What makes a dream?
Is it quantifiable by the probability of achieving it? Or is it defined by how actively you can pursue it? When we hear people express their dreams, our minds instinctually travel to levels unattainable by goal and resolution talks. Why is that?
Our theory takes us to the beginning—childhood. You see, as children, we are encouraged to dream big and shoot for the stars. However, as we get older, life starts to feel more like a tightrope. In this balancing act of what we want to do and what we have to do, our dreams often find themselves on the back burner as we try to figure out how they fit into the completed puzzle called life.
For the lucky ones, the picture their puzzle depicts is clear. Meaning no matter how hard it is to accomplish their dreams, they know it is the path they should pursue. For others, it looks more like the galaxy of stars. To find out how your dream fits into your life, you have to be brave enough to commit to it.
Arguably few know this better than the athletes who are days away from competing in Tokyo. Olympic athletes do what the vast majority of us can only dream of achieving. They have had the improbability of what they have committed their lives to thrown in their faces time and time again, but they have never let up.
When people tell them they can’t, they prove that they can. If someone tells them their dream is impossible, they only hear the second-half of the word: possible. And when people say they have reached the top and achieved all there is to accomplish, they find new ceilings to shatter.
It is easy to get lost in the amazement of how physically accomplished Olympic athletes are but do not overlook their mental strength and capabilities.
While we view them on a pedestal because of their skills and accomplishments, their starting line looks exactly like our own. They were living their typical every day when their calling redirected their steps. Initially, it likely began as a love for the sport, but the longer they competed, the more their passion for it grew. The fire in their hearts became so large that they promised themselves that one day, they would follow in the footsteps of the Olympians they grew up watching.
Olympic athletes undergo grueling physical, emotional, mental, and financial experiences. Sure, they have the chance to eventually achieve recognition and sponsorships that we can, quite literally, only imagine. But until they reach that point in their careers, most Olympic athletes have to work day jobs to make a living and afford their training. Yet, no matter what life throws at them, they offer no excuses. With their dreams in sight, nothing is going to stop these athletes. Can you say the same?
Take a moment to consider this. If you could have one of your dreams, personal or professional, come true, what would it be? Do you have something in mind? Good. Now write it down, lock it in your memory, and commit it to heart.
Whether you are already in pursuit or still waiting to hear the starter pistol fire, leap even further forward! Be inspired by the athletes gearing up for competition, who have moved mountains to get to where they are. If they can do it, so can the rest of us. It will not be easy, but the best things in life rarely are.
So, let us ask again, what makes a dream? The answer is in the stories of the Olympic athletes we love to cheer on.
Every dream requires the dreamer to have the ambition they want to achieve, the commitment needed to see it through, and the ability to put it into action. These athletes got to where they are because they realized they had a dream, committed themselves to it, and took the necessary steps to reach it.
Leaders, to see your organization reach new heights, chase your dream like an Olympian. Face the world with the passion you felt as a kid when you believed anything was possible. The thought of failing may be intimidating, but as the great Babe Ruth once advised, "never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."
During childhood, we get told that anything is possible, and it is time that we reclaim that mindset as adults. So be brave enough to dream big. Because if you have a dream for your organization that you are dedicated to and willing to work for, anything is possible.