In our book “Whatever the Cost,” we explore what it means to die to your dreams, which simply means to pursue your dreams using your hands and feet while remaining dead to them in your heart. In other words, let the results be God’s in every pursuit of life.
We must take everything God gives us (talents, abilities, provisions) and hold them with an open hand. This way, if He wants to take them away at any time and replace them, He doesn’t have to pry our fingers loose. For us, this was the only way we were able to trust God when we lost our reality-TV show years ago. We had learned to die to our dreams and trust God with the results.
In our book “Miracle in Shreveport,” we reveal what it looks like to pursue and achieve a dream – a childhood dream that we both shared with our dad. The book chronicles how our story fit into History, providing us a testimony of God’s faithfulness that continues to strengthen our hearts to this day.
So we wanted to give you a list of ten practical keys to help you realize your dream.
- Begin with the end in mind. Figure out what you want to accomplish and work backward. Create a list and work in reverse. If you weigh 240 and your goal is 200 in six months, then figure out what it will take to get you to 235 within two weeks. Then rinse and repeat until you achieve it. And remember to always keep your goals measurable.
- Use the power of imagination. This is possibly the most important key in accomplishing your dream. Literally see yourself where you want to be and gain the inspiration and motivation to move toward it. I (Jason) remember sitting on the curb in front of my house as a kid, envisioning myself as a professional baseball player. I worked backward to gain a competitive advantage by beginning to practice tee work in the backyard while also throwing balls off a wall. And it was my imagination that propelled me toward action.
- Be disciplined. Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do in order to accomplish what you want. Once you have the vision in mind of what you want to accomplish, and you’re using the power of imagination for motivation, then you have to make a commitment to do the things necessary to accomplish your dream. I (Jason) would swing the bat in the backyard because I had made a commitment to take a few hundred swings off a tee every day. It took discipline to do the work my imagination motivated me to do.
- Be diligent. Diligence is continual persistence in a positive direction, regardless of the results. If I diligently took five swings a day with an ax on a giant oak tree, it may not look like it’s going to fall for several months, but in time the tree will come down if I simply remain diligent.
- Pick good friends. Dreams are rarely accomplished alone. Some have said that you are the sum total of the five people you hang around the most. So make sure your friends are not only dreamers themselves but also doers – accomplishers. Share your dreams with them, and let them inspire and motivate you to realize them.
- Don’t forget the 80/20 rule. This rule allows you to work smarter and not harder: 20 percent of your effort will give you 80 percent of the results. Figure out what your 20 percent is and stay there. When we were building our company, we realized 20 percent of our clients gave us 80 percent of the profit, so we spent more time with those 20 percent than the others. In the same way, our early mornings make up 20 percent of our day, but we produce 80 percent of our best thinking during those hours. So we focus there.
- Pace yourself. Life is a marathon; not a sprint. Dreams aren’t accomplished in a day, and there are no short cuts. Remember to go at a steady pace to avoid burn out. Once you know your 20 percent, list out your daily tasks and do those things – don’t stress about what you can’t accomplish in a particular day. Just move on and keep moving forward, one foot at a time.
- Reward yourself. Along the path toward your dream, make sure to reward yourself for small accomplishments. If your dream is to publish a book, then reward yourself with something special when you turn in the manuscript (or whatever milestone you set). It’s been said that everyone needs someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. Rewarding yourself along the way to your dream gives you something to look forward to.
- Be thankful and content along the way. We’ve heard it said that your sweet spot (or your dream job) in life is the place where your greatest talent and greatest passion intersect. While we believe this to be true, we also recognize that most people don’t arrive at their sweet spot until later in life. So in the meantime, make your current spot sweet with contentment and gratitude. This will ensure you have joy in the journey.
- Remember Who you live for. Ultimately, life is not about you. Your dream is not about you. It’s about what God can do through you … for Him. As human beings made in His image, we are called to bring glory to the Father in all we do. Fortunately for all of us, He gives us the power to dream so we can accomplish great things for Him!
Having a dream is a powerful thing. Dying to your dream is even more powerful. And realizing a dream provides a testimony of how your story fits into History. We encourage you to chase your dream with your hands, but stay dead to it in your heart – and let God handle the results.
Now get to dreamin!