"I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success is to dream a great dream."
John A. Appleman
How often do you dream or aspire? What do you dream of? Why do people struggle to act upon their dreams? Is it fear of failure, insecurity in their abilities or chalk it up to wishful thinking that holds them back? These are questions that my clients ask me all the time. In return I offer, "Isn't it amazing how people only dream of greatness?"
I have never heard of anyone dreaming of failure or aspiring to be unsuccessful. Failure does not play any part in dreaming. It is the dreamer that instills failure, not the dream. I have read of many very successful dreamers that failed numerous times before they experienced success. The difference is that failure was not going to end their dreams only motivate them to dream bigger.
Many of you fail to seek your purpose in life and you should. You dream and then follow it up with a list of all the reasons why the dream is unachievable. You fill your life with excuses and "I can't." Many great companies were conceived from a dream, nurtured in a garage or basement and grew to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Why not you? Why not your dream? The only true limits you experience in life are those you create or those you allow others to impose upon you. If you can dream it, you can do it!
"Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. I feel that I shall never be like that. But they won through step by step by little bits of wills, little denials of self, little inward victories by faithfulness, and in very little things. They became what they are. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken. There is no sudden triumph, no spiritual maturity. That is the work of the moment."
Amy Carmichael quoted in: Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987,
Word Books Publisher, p. 130.
Dreaming is the easy part. Acting on the dream is harder. Recognize that a dream is a journey. On the simplest level, it takes commitment, time, desire, and courage. But rarely is something great easily realized.
In Bruce Wilkinson's book, "The DreamGiver," he tells the story of a man named Anybody. Anybody has a great dream, but struggles to break free of his comfort zone and push toward his dream. One afternoon he draws the courage and begins to tell others of his dream. They laugh at him, tell him to stop being foolish and forget about his dreams. "Stop kidding yourself, you can't do it," they would remind him. These "dream bullies" make every effort to push him back to mediocrity. Do not get caught in this trap. I am here today to tell you that you CAN do it.
How do I know that this is possible? I have done it. A few years ago, I decided that I was going to step out in faith, believe in myself and God's purpose for my life. I was going to follow my dream. I was in a similar place as "Anybody." I was comfortable but unhappy. I, too, dreamed a greater dream.
When I came to the realization that I wanted more out of life, I created a motivational phrase to keep me going when I felt challenged. "If you can dream it, you can do it!" I made it my life's mission statement. No longer was I going to stand in the way of my dreams or was I going to let anyone else either.
Many people questioned my decisions and looking back now I recognize why; my dreams impacted them. I challenged their comfort zones. They feared my success because of the implications that it had on their lives. They worried that they would lose their partner in pity or were so locked into mediocrity and their comfort zones that it was impossible for them to imagine my success. They viewed the process or decision with great skepticism. Today, my dream is evolving, but the dream is still very much alive. Has it been easy? No. Has it been rewarding? Yes. Will someday I realize my dream? Definitely.
I am here today to challenge you to reach for your dream. Do not be afraid to dream. If you can dream it, you can do it! Many of the people that impacted history came from humble beginnings. We can easily look to the Bible to discover humble greatness. Moses immediately comes to mind. He stuttered and God chose him to speak to Pharaoh. He felt inadequate and unable to achieve the greatness God had laid before him. God often chooses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.
He said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel?" Exodus 3:11. Later in Exodus 4:10, he said, "I am not eloquent, neither before or since you have spoken to me, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." Simply, please do not take me out of my comfort zone. I appreciate you thinking of me, but this might be a little bigger than I can handle. He failed to see the dream because he was focused on the obstacles.
What about David. When his great army cowered before the giant Goliath, he stood up, grabbed his dream of freedom and through a stone in the direction of greatness. He later became a great King. What if that monumental day, he chose not to pick up the stone?
Where would the world be if they had chosen to turn away from a dream? What would have become of them if they chose to listen to all of the reasons "why not," instead of "why not me?" Where will you be when you realize what might have been?
What stone might you throw that could change your life? Get focused and make a commitment. Integrate your dreams into your daily life. Many coaches promote goal setting, as do I. I encourage my clients to list their goals and strategically place them in areas where they can be frequently reminded of the goals. I created a wristband with the embossed phrase; Dream It ? Do It. I look at it all the time. It reminds me of the mission and helps keep things in perspective. If you would like to learn more about the "Dream It ? Do It" wristband, visit my website.
"Those who lose dreaming are lost."
Dreaming is recognizing and embracing the potential for greatness and seeking it in all areas of your life. Believe in your dreams and your ability to accomplish them. Keep your dreams in front of you. Never forget, if you can dream it, you can do it!
Copyright Anthony Mullins
Elite Coaching Alliance 2005
Anthony Mullins is the President and Coach for The Elite Coaching Alliance. He specializes in personal, and leadership, christian based coaching. He is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is a highly sought after speaker and facilitator. He is also the author of an upcoming e-book "Finding Fulfillment in an Unfulfilling World". He can be contacted by phone at 770.587.3545 or by visiting his website http://www.elitecoachingalliance.com