On Saturday I attended the SHIFT2014 Conference. It was one inspirational day. One consistent theme that resonated for me was the importance of dreams. Because much like the great Martin Luther King, Jr, I too, have a dream.
Dreams. They are not just a part of your subconscious; they are an essential part of your business development. They can be the difference between a ‘bland’ and a ‘BRAND’ in capital letters and glitter paint.
Because your dreams are the heart of you. Anyone with intelligence, focus and direction – not to mention the ability to interpret key learnings – can be successful. That is the brain of the business. But in order to add that indescribable je ne sais quoi, the one intangible piece of magic which sets you apart from the technicians, you need to be willing to embrace and believe in your own dreams, and make them a reality.
For me, my dreams are quite simple in some respects. I dream about doing great work, with great people. I dream of a future where gender is not even an issue in the workplace. I dream of driving change and working with likeminded individuals. At times this has held me back, because I have chosen not to take the obvious path; I left corporate behind for the simple reason that I was not living my dream – my heart was not engaged with my brain. Yes, I was meeting my deliverables, and technically I was spot on, but that didn’t mean I was happy.
My dream was dying.
Sometimes in order to live our dreams we need to be incredibly brave. Someone for me who embodies this is Renata Cooper, founder of Forming Circles. Renata is a woman who could have easily kept to the business formula – carefully plan, act on those plans, don’t colour outside the lines. Instead she chose to embrace her dreams, and out of them bring to life an ambitious program of investment and community involvement, where heart and brain are clearly in tandem.
Think about the most successful companies – or the most sucessful brands, more to the point – of the last 50 years. Virgin. Apple. Polaroid. Facebook. Google. Costco. Microsoft. Richard Branson. Steve Jobs. Edwin Land. Zuck. Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Jim Sinegal. Bill Gates.
They all had a dream. They all continued, or continue, to dream. They all, in one way or another, took a risk in order to live by those dreams. Think of Steve Jobs leaving the security of Apple when he wasn’t happy with its direction – and founding PiXAR.
As Edwin Land said:
“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.”
If that’s not the word of a dreamer, I don’t know what is.
So keep planning. Keep strategising. Understand the importance of structure, and deliverables, and everything that makes up the nuts and bolts of your area of operations or enterprise. Don’t underestimate the importance of the everyday and managing workflow. But – at the same time –
Don’t just dream a little dream. Take your dreams, and make them a reality. Set the world on fire.
Because your dreams are what make the difference between plodding, and passion. And you are the one who can bring them out of your own mind, and into reality.
I have a dream. I’m living it. Be brave enough to do the same.