Tag Archives: Dream

Do You Like What You Do?

Such a simple question, but the ramifications of your answer have a lot to do with your enjoyment of life. Whether you are the CEO of a company or the CEO of a home, you spend most of your time “doing” it. So, do you enjoy it?

Well according to the Gallup organization only 20% of people can answer that simple question with a resounding “Yes!”

Here is what is so interesting…built into the DNA of each and every one of us is the need to do something—and in a perfect world, to enjoy doing it. It is great to have something to look forward to every day. Not only that, but what we do often contributes directly to our identity.

When people are first getting to know each other, what is one of the first questions asked: “So, what do you do?” If your answer to that question is something you find fulfilling and meaningful, you feel so much better about yourself than if your answer leaves you flat and uninspired.

Believe it or not, enjoying what you do has a major impact on many of the other areas of your life: relationships, physical health, and financial security for example.

Think about it this way, if you have wonderful relationships, stable financial security, and good physical health—but you don’t like what you do every day…chances are pretty good that much of your social time is spent complaining about your lousy job (not very fun as it pulls everyone else around you down).  You also spend a great deal of your time away from work worrying about having to go back to it (which ruins your time away from it). And all that worry, dread, and anxiety about work can have a negative impact on your health.

Many have fallen into the trap that work is just a necessary evil and it is certainly not something to be enjoyed. But that’s not true. One of the essentials to having fun at work and enjoying what you do is getting the opportunity to use your strengths every day.  According to the Gallup organization people who have the opportunity to use their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life.

What do you enjoy about your job? What are you good at? Figure out how to do more of it. Get creative. Swap tasks with some of your colleagues. Talk to your boss about it. Enjoying what you do is a “win” for everyone.

The Power of Hope

One of my favorite sayings is “Hope in the future brings power to the present.” You see the truth in that saying played out all the time.

It is the hope of a championship season gives a football player the will to get through two-a-days in the heat of August. The hope of becoming a positive influence on a child’s life drives teachers and educators. The hope of getting healthy and losing weight gives a person the motivation to skip the cheesecake and spend an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill. The hope of a normal life gives an addict the push through rehab and the drive to make the conscious decision not to use. The Bible is filled with Scriptures that relate to the power of hope. The casino industry, and state lotteries, too, are entire industries that play upon people’s hopes of striking it big.

And science even suggests that hope can heal. Think about the well-documented placebo effect: Study after study reports that patients who are given a sugar pill or other form of inactive substance in place of real medication often report feeling better.

A story in The Light, a book by author and journalist Mike Evans, illustrates the power of hope. Evans describes a group of scientists who performed an experiment using rats, aiming to uncover how outside factors affected their will to live.

One rat was placed in a large tub of water with sides high enough to prevent it from getting out. In addition, the room was pitch black. The researchers timed how long the rat would keep swimming before it gave up. The creature struggled for a little more than three minutes before giving up.

In the next part of the experiment, the researchers placed another rat in the same tub of water. But this time, they placed a bright light into the room. The second rat swam for more than 36 hours – that’s 700 times longer than the rat with no light.

The reason for that determination? The second rat literally saw the light at the end of the tub. In other words, it had hope, a reason to keep swimming.

It’s the same with humans. Without hope, without a light to move toward and focus on, we flail about in the tub of life like, well, a drowning rat in the darkness. Reconnect with what gives you hope, focus on it, and move toward it.

Barriers Can Make You Better

I am writing these words on March 27th. For basketball fans across the country and around the world, March Madness is in full bloom. And with the field shrinking down to Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and Final Four, this year’s tournament has been filled with surprises.

As it happens every year, there have been a number of great games go down to final shots. There have also been plenty of great story lines filled with upsets, bracket busters, and Cinderellas. On one end of the spectrum there has been lots of second-guessing, hand-wringing, and head-hanging. On the other end standing ovations, celebrations, and jubilation.

As each college basketball season comes to a close I am always reminded of the amazing feat accomplished by the UCLA Bruins during their unprecedented 10 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships in 12 seasons from 1963 to 1975.

During that amazing run, UCLA had a number of truly great players but, arguably, the greatest was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor). His athleticism and ability to dunk the basketball made him stand out like a man among boys on the court.

