Do you make wishlists of the things you want to own? Whether it’s for my birthday or something to save for, I do. I have an Amazon wishlist, a Pinterest board dedicated to things I want, and an ongoing list in my head.
While an argument can be made for wishlists being material nonsense, I think they can say a lot about the kind of person we want to be. When I think about my wishlists, the things on them are typically beautiful and/or useful things that I wouldn’t buy for myself because they either aren’t necessities or are too expensive to justify without a good reason. But the things on my wishlist help me to work toward becoming the version of myself I want to become. For example, I wanted to be physically strong, so I put adjustable dumbbells on my wishlist and saved up for them, while lifting whatever weights/heavy things I had on hand.
But making a wishlist isn’t just for things, and it’s not just a personal thing.
My organization recently went through a strategic planning process. While “strategic planning” might sound incredibly dull to some of you, I like to think about it as an “actionable wishlist” process instead.
What did I wish for my organization?

  • That we don’t worry about making ends meet
  • That we have the right team in place to do the work we do and the work we want to be doing
  • That our work is effective and helpful to our partners and the field in general
  • That we become a household name (in certain circles)

Knowing these goals, we were able to turn them into more business-y sounding strategic priorities and then work backwards to determine what action steps will be necessary to achieve each of them.
And then we’re off to actually tackle those action steps! Just like I did with my goal of getting stronger: having the weights on my wishlist wasn’t going to make me stronger; and just buying them wasn’t going to do it, either. I had to create an action plan to get stronger, and acquiring those weights were just one step toward granting my wish.
There are a lot of quotes out there about wishing being a waste of time because it’s action that makes dreams come true. I only agree with half of that: sure, action is what makes dreams come true (along with luck, and perseverance, and knowing the right people), but how do we know what to work toward if we don’t wish for it first?

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