Singer Rick Nelson scored a Top 40 hit with “Garden Party,” a song telling the story of his experience at a 1971 Madison Square Garden concert when he was booed by the crowd because he was playing new songs instead of just his old hits. The song concludes with the line…” if memories were all I sang — I’d rather drive a truck.”
Memories are a part of our lives and careers; they provide prospective for our past successes and a roadmap to prevent future failure. However, as Garden Party reveals when our memories become too dominate, they can undermine our dreams.
Make Your Dreams Larger Than Your Memories
When our dreams are larger that our memories, our lives and careers are in proper balance. We are moving forward and taking full advantage of the opportunities before us. We embrace the fact that whatever stage our lives are in, we have better days ahead.
1. Defining – Develop a personal mission statement
I have found that a personal mission statement is extremely helpful in bringing clarity and purpose to my life and my dreams. To get started on your mission statement, Peter Clemens, the founder of The Change Blog, suggests taking out a blank sheet of paper and answering 3 basic questions:
•Who do I want to be?
•What do I want to do?
•What do I value?
Clements says that you should just write what immediately comes to mind. Your statement may take some time and require a few rewrites before you are comfortable with your response. However, developing a personal mission statement serves as a great bridge connecting your dreams to your chosen pathway, giving them a healthier chance to be larger and to become real.
Click here to read Peter Clemens’s blog on personal mission statements. Click here to read my personal mission statement and the passions of my life, which anchors my dreams, making them larger and real.
2. Planning – Set Goals
Goals are the accelerator that makes our dreams larger and come true. Mark Murphy is the CEO and founder of Leadership IQ, a provider of leadership training to the world’s most successful organizations and their leaders. In studying nearly 5,000 workers from virtually every field, Murphy and his team found that nearly all of us can achieve extraordinary things. The secret is setting goals that test the very limits of our abilities and inspires our passions.
Simply put, the takeaway from the Leadership IQ study is for us is to aim high. Think about it… if we are doing the impossible in our dreams, then we should set goals that are worthy of our dreams. Let’s make our goals as large as our dreams.
3. Sharing – Tell Your Dreams to the World!
Dreams are a big part of the Bible…almost everyone is having them! In Genesis 41:14-24, the Pharaoh had a dream, but he doesn’t understand what the dream means. The Pharaoh asks his wise men for an interpretation, but they could not tell him the meaning of his dream. Finally, in desperation, a prisoner with a reputation for understanding dreams is summoned to interpret the dream. The prisoner, Joseph, tells the Pharaoh that his dream means that Egypt is about to have seven years of abundant harvest followed by seven years of extreme drought. Further, Joseph tells Pharaoh that to avoid the hardship to come, he would need to appoint a wise person to manage the situation. Impressed by the interpretation of his dream, Pharaoh appoints Joseph to help him rule over Egypt.
While they may not be as complex as the Pharaoh’s dreams, our dreams, to become larger, need to be shared with “wise people” who can help us make them come true.
The Bottom Line: Life is Short │ Dream Large!
Life is short. Way too short to just sit back and wait for something to happen to you, so dream large. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Big things can and do happen to people if you can just find the courage to pursue them. The good thing about dreaming large is that it allows you to fall short and still gain a lot. Confucius once said “If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK. But you’ve got to shoot for something…. But, remember, a lot of people don’t even shoot.” So, make your dreams larger than your memories, because as Rick Nelson says in “Garden Party” “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself”.