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The Power of Dreams…Within Reason

Chapter 7 of my book, Against the Grain, is called “The Power of Dreams.” I state, “Every great thing that has been accomplished and is yet to be accomplished starts with a dream.” This is true, but how do we temper our dreams?

When I was at Manassas one of the hardest things I had to do was manage my support for my players’ dreams and goals. I wanted all my players to reach their wildest dreams, achieve their most lofty goals, and be the one who breaks the chain of mediocrity. But not all of them could possibly achieve every dream they had, even if they put their mind to it. Isn’t that hard to say…

Dreams must be organized, achievable, and they must be realistic. And to achieve your dreams, you must work tirelessly at them. Even if you don’t reach your ultimate goal, you have not failed because failure is not trying at all.

The first way to increase the chances of success is to break down one large dream into a series of small steps – each, in a sense, its own dream.

Now, let me explain the biggest fault of dreaming: dreaming out of reach. One’s dreams must be practical and attainable. Realistic dreams are so important because consistently falling short can be irreparable to your self-esteem and to achieving goals.

There is a fine line between naysayers and realists. A realist urges you to chase your dreams, as long as they fall within the bounds of reason while naysayers are filled with so much negativity that they don’t think any dream can be fulfilled.

The second way to increase the chances of success is to be a realist. There is nothing worse than someone encouraging you to fail. If I told you that at age forty-five I planned to compete in the 100-meter dash in the Olympics, I would be offended if you said, “Go for it, Bill. I know you can do it!”

The truth is that a 5’10” 245 lb offensive guard who is a great player in high school is never going to play on the offensive line for an SEC football team. He could, however, possibly play for a much smaller college. Or, maybe he could go to Alabama as a graduate assistant or manager for the football team. By encouraging that 5’10” 245 lb player to try to play offensive line in the SEC, I would have been contributing to his ultimate failure. In retrospect, having honest conversations about attainable goals that align with his dream, you can become an effective mentor.

Remember though, as a leader, it is not your job to figure out others’ dreams.

It is your job to figure out your own, and it is your job to encourage those you love to achieve their dreams within reason.

Dreamers paved the way for our country, for progress, and will continue to pave the way for our future.

Dreamers bring health and life to communities, and they drive progress to make the world a better place. But all who accomplish their dreams set standards, timelines, and boundaries within which to achieve them.

“Dreams are essential to our psychic well-being. Without them, our soul withers away.” -Page 97, Against the Grain