Ignite Your Dreams and Tame Your Fears Breakthrough the Most Common Barriers
I want to give a public appreciation for Amy Rawle who will be leaving the WesMD team. For the last few years, a part of what Amy did was edit, choose the photo, and set up links for every article. I pray for your success Amy and appreciate the excellent work you gave our community of leaders.
Nine out of ten times, when we experience leadership challenges, we either have a dream problem or a fear problem. Either our dream is not clear, or our fear is too great. What is it for you?
How can we ignite our dreams and tame our fears? Let’s examine common barriers many leaders encounter with our dreams and our fears.
Two weeks ago I heard Gary Haugen speak. He is the founder of IJM (International Justice Mission), a non-profit which rescues the poor and disadvantaged in developing nations from exploitation and abuse of power. He spoke about dreams and fears. An attorney, Mr. Haugen is fueled by the dream of helping as many as he and his team of lawyers can help—those in extreme situations such as slavery and sex-trafficking around the world.
Another leader, Billy Graham was fueled by the conviction of sharing the gospel in a lost world. Dr. King was inspired by the dream of bringing civil rights to his people. Ghandi craved independence for his country. George Washington pursued liberty. Lincoln desired unity. And Churchill defended his nation.
Leaders are fueled by dreams. Grand visions propel our lives and compel us to strike at the unknown. We willingly risk what’s valuable. Dreams give leaders reason to make the sacrifices required of us. We gladly give up much because the dream is worth it.
Allow me to challenge you today to do some reflection and examine your dream in this way:
- What is my dream? Simply ask yourself, “what is my dream?” Then take time alone, maybe 30 minutes, to answer that question.
- Is my dream fueling my soul? You don’t have to save a nation, fight for freedom, or rescue the exploited for your dream to be wothwhile, but it must be a dream that fuels you. For example, examining your leadership at home, maybe no one in your family has gone to college, and your dream is to work hard to send your kids to college. Maybe your dream is to work with a company whose mission you believe in and to become a key person there. Maybe your dream is to work hard to help build an orphanage in a country ravaged by hunger and war.
- Is my dream clear? The clearer your dream, the more likely it will be a mental tool to focus your life’s purpose.
- Have I dreamt with my people? Finally, after you define your dream, invite others to come with you, to dream with you. Allow them to shape the dream so it becomes “our dream,” not “my dream.” That’s the essence of leadership, to bring people along the journey with us.
At different times of my life, I have had various dreams. Sometimes, my awareness of my dreams has been greater than others. May you and I always search for bigger and better dreams for our lives, clarify them, and make them central to what we do.
Fear is a killer of dreams. Sometimes our dreams are clear and powerful, but our fears are greater. Therefore, we are stopped in our tracks.
If your dream is clear, then I want to encourage you to examine your fears. Here are common fears:
- Fear of losing everything. Many times, to achieve our biggest dreams, we have to put everything on the line. It is often a scary proposition to lose everything. Amanda is a missionary surgeon in Africa. I met her six months ago. She is there by herself. What did she lose to gain her dream of serving? Comfort, family, prestige, income. She faced those fears and went anyway. For me as a business owner, my ultimate fear is losing literally everything I have ever worked for. Is that possible? Of course it is. Look at all the great companies that don’t exist anymore. But when that fear paralyzes me and my team from dreaming and thrusting forward, that’s when my fear becomes a problem.
- Fear of failing. I really want to accomplish the task at hand. From primary school we are taught not to fail, but to make an A. While failing is part of the journey, if you failed one too many times, fear of failing may become an impediment. We must not let it.
- Fear of pain and sacrifice. A few nights ago, I got a call from one of our leaders at 7pm, telling me about an issue. It was a 30-second call, but it got me to thinking for the the next 30 minutes. I am on 24/7. That’s the life of leader. You are always thinking of how to move your team forward. Yes, I am careful to not bring work home. I am intentional to be present with my family, but leadership requires sacrifice. Is the fear of that sacrifice holding you back?
- Fear of losing people. Some dreams naturally take you away from certain people in your life. I remember a few years ago, I had to make a very difficult decision, one that took me nearly two years to make. It was to leave a group of people that had become my family in order to build my dream with a different group of leaders. Don’t let a powerful fear hold you back from your dream.
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