Leaders should dream big to create the targets that begin to shape where they will go and what they will do.
Many people hope good things in life will come their way. Many people wish for more success. But hoping and wishing aren’t adequate tools to create a big life.
In truth, your life will not be bigger than your dreams.
No one hits a target at which they aren’t aiming. When you dream, you create the targets that begin to shape where you will go and what you will do. History is full of stories, both real and fictional about ordinary people who did extraordinary things because they had a big dream.
Once upon a time, England was a lawless place without rule, order or justice. It was not a place where the average man could safely work and raise his family. A young boy came on the scene, Arthur. And, Arthur had a dream. He dreamed of Camelot. Camelot would be a place of peace and fairness. It would be a kingdom of order and love. So beautiful and power was Arthur’s dream that it inspired powerful and mighty men to ride from all over the land to sit at the Round Table. The table was round because they were not subservient to Arthur, but they all were fully committed to the vision. Those Knights of the Round Table rode through the land and subdued it. They created Camelot.
Genghis Khan was a boy in a culture in which the clans constantly fought each other. They wanted gold, women and horses and they took no pause in killing their cousins or even their brothers to take what they had. It would have been easy for Genghis Khan to live the life into which he was born and to spend his life fighting for horses and money for himself. But, he had a dream. He wanted to conquer the world. He enticed some of the clans to ride with him; promising more gold, women and horses than they would ever get killing one another. When they conquered a city, he held back and sent the others in to plunder. Before long he had assembled a vast army that rode from the Far East to the castles of Europe, conquering land after land. All because of a dream.
When Lee Iacocca took control of Chrysler, it was in trouble. Their models were outdated, unreliable and unpopular. He knew they had to make some radical changes. He was looking at one of their models with his designers and engineers. “Take off the top and make that car a convertible”, he ordered. They responded that it couldn’t be done. He asked for a saw and told them to cut the top off. When finished, he told that to build that car. That convertible became the first major step in Chrysler’s recovery. Iacocca had a dream!
Many people have small dreams or none at all. I was working with a group of attorneys in anexecutive coaching and leadership training capacity and asked them about their dreams. One man, who was a partner in the Firm, shared that his dream was to retire in five years to his vacation home. That was it! He had given his life to the study of law and had no dream about making a mark in the world with his expertise. He had no big dream to drive him, to focus his energy, to motivate courageous action.
So, what are your dreams? We all had big dreams when we were children. Then, we got busy building our lives. We became productive and may have fulfilled some of our childhood dreams. Along the way, we got dense and stopped dreaming. Are you a dense leader? I encourage you to take set aside some time to renew your dreams. What you want to do with the rest of your life? Don’t be practical. Let your imagination run free. Dream a big dream so you can create a big life.