The Right and Wrong Picture of a Dream



“A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.”Joyce A. Myers

Before you set any goals, you need to start with a worthy dream.

One of my themes is Dream Big for 2015, so I’m exploring what it means to have big, bold dreams.  As part of my exploration, I wanted to gain some additional clarity and insight into what specifically makes a good dream.

I was surprised to find that John Maxwell actually has a really great way to test dreams.  Right off the bat, he even shares what the wrong dreams look like and what the right dreams look like.  Just that one bit of clarity can help us start to get our dreams on track, so that our goals will make a lot more sense.

In the book, Put Your Dream to the Test,  John Maxwell shares insight into what makes a good dream, one that can help pull us through life and lift us from where we are, to where we want to be.

What is Your Dream?

First, just think about a few of the scenes that you have of your future.   For better or for worse, this mini-movie in your head, is your current dream, even if you haven’t written it down anywhere.

Via Put Your Dream to the Test:

“What is your dream? Will you achieve it in your lifetime? I’m certain that you desire to. 

I’m sure you hope you will. 

But will you actually do it?

What odds would you give yourself?

One in five? One in hundred? One in a million?

How can you tell whether your chances are good or whether your dream will always remain exactly that–a dream?

And are you willing to put it to the test?”

Is Your Dream Just a Vague Notion?

For some people, they see their dream with great clarity and enthusiasm.  For others, it’s a bit fuzzy.  And fuzzy dreams, lead to fuzzy goals, lead to fuzzy results.

Via Put Your Dream to the Test:

“Most people I know have a dream.  In fact, I’ve asked hundreds, if not thousands, of people about their dreams. 

Some willingly described it with great detail and enthusiasm. 

Others are reluctant to talk about it. 

They seem embarrassed to say it out loud. 

These people have never tested their dream.  They don’t know if others will laugh at them.  They’re not sure if they’re aiming too high or too low. 

They don’t know if their dream is something they can really achieve or if they’re destined to fail.

They have no idea how to achieve their dreams. 

What they possess is a vague notion that there is something they would like to do someday or someone they would like to become.  But they don’t know how to get from here to there.”

The Wrong Picture of a Dream

John Maxwell gives us a rundown on the wrong types of dreams we might have:

  1. Daydreams–Distractions from Current Work
  2. Pie-in-the-Sky Dreams–Wild Ideas with No Strategy or Basis in Reality
  3. Bad Dreams–Worries that Breed Fear and Paralysis
  4. Idealistic Dreams–The Way the World Would Be If You Were in Charge
  5. Vicarious Dreams–Dreams Lived Through Others
  6. Romantic Dreams–Belief that Some Person Will Make You Happy
  7. Career Dreams–Belief that Career Success Will Make You Happy
  8. Destination Dream–Belief that a Position, Title, or Award Will Make You Happy
  9. Material Dreams–Belief that Wealth or Possessions Will Make You Happy

The Right Picture of a Dream

What does a good ream look like?

Via Put Your Dream to the Test:

“If these aren’t good dreams–valid ones worthy of a person’s life–then what are?

Here is my definition of a dream that can be put to the test and pass: a dream is an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it. 

A dream worth pursuing is a picture and blueprint of a person’s purpose and potential. 

Or as my friend Sharon Hull says, ‘A dream is the seed of possibility planed in the soul of a human being which calls him to pursue a unique path to the realization of his purpose?”

Your Dreams Need to Be Bigger Than You Are

Your dreams don’t have to shoot for the moon.   But they do need to stretch and challenge you.   Just like goals, the value may not always be in the achievement, but in what you become by reaching for them.

The right dream can grow you bigger.

Via Put Your Dream to the Test:

“Dreams are valuable commodities.  They propel us forward.  They give us energy.  They make us enthusiastic. 

Everyone ought to have a dream. 

But what if you’re not sure whether you have a dream you want to pursue?  Let’s face it.  Many people were not encouraged to dream. 

Others have dreams but lose hope and set them aside.

I want you to know that there’s good news.  You can find or recapture your dream. 

And they can be big dreams, not that all dreams have to be huge to be worth pursuing. 

They just need to be bigger than you are.  As actress Josie Bisset remarked, ‘Dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them.’”

How about you? … Do you have a dream that’s bigger than you that energizes you with purpose and potential?

Dream Big.  Always.

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