Being smart enough to make your dreams come true

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.
Colin Powell

PurposeWhen you were little, you had a dream. You wanted to be a fireman, a policeman, a fairy princess, a doctor, or whatever. That was NICE.

But NICE isn’t good enough. You NEED a dream if you are ever going to achieve all the happiness, success, and significance that you want … and depending on your beliefs … what God wants for you.

In the beginning, most of our childish dreams were job focused. For example, I wanted to be a national park ranger, a pastor, and a U.S. Senator. As I matured, I realized my dream was not so much dependent on one of those jobs or any other job for that matter. My dream was dependent on one thing … my purpose.

Early on I knew my purpose in life was to help other people become their very best. I knew I had been mightily blessed … educationally, relationally, spiritually, and financially … not for my sake but to be a blessing to others. And I would eventually choose a job or a career that would help me fulfill that purpose.

That dream now permeates every part of my work life and personal life. I’m always asking what I can do to help others become their very best. And once you have a clear dream or purpose, you’ll find dozens of ways to live it out each and every day. Just this last week, for example, I stopped an elderly gentleman shuffling down the concourse of the airport with his shoe untied. Afraid he would trip himself, I stopped him, told him, and offered to tie his shoe for him. At the National Western Rodeo in Denver, the lady ahead of me in the concessions line was distressed because she didn’t have the money to pay for her snacks. I stepped up and paid for it. And at a workshop I delivered for Nestle Purina, I stayed for some time after the presentation to help one of the participants who wanted to discuss a work challenge.

What about you? Do you have a dream, or a purpose, or a vision for your life, your relationships, your career, your family, and everything else? I hope so. If you’re not sure, I suggest you get an MP3 or MP4 copy of my Purpose webinar.

And once you have a clearly defined purpose, do you know how to get other people to buy into your dream? Again, I hope so … because very few of your dreams will ever be achieved all by yourself.

So how do you get others to join in your dream? I’m glad you asked. There are 4 steps. Let’s go through two of them today and two of them next Tuesday.

1. Communicate your dream … logically.

If people don’t understand something, if it doesn’t make sense to them, they don’t buy into it. You have no credibility, and your dream confuses and possibly scares them.

It’s like the comedian Milton Berle said, “We owe a lot to Thomas Edison. If it weren’t for him, we’d be watching television by candlelight.”

If people don’t “get” your dream, they may not “get” you. Perhaps you remember the true story in a New York federal court some years ago. The district attorney presented to the jury a glass gadget that looked something like a small electric light bulb. With scorn he accused the defendant, Lee de Forest, of inventing and then claiming this “worthless” device would transmit the human voice across the Atlantic. The attorney went on to say that de Forest had duped gullible investors into becoming his partners and buying stock in his company. The attorney urged stiff jail sentences for all of them. Indeed two of the partners were convicted, while de Forest got off with a stiff lecture from the judge.

The real problem was in the communication of the dream. The so-called “worthless glass bulb” was the audion tube, perhaps the greatest single invention of the 20th century. It built the foundation of today’s multi-trillion dollar electronics industry.

To communicate your dream logically, address every possible concern other people might have. Be prepared to answer their “but what about this or that” questions. Be extremely thorough when you share your dream, sharing the challenges as well as the positive benefits.

2. Provide a sound strategy people can believe in.

If a dream seems too big or unattainable, people will become discouraged and lose interest. Break your big dream into smaller pieces and give different pieces to different talented people and the task becomes more doable. And each person who has a piece of the dream has a greater sense of ownership and responsibility.

There is a communication art to doing all this. You have to give enough information to satisfy people, but not so much to lose them. You want to show people the path or strategy but not bore or overwhelm them with details.

In fact, the ratings for Congress and the President would be a great deal higher if they simply followed this second strategy. Show us exactly HOW we’ll get out of a war without leaving a bigger mess than we found. Show us exactly HOW the budget deficit will be reduced in ways people can understand and do something about … rather than tell us Social Security and Medicare are expected to go broke.

And companies would engage so much more of their employees’ potential if they showed us HOW their new approach to the marketplace will ensure the company’s survival, or competitiveness, or even their jobs.

The days of “just trust me” are almost over. The days of “show me your dream, explain your dream, and involve me in your dream” are upon us.


In 25 words or less, write out your dream or one of your dreams. Go for clarity.