Can I still Dream Post Pandemic?
If I were to ask a room of 100 leaders to raise their hands if they had a dream, I believe nearly every hand would go up. Why? Because we all have something inside of us that we think or dream about.
Even as we emerge from COVID-19, dreams exist, yet possibly highly frustrated due to external circumstances outside of our control. The entire world seems to be crying out for a sense of normalcy. This focus can overshadow, stifle, squash or maybe even kill our dreams. Is it possible, however, that when dreams die, new dreams can be born, or some dreams can be resurrected?
Dreams precede inventions, successful companies, contagious movements and thriving communities. However, we know that it is not the act of dreaming alone that leads to successful outcomes.
Dreams that are connected with a discipline model have the greatest chance of coming alive, enduring challenges and propelling you forward.
A discipline model is a framework or a system that’s used to take the dream from the private idea phase into the real world where you and others can benefit from your dream. A useful discipline model for igniting dreams is the one that connects your dream to a vision. Then connects to wisdom and deliberate action.
It looks like this: Dream+Vision+Wisdom=Action.
Many have fallen short when it comes to seeing their dreams become a reality because they have not used a framework or a discipline model to help bring the dream to life.
This can be a frustrating place for a leader who wants to have an impact.
I had an experience with two business leaders – Both incredibly talented, both visionaries, both had a dream of writing a book and creating a speaking business. Each one of them spoke about the impact they wanted to make.
A Tale of Two CEOs
The first, a CEO of a chemical company, wanted to share financial and success tools with next generation leaders. The second, a coach who wanted to share life strategies with women starting over after a major transition such as retirement, divorce, loss of a spouse or job restructure.
The first leader talked and talked about the book he would write, whereas the second leader not only talked about it but followed a discipline model to make it happen. A couple of years down the line, one was still talking about writing his book. The other wrote the book. And, he was approached by a production company to turn that book into a television show.
The second leader turned their dream into something that people could engage with and use to make their lives and businesses better. The first has meaningful and important information to offer the world, but he has not taken the time to turn it into something people can use. In fact, the book is only one of his ideas. He still wants to write the book, however he also has other ideas that he’s considering…most of them not making it beyond the idea stage and never brought to market. This can be a common challenge with visionaries.
The first leader is not alone when it comes to bringing a dream to life, without a catalytic converter to turn their dreams into a vision, connect that vision to wisdom (or strategy) and then move to action. The dream is stuck idling. Or it completely stalls. For every invention, book, movie, company and product you see, there are millions more that never make it past the dream stage. In her Ted talk, Bel Pesce shares a provocative talk on 5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams. They include expecting your dream to be an overnight success, settling for minimal success and blaming someone else when things don’t work out. There will always be reasons not to advance past the dreaming state. Those reasons will separate the dreamer from the person who is committed to making things happen.
Dreamers who are committed to converting dreams into reality recognize the results will bring great benefit to someone. However, that is not enough of a propulsion agent in and of itself to bring about a new reality. The blind spot for the dreamer is mistaking articulation for strategy and execution. You may think because you are writing down your dream or openly sharing it that you are doing what it takes to make the dream a reality.
The dreamer may get stuck due to lack of clarity around the ultimate purpose or the why of the dream. This could include:
1. the conviction of who the dream is for
2. the value it will bring
3. what the desired outcome will be.
Without a clear grasped of those critical dream conversion answers, it can be difficult to form a clear vision -there exist too many holes in it, still.
Proverbs 29:18 says:
Where there is no vision the people perish. It’s Interesting that this well-known scripture does not say where there is no dream the people perish. The perishing happens when the dream is not turned into a vision, a perspective or access point with which others can engage and benefit from the dream.
Let’s look at how a discipline model will help you move from the sometimes-scattered place of constant dreaming into deliberate and measured action.
You have an idea, a solution to a problem or something that will advance mankind. Not only is it a good idea. You believe it is inspired or maybe even a gift. You can see how this dream will be of service to many; you’ve shared the dream; validated its usefulness; you even have proof or positive feedback on the success of the dream. Now it’s time to take the dream to the next level. But, you’re stuck. You want to keep thinking and developing the idea instead of doing what it takes to bring it to life. You wait, think, change things, wait and think some more. Nothing happens to your dream. In fact, you’re afraid of being pinned down or put in a box. So you leave your dream out of practical reach so you can tinker with it at will.
You may be asking yourself, “now that I have my dream, what’s the next step? How do I move forward?”