Do you dream of owning a house, running your own business, or making enough money to help out your whanau?

Whatever your biggest dreams are, you probably won’t get there by going through the same old routines. You need to stop and make sure you’re working towards the future you want – rather than just working.

According to MPTT navigator John Kotoisuva, the key to being unstoppable is to get fired up about where you’re heading in life.

“Life should be exciting. Trapped inside everyone is a leader. A leader knows what they want and where they are going; a leader has vision of a preferable future.

“But not everyone becomes the leader they could be, because they’ve been programmed not to dream big.”

So how do you get to where you want to be in life? Follow these steps to achieve your goals and make your dreams a reality.

1. Visualise your dream

Goals should take you closer to the life you want. So before you decide what your specific goals are, take some time to picture where you’d like to be five years from now, says John.

“You’ve got to set your own goals for the way you see yourself living in the next five years, especially after you become qualified in the trades.”

Knowing where you want to end up is the key to motivating yourself to set and achieve your goals.

“When you start something in life, it’s your faith and determination in your dream that will get you to finish it,” says John.

“When you visualise what you want your future to look like, you get turbo-charged emotionally because you’re excited about where you want to be.”

So think about what you want your life to look like – not just your career. That includes where you want to live, the lifestyle you’d like, and how you want to spend your time. Also think about the legacy you’ll leave behind. Ask yourself, what would you like your grandchildren to say about you?

“If you set your mind to that, you’ll become unstoppable,” says John. “I’ve seen young people put that vision in place, and nothing can stop them. They just keep going because they want to get there.“

2. See your trade as a vehicle

If you want a career in the trades industry, you’ll obviously need to choose a trade to learn. But the trade itself doesn’t have to be your dream or your passion – it’s a way of achieving the future you want, says John.

“You’ve got to see your trade as a vehicle that will take you into your future and influence the quality of your life”.

“The trade is not the beginning and end of everything. It’s your journey in life that must be important to you and will be the biggest motivating factor for you.”

Remember, a trade involves practical skills you can learn – so it’s not about being a naturally talented tradesperson.

“The trade needs to be put into its proper perspective, because no-one was born to be a welder,” says John. “Welders are made, carpenters are made. And people’s careers do change along the way.”

3. Make a plan

Now it’s time to get practical. Think about where you are now compared to where you want to be in the future. What steps can you take to achieve your dream, and when would you like to do this by?

“It’s very powerful when you have that vision and you smack a date on that dream,” says John.

“You need to have a plan. The gap between where you are now and what you want in the future is called the plan.”

You don’t need to know all the steps right now – you just need to know what to do next to move closer to your dream. For example, if in five years you want to be your own boss, your next step might be choosing the trade you want to learn, and then completing a pre-trades course. As you go along, the next steps will become more clear to you.

The key is to focus on growing your skills and the value you have to offer. Even if your goals require you to earn plenty of money, the best way to achieve that is to focus on personal growth and building your skills, says John.
“Money is just a by-product – it will follow if you’re good at what you do”.
“You increase your pay as you increase your value as an individual. To increase your value, you need to grow as an individual.”

4. See challenges as a learning experience

No matter what you’re working towards, there will always be difficult times.

When we journey towards something new, it’s never easy,” says John. “It’s always an uphill battle because we’re going into new territory that we’ve never been before.”

So when you face challenges, it’s important to keep your dream in mind. Picturing the future you’re working towards will remind you why it’s worth the challenge.

“What can get someone to quit is when they start focusing on the difficulties and lose sight of their vision and where they want to go,” says John.

And remember, challenges are also a sign that you’re growing as a person and working towards something worthwhile.

“You will never escape hurdles and challenges. Like they say, no pain no gain. Challenges are a sign that you’re gaining. You never grow in your comfort zone.”

5. Stay flexible

No matter how great your plan is, you’ll probably need to adjust it along the way. That’s because as you grow, your goals will likely change too.

“When we journey along in life we use a certain vehicle, such as a trade, to move into the future,” says John. “The most exciting thing is when you move from one vehicle to the next, you discover more about who you are and what you’re capable of doing.”

So when you’re no longer feeling challenged, it’s time to make a change. For example, after getting qualified as a carpenter and working for someone else for a while, it might then be time to take on the challenge of being a self-employed contractor.

“When you start to plateau – when it’s become just a job and no longer challenges you – that’s when it’s time to move on,” says John. “That takes you to another level and it’s exciting, because there are new challenges.”

So if you start to get bored with your work, be open to making changes to your plan.

“Who knows what the future has in store for you? It’s such an exciting thing to take on new challenges and grow as a person.”