Mark Cole is one of my mentors with the John Maxwell Team. He serves as the CEO of all John Maxwell Companies
There was a popular song in the 90’s called “I Believe I Can Fly.” The song has made its way around the world, inspiring millions of people to believe in themselves. It’s of a similar theme to the old saying you’ve probably heard many times from a parent, mentor, or teacher: “If you believe it, you can achieve it.”
The truth is, just believing something doesn’t make it so. A pig will never fly, and neither will you. There’s a big difference between a fantasy and a dream. Fantasies exist only in the imagination, but dreams…well, dreams can come true.
But it takes work to make a dream a reality. After all, a dream that has no chance of becoming reality is nothing more than a waste of time.
That’s the tricky thing about dreams—by definition they are not supposed to start with reality. The best dreams are bold and ambitious full of hope and possibility. But what makes a dream worthwhile is your ability to bring it into reality.
Rudy Ruettiger said it best, “Reality…is the enemy of fantasies but not of dreams.” The difference in a fantasy and a dream is reality.
We don’t have the ability to achieve whatever we believe. It doesn’t matter how much you believe you can fly, if you jump out of a plane without a parachute, it’s all over.
Think about the difference in fantasizers and dreamers:
- Fantasizers rely on luck. Dreamers rely on discipline.
- Fantasizers wait. Dreamers initiate.
- Fantasizers make others responsible. Dreamers take responsibility.
- Fantasizers focus on the destination. Dreamers focus on the journey.
- Fantasizers minimize the value of work. Dreamers maximize the work they do.
Successful people don’t leave everything to chance. They focus on what they can do, and do it. I love this quote from Coach John Wooden, “I welcome good luck just as anyone does, but I worked extremely hard to avoid being in a situation in which luck was necessary to produce a favorable outcome or where the luck of an adversary could defeat us.” If your dream is unrealistic, you will depend on things that are outside of your control to make it a reality. There must be a balance between the boldness of your dream and the reality of your situation. Successful people, like Coach Wooden, have mastered the art of reaching beyond what they’re capable of while depending on factors within their control. This is called aligning your dreams with your talent. John Maxwell says, “When people’s talent does not match their dreams and they fail to recognize it, they will be forever working but never winning.” I want to challenge you to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself about your dreams. Are you trying to do things that you really aren’t suited for? Reality is never the enemy of a dream as long as you are depending on factors within your control. Factors like your ability, your habits, and your potential.
Ask yourself these questions as you seek to find that place where dream and reality meet:
- What is my dream?
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- What are my positive habits?
- What are my negative habits?
- How long must I practice my positive habits to reach my potential?
Believing in your dream isn’t enough. You must understand your reality if you want to see your dream come true. I want to encourage you today—dream big, dream bold, and dream beyond imagination! But more than that, I want to see you accomplish your dreams. And I believe that is possible—with a lot of work. So, what are you waiting for?