Last week, after writing Dream Big or Live Small, I promised to “get into more details of what it takes to Dream Big.” Here we go. Allow me a couple paragraphs to set it up.
Your world of family and friends (in fact most Americans) love dreamers… unless the dreamer is you. Then all you hear is “be more realistic,” “that’s crazy,” or “you’ll never do that.” I don’t know about you, but the minute someone tells me I can’t do something is when that “something” becomes one of my goals in life. I feel honored when I’m called weird or crazy because what I’m really hearing is simply that “I don’t think like the rest of them.”
Damn right! I don’t think like everyone else and I don’t want to. And neither do you. That’s why you read my posts. You will change your world; you will be a difference-maker. The world will be a better place because you are willing to take a chance, willing to be laughed at. Most important, you are willing to fail because you understand that failure is only another step on your route to success.
So We Dream Big!
In June of 1989 when I was a minister I was dissatisfied with my job, I made a promise to myself: “Next year at this time I will no longer be employed by this church. I have no idea what I’ll be doing but it won’t be this. I think I just set it aside and went on with my business, but with the full confidence that I was going to make a change.” In March of 1990 I received a call that the Chevron Corporation was looking for external trainers—people who could deliver training to small groups. Since this was in my wheelhouse I made the necessary calls.
What is the likelihood of a minister moving to the corporate world as a trainer/advisor? Not very. Yet, the next thing I knew was that Chevron hired me as an external trainer. They trained me in four team-development courses and I was sent out weekly all over the U.S. delivering training. Within a little more than a year I was traveling internationally and doing more than training. I was facilitating strategic planning sessions for high-level groups.
There’s no doubt this dream just sort of fell into place. Although it did require my willingness to change and take a chance that I might fail. However, I must admit that failure never entered my mind. Sure there were tests and unsuccessful attempts but I always knew I could and would do it. It turned out to be the first step in my corporate consulting career that has lasted twenty-five years. During this time I’ve created a score of dreams. Some came to fruition, others not so.
Some dreams just fall on your plate. That’s God or the universe or fate or whatever you believe is a power greater than yourself. But most dreams begin in your heart or mind and gradually permeate your entire being until you can’t handle them any more. You HAVE to give it a shot.
Dream… Then Make It So
Okay finally. Here are my 5 Steps to Create a Dream and Then Make it Happen.
- Ponder the Idea.
Begin by asking yourself, “What am I personally gifted/talented to do?” Ask: How can I Impact My World?
- Decide on a Big Ole Fat Crazy Dream.
If people don’t think you’re kinda nuts, perhaps your dream is not big enough. But, it must be accomplished within one year, preferably in 6 months.
- Put Your Dream in Writing.
Articulate it clearly so you know what is entailed in your dream. It’s important that, although the dream may seem crazy to others, it is perfectly sensible to you! Are you willing to give your all to do what it takes? Are you willing to ignore the naysayers?
- Make a High-Level Plan.
This may tone down your dream some, but it will still be big. Every humongous journey begins with a simple step. Your plan doesn’t have to be detailed at this point. Just include the major steps (and timeline) for it to happen. Push your timeline so that it forces you to always to be actively doing something to make it happen in a year. Big dreams will require big effort.
In your details be sure to include the people and other resources you will need. Big dreams require resources: money, people, time, expertise, and personal growth. Are you still excited?
- Test Your Dream.
After you have made what seems to you a somewhat realistic plan, then share it with a trusted friend who believes in you, but someone who will test your hypothesis and challenge you (but not discourage you.) Don’t let people talk you out of your dream once it is part of your heart and soul. Just do it and do it now.
For some, dreaming can sometimes be an almost “out of body experience.” Ideas seem to come from nowhere or from something that moves you or when your mind is wandering in the twilight zone. For others it is a simple matter to seeing a need and saying “I can fix this or at least make an impact.” Whichever way it comes don’t shy away from it. It’s coming from somewhere deep in your soul. Even if it’s a personal lifestyle dream, like an Aston Martin, make it so.
Because accomplishing that personal dream can give you the confidence to be a “world-changer” or a “difference-maker,” which will enrich your life beyond any other dream you’ve ever dreamed.
Like Steve Jobs said to John Sculley when Steve recruited John away from Pepsi in the late 1980’s, “John, do you want to make colored sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want a chance to change the world?”
The same goes for you and me. Do you want to get up every morning, do the same job, come home and watch TV, or do you want to do a dream to impact YOUR WORLD?