Your dream isn’t going to be everyone’s dream. Some people will try to tell you what you ‘ought’ to be doing – but you’ll never be as committed to something that isn’t 100% what you want to achieve.
If you’re going to dream, be clear about what it is that you really want to achieve. It’s not all about money, it might be more independence, fewer hours, more hours, more money, less money, to see more of your kids. If you know what you really want, you will be inspired to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream.
You need to make a decision, because you only go this way once. If you’re a leader, that decision matters. Because if you aren’t committed to a dream, you can’t inspire others to believe in it.
Dreams are good for you!
When you commit to your goals 70 years of research shows that experiencing feelings of purpose has remarkable benefits that don’t stop when you leave the office. The New Scientist promises “People with a greater sense of purpose live longer, sleep better and have better sex. Higher purpose cuts the risk of heart disease by 27%, stroke by 22% and Alzheimer’s disease by half.”
People who find a sense of purpose in their lives respond better to stress. Instead of panic or adrenaline surges you are more likely to activate that part of your brain that focuses on what you value most – and allows you to react calmly and get clarity on the problem.
The same research shows that commitment to a purpose helps people to work together, because our bodies secrete the hormones that encourage it. When you’re in the minority a high sense of purpose allows you to stick to your views and not feel distressed that everyone doesn’t agree with you. Your focus makes it easier to accept that achieving your aim doesn’t mean you need to get along with everyone. Constructive debate will provide information and ideas and will sharpen your resolve.
As an added bonus, you don’t need to go to school, be rich or have anyone’s permission to get these benefits – they’re all free!
Dreams that inspire
Every leader is a dreamer, but not all dreamers are leaders. Leaders use dreams, otherwise known as imagination, to explore how practical change is possible. They help us to define what we are committing to and identify a realistic route to achieving it. The idea of progress is a concept, which some people think of as trying a bit harder, without actually changing what you do. You might get a small improvement from doing the same thing slightly faster or better, but it won’t change the world.
Inspirational leaders think about progress creatively, changing the ideas of what will deliver radical improvement in a product or service. As someone once observed; ‘You won’t achieve radical change by doing more of what you’re doing now, so add another zero to your goal. You will need to change your thinking radically to achieve that.’
When people around you look at the dream and say, “I can be part of shaping that future, I can do that,” it’s not just a path to a better business, they are sharing an exciting journey and they are having fun. It’s about saying we can do these things – nobody is dictating what we can and cannot do, so let’s dream how to make it possible.
Big dreams will inspire big actions. Big success always seems impossible – until it is done.