The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. still echo through history into our time. He painted a picture of a future he imagined for himself and for us; a future he tragically did not live to see. Unifying change began with that dream that many adopted as their own. Whether it be individual or shared with others, we too must have a dream to find real success.
Our childhood playfulness has an amazingly critical place in our adult world. A child hopes for things that may not be possible. A child believes in things he does not see or understand. A child imagines invisible worlds. These skills of generating hope, suspending disbelief, and using imagination become the tools for building the foundation of success.
Step One: “Select a Dream”
So how do I bring my dream into reality? The first step to success is to “Select a Dream.” (According to Roger E. and Stephen D. Allen in their book, Winnie-the-Pooh on Success: In which You, Pooh, and friends learn about the Most Important Subject of All.)
Last weekend I went to the beach with my family and my husband’s cousin. I built the first sand pyramid of my life. It was so beautiful, so fun, that I told Chantel, “we have the wrong profession. We should have been pyramid builders.”
To build the pyramid, we had to start at the bottom. We drew a square in the sand, and built upward from there. Without the original square drawn into the sand, we could not judge the height or angles of the side walls of the pyramid. That little square line in the sand, as well as both of us being able to imagine the shape of a pyramid, were essential to its creation.
Step Two: “A foundation is forever”
The second step to success, is having a good foundation. “A foundation is forever,” Max Alexander explains in his article with the same name for This Old House Magazine. A foundation on a home is so important that This Old House general contractor Tom Silva says “Without a good one, you’re sunk.”
Dreams that are built on a solid foundation last. Like the Declaration of Independence, “selected” dreams can endure beyond a lifetime, affecting future generations. But just like a home, without a strong foundation, our individual lives and livelihood may be “sunk.”
Foundations provide integrity and stability to the whole structure. When we change our minds or lose sight of the dream, it shifts things all the way down to the bedrock. Our personal lives or businesses may do well for a while without a firm foundation, but future success is inherently in jeopardy–it’s only a matter of time before the cracks become visible.
Step Three: “The wise man built his house upon the rock” (Children’s Songbook pg 281, Matthew 7)
Step three has to do with how your foundation is created. I think that developing your dream is the process of at least half a lifetime. Max Alexander lists several reasons why foundations fail. I think two of them apply to deciding on a dream. “Rushing the Cure” means allowing the foundation to dry too quickly. Concrete can only be its strongest when it is dried slowly. I think that deciding on a dream too young, before you are sure of what you want in the end, could be just as hazardous as “rushing the cure” with cement. It takes time and patience to know ourselves and what our dream should be. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not born with his dream. Most important things take time.
Another foundation problem is caused by “interrupting the pour.” A foundation is strongest when done all in one batch. If not the line where the two concrete pours meet loses integrity and later splits along that line. In much the same way, I think we have the responsibility to own or fully claim our foundation. Our dream has to be fully ours so that we don’t have two separate dreams conflicting for our attention and direction. Like Chantel and I had to agree on, and visualize our pyramid, our dream must be compatible with those people that we plan to create and realize our dream with.
Step Four: Be Patient
We dug a tunnel under our beautiful pyramid. It went in one side, made a right turn, and came out the front toward the ocean. We watched the waves come in the side and out the front. It was fun. But it didn’t last. Before long the entire pyramid was cracked irreparably right up the center. It had collapsed from the inside out.
Chasing a dream, so critical to success, can also be discouraging. Dreams can be so long-term that we don’t immediately see results. It can be difficult to see if anything we are doing is making a difference at all. To be successful, we can’t afford to be impatient and not allow the foundation to fully develop, opting instead for short-term fun. To avoid your foundation collapsing, like our pyramid did, we have to stay on our own team and stay the course over time.
Step Five: How do I find my dream?
So how do you find that dream? There is no one right answer of course. Like each builder of a foundation has to consider the exact location and soil conditions; your dream has to be yours. But I can share some questions to ask yourself that might help you recognize part of the dream you already have. Ask yourself:
- What do I want more than anything?
- Will it stand the test of time?
- What could I not live without, really?
- What am I here for?
- When have you felt in your heart, “I was born for this?”
- What would I pay to help create, do in my free time, or feel like I died and went to heaven if I could be allowed to be a part of this?
Dreams Move You
Dreams are powerful because they make a hopeful gap between reality and future possibility. Like a beautiful mountain in the distance, its attractiveness gives us power to move out of the comfortable and familiar toward something better. Well developed dreams inspire. Let your dreams pull you forward and show you the next step.
With your dream in mind, what can you do in the next 3 months to a year that will bring you closer? It is a step out of the imaginary and into reality–we call it a goal.
Each completed goal
Will make your dream
Who says adults can not also be magicians?
DarEll S. Hoskisson
DarEll S. Hoskisson loves to do hard things, but not too hard. She shares her own challenges, goals and experiences as she guides you into a realistic path of self-reflection and self-improvement. She shares tips on how to find, know and trust yourself so you can decide if other’s suggestions are right for you. DarEll has the world a little upside down—where work is play and play is work. She actually thinks other people’s problems are fun to try to solve and lights up with a personal challenge. She loves people, harmony, and excellence. She also loves useful things like tools and ideas that make work faster, easier and more fun. DarEll married in 1993 and graduated from BYU (1995) with a bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education. Since then she was adopted by 5 children and has worked with many non-profits. She is currently a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor—leading pilates and yoga at her local YMCA. DarEll lives in Florida where she enjoys her family, nature, her work, and encouraging people to live well. She periodically posts her poems, what she is learning, and service opportunities on her personal blogs: https://personalabridgements.wordpress.com and https://darellhoskisson.wordpress.com