Blessed with a personal friend who is an amazing, profound writer - Steven Tyler of Aerosmith - I’ll quote a line from one of his hit songs: “Dream on… dream on… dream until your dream comes true.” As we sit here on the edge of a brand new year, it’s the perfect time for us to dream about tomorrow and the future. After all, there’s a future for those who dream about it, plan for it and work toward it.
At seventy years young, Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer and music industry icon, Steven Tyler, still dreams on. When we first met and started building our friendship, Steven dreamed of launching a solo career in country music concurrent to his work with Aerosmith. He aligned with “Loving Mary,” a Nashville-based band and worked to pursue his dream and had a successful 25-plus city tour and one of his songs, “Love Is Your Name,” rose to the number one song on the Country Music Billboard. Dream on. Dream on.
Many of us are familiar with the Latin phrase, “Carpe Diem,” which means “seize the day." I propose we also consider “Carpe Manana”… seize tomorrow.
“Seize” is the key word. Dreams can come true if one has the courage to pursue them, reach for them, grab them, seize them and capture them. It’s all about pursuit. Dreams alone won’t cut it. Dreams blended with conviction (belief), courage, confidence and passion are the ingredients necessary for a fully-baked plan to rise and prosper. Success is all about the courage of conviction.
Why, one might ask, are dreams so important?
- Without dreams and aspirations, one can quickly move from hopeful to hopeless. Without dreams, you have little to live for.
- Dreams keep you young. They provide motivation to think and act for tomorrow and the future. Dreams bring forth optimism.
- As you mature, you have the benefit and wisdom to selectively choose those realistic dreams that make sense and have personal relevancy.
- Your dreams are exclusively owned by you. You have the pride of ownership, and if your dreams are realized, you also have the power of accomplishment.
- Dreams have no limits. After all, there is only one rule in life, and that one rule is there are no rules! Don’t forget you created your dreams. They operate under your rules.
- There is nothing sweeter than seeing a dream come true. Regardless of how massive or minute, the realization of a dream is absolute bliss.
Successful people dream about their “endgame”… the results they’d like to achieve. Beginning with the end in mind through “creative visualization” can be incredibly beneficial in building your plan to fulfill your dream. Creative visualization is the cognitive process of purposefully generating visual, mental images - with your eyes open or closed - and working to visualize what something will look like at the end of an endeavor.
It’s the golfer who stares at his ball on the green before ever pulling his putter out of the bag, then mentally visualizes softly stroking the ball as it rolls straight into the cup. In his mind, he might also hear the ball drop into the hole, ka-plink. That’s creative visualization.
Creatively visualizing what a dream, hope or aspiration might look like once you complete the activity helps you dive into the process. For instance, if your New Year’s resolution or bucket list objective is to be able to play children’s songs for your children (or grandchildren) on the piano, closing your eyes and creatively visualizing the children joyfully sitting around the piano wide-eyed and excited as you showcase your “new” (or “renewed”) skills to their delight mentally moves the activity from a dream closer to reality. Once you visualize something and emotionally feel what the endeavor would be like at successful conclusion, it provides motivation that will likely lead you to focus, work and ultimately achievement.
Over the years, when thinking about another new year, I moved my messaging and wishes to family, friends and business associates from “Happy New Year” to a more robust “Happy YOU Year!” In short, my wishes and hopes for those I care about is to encourage them to make the “New” Year truly a “You” Year - filled with hopes, aspirations, wishes, objectives, plans, dreams, dreams, and more dreams all in place to lead you (and yours) to a more fulfilling place and a brighter future.
In the classic Broadway musical, South Pacific, there was a line from a song in the show worthy of repeating: “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?”
Dream on. Dream on. Happy YOU Year!
-Ira Blumenthal, author of Your Best is Next
For more on pushing forward towards new goals, check out Your Best is Next>>
As a VERB, “resolve” is defined as “…firm determination to do something and committing to a course of action.” Example? “This new year, I resolve to train for and run in a marathon.”
As a NOUN, “resolve” is defined as “…consistently displaying the characteristic of determination, commitment and focus on forward thinking and forward action.” Example? “When it comes to an unwavering focus on exceeding customer expectations, she has great resolve.”
My first entry in this blog begins with “resolve” appropriately and importantly. After all, regardless of what our plans are and how we believe they will be accomplished, we need to start with defining a specific, realistic and important objective. Using words, lines and thoughts from my Simple Truths’s book, Your Best is Next, establishing a goal and even building a plan comes after the commitment. Let us not forget that “commitment” is an act, not a word.
Legendary, iconic women’s basketball Hall of Fame coach, Pat Summitt (“Coach of the Century” per the NCAA) told a story about how her son, Tyler, was cut while trying out for his school’s eighth grade basketball team. Tyler came home after learning he didn’t make the squad and told his mother, with tears in his eyes, “I didn’t make the basketball team… I was cut.”
