What are your dreams? How often do you think about them? As children we all have dreams. Dreams of what we want to become, of what we want to have, of the places we want to go and the things we want to see. In many ways, our dreams define us – they speak to the impact we want to have on the world, and the life we want to lead. In his third book, The Dream Manager, Kelly explores the power of articulating and pursuing your dreams. To do so, he uses a fable about a janitorial company and its incredible transformation from a place of high turn-over and low company morale to one of the most sought after places to work in America. The message is simple, clear and timely: by acknowledging, sharing and working proactively to achieve our dreams, we enrich our own lives and the lives of those around us.
The Big Idea
Time out to dream
"…people stop dreaming because they got caught up in the hustle and bustle of surviving. And once we stop dreaming, we start to lead lives of quiet desperation, and little by little the passion and energy begin to disappear from our lives."
The idea of the dream manager is pretty simple: a company hires an individual to meet with staff members, discuss their dreams and help them plan to accomplish those dreams in a tangible, practical way. A key factor to the story is that the company hires a dedicated individual to manage the employees dreams – doing so is his sole responsibility.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we can probably agree to the importance of dreams. Dreams motivate us, giving us direction, purpose, confidence and work ethic. Our dreams are what make us tick. The challenge isn’t having dreams – they may be buried deep down, but we all have ’em. The challenge can often be in finding the time to review and articulate those dreams. In the fable, the staff of the janitorial company have someone they can go to, once a month, to sit down with and discuss their dreams. I humbly suggest that you can do that without a dream manager.
This is one of those important things that has no sense of urgency, and therefore so often falls by the wayside. You need to take time out to dream. Schedule it. Write it in your calendar. Allow yourself an hour this week to sit down in a comfortable chair, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and jot down your dreams. It may sound silly, but I can assure you it’s going to be one of the best hours of your week. Here’s a couple other tips to help you out with the specifics…
The dream book
"It is not a book of essays. On most pages, there is just one word or one phrase or one picture."
Get yourself a dream book. Virtually every bookstore and stationary shop sells journals these days. Pick one up that makes you feel good, and use it to record and capture your dreams. There’s something sacred about writing about the things you aspire to in a book just a little bit nicer than a notepad. This book becomes your reference point, the “go to” spot for writing down new dreams and (best part), marking in the dates that you realize those dreams. Airplanes, coffee shops and taxi cabs (not to mention your favourite reading chair) are all great places to skim through your dream book and update accordingly. Take it with you everywhere.
Tag team dreams
"When we know the dreams of the people around us, we want to help them live those dreams."
What are the dreams of the people around you? Have you asked recently? If you’re like most people, probably not. It’s so easy to get caught up in the details – the mundane aspects of life. Take a ten minute time out over dinner tonight to ask the people most important in your life about their dreams. Give them the power of making it OK to talk about their dreams. In my experience, asking about their dreams will not only make them feel good, but provides you, the listener with an incredible energy simply from hearing the dreams of others. Few things are more inspiring and energizing than watching and listening as people start to open up to you about their dreams, growing in excitement as they begin to visualize the accomplishment or attainment of that dream in more and more vivid detail. You begin to realize that everyone’s different, with different dreams. Even more excitingly, you may also find that you can help with their dreams as well.
The Dream Manager is written as a wakeup call to corporate America, but it works as a life lesson for us all as well. Dreaming is free, and some of the most enjoyable time you can spend. Recording, sharing and planning for the accomplishment of those dreams are so simple to do, provided you just allow yourself a little regular time to do so. Give it a shot this week and see what happens.