I recently participated in an interview where the host asked me if there was anything else I wanted to add about the topic of leadership. I wanted to shout, “Dream big!” So now I’m telling you why.
As we mature, we tend to leave our childhood ambitions behind. Once you start putting limitations on yourself, your ability to dream big goes away. If you would have told me I would lead thousands of people, inspire others to follow their why, or author a book, my younger self wouldn’t have believed it because no one who had accomplished big things encouraged me until much later in high school.
When I think about people who dream big, world-class athletes come to mind. They expect to win! I believe this mindset stems from one of the defining qualities of an effective leader: having a vision. People who succeed at great things in life have a vision in which they firmly believe and that’s rooted in their why. You don’t have to look very far to see people in our sphere who are breaking barriers that hark back to that youthful exuberance.
Another group of world-class athletes who have a firm grasp on their youthful exuberance are the nearly twelve thousand aging entrants who compete in the annual Senior Olympics. Rookies are in their fifties, and veterans are closing in on one hundred. Some individual contestants compete in as many as a dozen events, ranging from sprinting, shot put, and pole vaulting to swimming and other age-defying events. If it weren’t for the TV coverage, you’d find it hard to believe. The reality is that these athletes have a vision of the active life they want to lead. Medal winner Charlotte Sanddal is one hundred years old and has been credited with at least ten national records and even holds a FINA world record in the ninety-five to ninety-nine age group in the two hundred-meter individual medley.
Why is this such an awe-inspiring accomplishment? Because we keep telling ourselves not to dream big. Instead, we need to take disbelief out of the equation—take on an almost delusional quality about your commitment! Sometimes that defy-all-the-odds belief in something is what it takes to overcome the naysayers.
In my book, I explore “suspending your disbelief.” In other words, open your eyes to the possibilities. If you’ve ever watched an action movie, you know there are times when you suspend your disbelief, which means you willingly ignore the implausible for the sake of enjoyment. The same can be applied to our own lives. When we push pause on questioning what’s truly possible, we give ourselves permission to dream and focus on what could be.
With that in mind, this time of year feels especially important for envisioning the best version of ourselves and our teams. It’s a habit that’s been reinforced by my company’s planning calendar for the past twelve years. October is a time for future visioning, so I’ve found that it’s a perfect time to look at my personal goals too. It’s that ideal window of time to look ahead before the holidays capture our attention.
If you haven’t already started, think ahead toward January, and revisit your why. Do you still wake up most mornings and feel strongly about its connection to a higher purpose? If the answer is yes…
- Look for ways you can make an investment in yourself so you’re bringing your A game.
- Determine if you need to recharge your batteries and incorporate those refueling opportunities in your schedule.
- Consider those around you who are integral to your goals. What do they need to know? How can you support them?
My son Stevie says, “Dad, I’m going to be an inventor!” At what age will he stop saying that? I hope never. But at some point, some of us stop being ambitious dreamers along the way. We start talking ourselves out of it. My challenge to you is to stop talking and start doing. Greatness can’t come from limiting yourself. You gotta dream big.
Live your why,
P.S. If you wanna dream big, download my new book discussion guide that walks you through helpful prompts about each of the seven pathways and how they’ve helped me. Don’t have the book yet? Click here. Is a promotion in your future plans? Here are five factors to consider so you don’t get passed over.