Turning Dreams into RealityMar 13, 2023
DON'T STOP DREAMING
Why is it that the older we get, the less of a chance we seem to have to make our dreams become a reality? In many leadership circles, dreaming is just a fantasy and something that’s meant for Hollywood studios. We get settled into the rut of life, and contentment falls into place. Contentment is not bad and it can protect us from doing things that could potentially disrupt or destroy our lives. Yet it will remind us to be realistic with our life and leadership, and when that happens, we think about our dreams less and less.
It all makes sense, right? You and I have bills to pay. We have families to take care of. We have responsibilities. We stress about what other people think of us. All these worries form a powerful partnership that keeps us from dreaming about a new reality for our leadership and life. We fall into the contentment trap and then our dreams begin to die.
Now, I’m not talking about fairy tale dreams.
When I was in the fourth grade, I was the number one fan of the Detroit Tigers. I had giant fairy tale dreams of becoming a pro baseball player someday. I loved baseball, I still do. I followed baseball. I studied baseball. I learned everything I could. I worked out all the time. I paid friends to pitch baseballs to me. I was always throwing a ball against the wall.
The reality is though, I just didn’t have the genetic make up to be a professional baseball player. Yes, I had the dreams, desires and love for the game. But, my DNA structure wasn’t all that impressive. I was barely over five feet tall and wasn’t very strong. My heart was there, but I knew this dream was no more than a fairy tale.
I’m not talking about those kinds of fairy tale dreams. I’m talking about very realistic dreams that can become reality with hard work, goal setting and perseverance. These are the types of dreams that can grow your leadership, make your life better and give you the dreamworld you've been hoping for.
Don’t stop dreaming!
Do everything you can to keep dreaming and creating a new reality for your leadership. Dreaming is a vital function of our leadership. It helps us break free from wasting our leadership on areas that don’t feed our passions and creativity. Dreaming allows us to set goals that seem ridiculously far from reality, yet are closer to reality than we realize.
“People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes."
- Neil Gaiman
Take all of the elements from your dreams and turn them into a vision and goals for your life!
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
DEVELOPING YOUR DREAM
When I was working on an MBA, one of my first classes was on self leadership. We spent weeks creating a life plan and a life map. Many of the students in the class, including myself at times, rolled our eyes at the time we were devoting to this project. How could this help us in our business leadership?
The reality is, if we do not value and prioritize our self leadership, the likelihood of our dreams coming true becomes very small. As leaders, we must create a vision for our lives, and when we do, our dreams will come alive. A helpful equation for this thought process looks like this:
Vision + Planning + Goals = Dreaming
A vision is a picture of the preferred future. What do you want your life and leadership to look, feel, and be like? When you answer those questions you can put together a plan for how you want to make them happen. Once the plan is in place, you set goals to give you the accountability to accomplish them.
That's when your future will come alive in your dreams.
Putting these answers on paper will give you a foundation for creating the kind of life that you desire. The more work you invest in this, the clearer your vision of what your life and leadership can become. When that happens, your dreaming will explode. And again, I’m not talking about fairy tale dreaming. Those are fun and it’s a blast to wonder what it would’ve been like to be a pro baseball player. But as leaders, we need to dream for what the future can become and how to achieve it.
For 26 years, I worked vocationally for Churches and nonprofits. They were some of the very best years of my life. But for the last 10 years, I’ve had this ongoing dream to become a motivational speaker and healthy communication trainer and coach. For as long as I can remember, I absolutely loved being on stage, motivating, encouraging, and challenging people to stop settling and dream bigger. I have always loved the art and craft of public speaking and am passionate about helping leaders become better communicators. For years, I have wanted to branch off from my day-to-day job and start a company that would help leaders become more effective communicators.
Fast forward to mid 2022 and I did just that. Together with some amazing partners, we started Speak with People, a communication coaching and training company. Speak with People exists to elevate the importance and practice of healthy communication in leaders’ lives.
This has been a dream for a very long time and we are pursuing it. We have launched a podcast to help leaders communicate more effectively in all areas of their lives. We have launched this blog with educational articles to help leaders continue to grow. I travel and speak for companies who want to change the communication culture of their organization into a healthy one. We coach leaders to become more effective, empathetic and captivating communicators.
It is absolutely amazing and I am living out my dream.
But, it never would have happened if I had not learned about creating a life plan and map more than 12 years ago. And that would not have happened without first communicating the dream to those closest with me.
COMMUNICATING YOUR DREAM
When I started to talk about the dream and put ideas into action, that’s when things really started moving forward! The more I talked about it, the more passionate I became and the more others started asking amazing questions to help me figure out if I should keep moving forward with this dream.
What is your dream? And is it the type of dream that if you told people about it, they would blow you off or think you’re crazy? All dreams do not have to be shoot-for-the-moon kind of dreams, but they do need to push us past our realistic contentment. They need to inspire us, so they inspire other people. Do your due diligence. Create a life map and have a vision for where you want to go and who you want to be. Then, you will be ready to communicate your dreams
Now it's time for the scary and exhilarating part of your dream process: communicating your dreams. This is also when they will feel very, very alive!
Here are a five steps to living out your dream:
1) Before you communicate, repeat this phrase: “Stop worrying what other people will think.” I know this is easier said than done and it’s natural for us to worry about what others will think. But, if you are a healthy leader, and you have done the due diligence of creating a life map and a plan for your dream, then it is time to move forward.
2) Write out your dream in its simplest form in 1-2 sentences. Be as exact and precise as you can. Don’t rush this. Take the time to really think it through. Think through what problem your dream solves and how it will help others. Ask friends and family what they think; then take their ideas and use them to make your idea even stronger.
3) Make a plan for what you want to accomplish. If you’re starting a new business, write the business plan. If you’re starting a non profit, write out every step that you need to accomplish. Make a checklist and give yourself deadlines. You will be amazed at everything you will be able to accomplish.
4) Start with those closest to you and share your dream. Send them the link to your website or your YouTube channel where you talk about your dream. Ask them to like your Facebook page or Instagram page. And ask them for their support.
5) Don’t look back. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s time to accomplish your dream so keep moving forward!
I would have absolutely loved to become a Detroit Tiger and that would have been amazing. But, the dream that I’m living out right now is incredibly exciting and one that I never thought would happen. So, don’t give up on your dreams. Create your life plan, define your vision and dream! You will be amazed at what happens and how your life will change.
By Jason Raitz - Founder of Speak with People