But between his sophomore and junior years at UCLA, the NCAA Rules Committee made a rule change that outlawed the dunk shot. It was widely believed that the committee had instituted this change with the single goal of lessening Abdul-Jabbar’s dominance during games.

At first, Kareem was devastated. He perceived this as a huge barrier to his success. A giant obstacle thrown in his path. But his coach challenged his perspective and told him to look at this barrier as a way to raise his game to a higher level. As he later wrote in his autobiography, Kareem:

“At the time, Coach Wooden told me it would only make me a better player, helping me develop a softer touch around the basket. This I could use to good advantage in the pros, where I could also, once again, use the dunk shot. He was right. It didn’t hurt me. I worked twice as hard at banking my shots off the glass, on turn-around jump shots, and on my hook. [This barrier] made me a better all-around player.”

Just as the “no dunk rule” barrier caused Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to develop more of his potential by forcing him to focus on other skills and abilities so too can barriers have the same impact on our lives.

Whether the barrier you face is new technology, a new competitor, a challenging student or an economic downturn, remember barriers can truly help us to become even better than we were before.

Expect Opposition

This is part 6 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership

If you have been following this series of blogs (Hi mom and dad), you know that two of the first 5 X’s we have discussed include Extracting a Dream and Expressing Your Vision to Others. Both sound reasonable, make sense, and you may even be tempted to try them out. But this X provides a warning…sometimes when you do have a dream, goal, or target and you share it with others—let’s just say they are not as excited about it as you.

Have you ever noticed how some people are dream destroyers or target trashers?

I’m not sure they do it on purpose, but nonetheless they seem to have a way of taking all the air out of your balloon before you even have a chance to let it fly.

Now, while you may not be able to identify them by sight, you have certainly heard their discouraging words:

“Oh, good luck getting somebody to hire you with your experience.”

“Why bother even trying, you don’t have a shot at that opportunity.”

“You think you have a chance to get on that team…what have you been smoking?”

When you have a goal, dream, or target and you share it, you open yourself up to ridicule and criticism. You see there are a lot of cynics out there who do not have goals…they are content just coasting along taking the path of least resistance taking pot shots at others. They are comfortable with mediocrity.

Let me tell you about mediocrity…

It recognizes greatness.
It resents it.
And it seeks to pull it down.

These folks like to try and build themselves up, not by improving themselves but, by pulling you down.

Cynicism is cancer of the attitude.

So what do you do when someone tries to cut down your dream, your idea, your goal? Write them off. Like water off a duck’s back, let their words just fall off you. Don’t even allow them to hang out in your head for a moment.

Trust me. You will almost always encounter opposition in this life. Now, if you know this is the truth…don’t let it throw you off your game. Be prepared for it. And in the immortal words of Winston Churchill, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

Extract a Dream

This is Part 2 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership

For the last 20 years, the shelves in bookstores have been filled with self-help books. Their titles vary from toilet training your kids to building an airplane in your garage to learning how to become a millionaire. While these books cover every imaginable topic they almost all have one common thread.

  • A goal.
  • A dream.
  • A target.

All these books play on the same driving force found within each of us…we want to get somewhere, become something, develop some aspect of our life…fulfill a dream.

Dreams/Goals/Targets are the motivators behind behavior. These are the things that cause us to stay later, push harder, work faster. They give our lives meaning, value, desire, and even hope…and hope is something we all desperately need.

As Oprah’s buddy, Maya Angelou, put it, “Hope in the future brings power to the present.”

It is the dream/hope of a championship season that gives a football player the power to get through two-a-days in the heat of August. It is the dream/hope of parenthood that helps an expecting mom have the power to get through the pain of childbirth. It is the dream/goal/target to get healthy and lose that extra weight that gives an individual the power to make certain sacrifices and changes in their life to get there.

What is your dream? What is your goal? What is your target? What are you shooting for? What is driving you?

American leadership guru Peter Drucker, puts it this way, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Or, as Stephen Covey would add, “Begin with the end in mind.”

If you feel like you have “stalled out” in life, it is time to reconnect with or Extract a Dream.