Coach Summitt looked at her sad son who stood before her with basketballs under each of his arms and said to him, “Tyler, I promise you that if you start working today and wear out both of those balls practicing hard, you will make the team next year.”
Tyler responded, holding back his tears, “Mom, will you help me?” Pat Summitt then replied to Tyler with incredibly profound words we all should remember especially as it relates to “resolve.” She said, “Tyler, of course I will help you… but I will not start your engine!”
Commitment is the first step in starting our very own engine.
Commitment is an act, not a word. The keys to building a commitment to try new things, to do new things and to accomplish new challenges are:
- having a crystal-clear purpose
- making uncompromising sacrifices
- adopting an unwavering determination
However, and it’s a big “however,” you first must commit to starting your own engine.
Not starting your engine and avoiding making a commitment to your “next” endeavor is clearly an obstacle to growth. Although we all need to be flexible in our approaches to fulfilling various commitments and objectives, it’s still an undeniable fact that having no commitment leads you to having no attainment.
Having a crystal-clear purpose is vital. Purpose, in short, is tightly attached to direction. Ask yourselves the following questions to chart your direction:
- How will I define success?
- Why is this important me?
- Does this light my fire and excite me?
- What is my (specific) destination?
- Which way should I be heading?
- What is my contingency plan if course correction is needed?
- How will I know when I reach journey’s end?
People who resolve to committing to a course of action and people who are respected because of their resolve either find a way or create a way to achieve their objectives. They ignore thoughts or enticement for turning back and giving up.
Reverend Theodore Munger wrote, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education, alone, will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Persistence is vital. It has been said that a river runs through rock not by its power but by its persistence. It’s a continual process.
Passion is also vital. It’s often the driving force that leads to commitment and to successful conclusion. If you want something badly enough and accept that hard work, diligence, focus, persistence and a major personal commitment (time, resources, energy, etc.) is necessary to achieve your goals, you will surely be on the first rung of the ladder climbing to fulfillment.
It takes courage to face the challenges, make the choices and even face the uncertainty that comes with your commitment to a purpose. Action is the key. Remember, commitment is an act, not a word.
-Ira Blumenthal, author of Your Best is Next
For more on pushing forward towards new goals, check out Your Best is Next>>
How long have you struggled with a goal or tried to achieve success, never to see it happen? Have you stopped to think why? There is a way to win, and it begins with a strong and positive mindset. Our newest release, 88 Days to Any Goal, shows that magic can happen when you're fully committed!
Why 88 Days?
Research has shown that people tend to work harder when they're closer to their goals. This means that with every step you take towards your goal, the harder you'll push yourself to get there. To ensure that you're taking necessary action, you need to set up a system that you follow consistently. It can take close to 88 days to fully implement a system, and during that time, the behaviors and actions you take will become habits. Those habits are what set you up for success. Here are three steps to help you get started:
1. Follow the Critical Few
When going after a goal, there are many good, trivial things you can do to inch forward. However, in order to succeed, there are only 2-3 things you must absolutely do if you want to reach your goal. How can you determine what these critical few items are?
Action: First, write down your objective, being as specific as possible. Next, list out all the steps you think you'll need to take to reach your goal. For each step, write down the daily habits and behaviors you'll have to follow. Finally, review this list and circle the top 2-3 things that are most critical.
2. Face Challenges to Your Goal
As you start working towards your goal, it's important to think about the road ahead and what obstacles you might find. When you are aware of potential challenges, you can prepare with possible solutions.
Action: Take a moment to write down challenges you think you may face as you get closer to your goal. For each challenge that you identify, write down a solution to help you through.
3. Plan, Do, Review and Adjust
Although it can be very exciting to start on the path towards a new goal, it's the day-to-day behaviors that will actually get you there, which means focusing on your plan.
Action: Make sure to review your plan weekly, make adjustments as you go along, and continue following it. Ask yourself if there are gaps that you can fill with activities that support your goal, and confirm that your schedule is focusing on those critical few items.
Start your 88 day plan with 88 Days to Any Goal>>
Change is not easy, but it is simple. Things will always change. We don’t have a choice about that, but we do have a choice on how we react to change; and, as a leader, whether or not we choose to create change. The choice really boils down to this… either we manage change or it will manage us. With these 6 tips, you can start inspiring your team through any organizational change.
- Walk away from outdated beliefs and practices. How? Forget for Success. Remove flawed data from your memory banks and free up space for more of the "right stuff".
- What are you good at? Focus on Your Strengths and make them all they can be.
- Inertia can stop you in your tracks if you don't act quickly. Lead with Speed and never underestimate the significance of early victories.
- Accept personal responsibility for your behavior and results. Once you do that, you can Inspire Personal Accountability in each individual in your company.
- Change takes courage, and big change cannot happen unless you Take Calculated Risks.
- There are many challenges along the way to change because changes takes time to take root. But if you plant the right seeds and Respect the Growing Process, you will see great things happen!
From Mac Anderson and Tom Feltenstein