing to finish before I can publish my startup website. The last is dependence on other projects. For example, I can't launch "Blend and Mix" without a website.

Taking into account these dependencies I broke my list of projects into two priority and secondary. I then listed out goals for the week under each.

Priority Projects

  1. Mentoring and Outreach

  2. Check slack every morning to see if my mentees need help.

  3. Check slack every Tuesday and ask my mentees if they are going to present at Demo Day that week.

  4. Genomics Article

  5. Complete my Genomics article by April 21st so I can share details during office hours on April 22nd.

  6. Build Blend and Mix Website

  7. Ask my family to complete by April 22nd so I have a least a week to finish my website before my speech to girls scouts.

  8. Girls Scout Speech

  9. Read Sumay's prepared remarks by April 22nd so I can better position my remarks.

Secondary Projects

  1. Serious Play List

  2. Composing two new pieces of music

  3. Launching "Blend and Mix"

Finally I can make my To Do List. I start with daily responsibilities followed by easy stuff I can knock out. This leaves my head free to focus on the hard stuff.

To Do:

  1. Check in with mentee projects on Tuesday and be ready to help if they need it.

  2. Ask my family to complete by April 22nd

  3. Write Genomics article by April 21st

  4. Read Sumay's prepared remarks by April 22nd


What I love about my To Do List is that it contains the next steps I need to take to achieving my dreams. I'm building from my strengths and interests. I'm adding value to others. I'm owning up to my responsibilities and collaborating effectively.