“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt
Recently, I had coffee with a friend. We talked about family and sports and the weather. At one point, he asked what exciting things were happening in my life.
I told him about my dream to build orphanages and become directly involved in orphan care around the world. I had mentioned the idea to a few close family members, but this was the first time I had told him specifically. He became immediately interested.
The topic soon became the focus of our conversation—though not at all like you might expect. In fact, he knew more about the subject than I did.
He asked dozens of questions. I answered most of them by saying, “I’m not sure. We’re still trying to figure that out. For now, it’s just a dream. I don’t know how I am going to get there.”
It’s not always easy to answer, “I don’t know.” But, in that moment, I was content with my response. I don’t have all the answers. For now, it is just a dream. It is definitely an important one for my wife and me; but still, right now, it is just a dream.
All dreams start as thoughts alone in our mind. And too many dreams end there—solitary thoughts that simply fade away.
The quickest and most effective first step to make dreams come true is to share them aloud. (tweet that)
Of course, this can also be one of the most difficult steps.
We often fear:
- Ridicule. We fear somebody will call us crazy for dreaming. And the more specific we get, the more this fear grows. This can be particularly difficult to overcome if our lives are (or have been) surrounded by pessimistic, negative family or friends.
- Exposure. Rarely do we have all the answers when we first begin. Sometimes, we don’t even know how we are going to get started. That’s okay. But this can be difficult to overcome if we are accustomed to being in control or knowledgeable.
- Embarrassment. There are no guarantees that any dream will be fulfilled in the end. And it may seem the best protection plan against embarrassment is to never tell anyone ever about our desires.
But most of these fears are overblown in our mind. In fact, the benefits far outweigh the fears.
Consider how the simple act of telling our dreams to others helps make them reality. It helps us:
Gain resolve. Sharing our dreams helps remind us why we had them in the first place. We speak positively of the accomplishment we hope to achieve or realistically of the problem we seek to solve. This resolve encourages us to press forward.
Find clarity. By articulating our dreams aloud, we find clarity in understanding their uniqueness. Dawson Trotman once said, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” Speaking your dreams brings greater clarity in your mind and the minds of those around you.
Articulate. Effective storytelling takes practice. Every time we share a story with others we get better at telling it. We learn what points resonate with others, what word pictures stir emotion, and which punchlines result in laughter. On some level, every dream worth accomplishing requires the support of others. Learning to articulate your story better is an essential part of its fulfillment.
Uncover help. People are generous, intelligent, connected. And almost all of them are cheering for you. Your friends and family want you to accomplish your dreams and are willing to help you get there. But they can’t help if they don’t know what you are trying to accomplish.
Recruit accountability. It is one thing to go on a diet and hope to lose 15 pounds. It is something completely different to go on a diet and tell your friends that you are hoping to lose 15 pounds. Suddenly, there is more incentive to follow through with your decision. The simple act of sharing with your friends has granted them permission to follow-up with conversations and provide accountability. This is scary, but this is important.
Inspire others. Your dreams (and subsequent action) have the power to invite others to chase their own dreams with greater urgency. To live and dream is to offer hope. Sometimes the only thing somebody else needs to get started chasing their own dreams is to see someone they love chasing theirs.
We are good people. We desire to live lives of lasting significance.
At the very least, we are a community in agreement that our lives are too valuable to waste chasing material possessions.
You are dreaming big dreams. Be bold this week. Take the next step and share them with someone you love.