Do You Dare To Dream?

Do You Dare To Dream?

Seeking sources of daydreams and inspiration during our family vacation in Lake Chelan, I read a book called “Dare, Dream, Do,” written by former Wall Street analyst Whitney Johnson.

Not a summer page-turner in the conventional sense. However, the book was exactly that for me. In a short time, the margins were filled with scribbled notes, and the corners of so many pages folded down as reminders of passages I wanted to read again.

This book resonated deeply with me because so many of the themes in it speak to the direction I have taken in my life and my career as a financial professional.

In the world of business and finance, experts tend to dole out advice and instruction on how to build wealth, how to grow an enterprise, how to leverage assets, in other words, how to get richer. Few provide meaningful guidance on how to become happier. Wealth and happiness might not be completely unrelated, but one does not necessarily provide for the other.

The central message of “Dare, Dream, Do”  to live with courage and imagination, also happens to line up with the concept at the core of my own company, to live life fully. Here are the most lasting ideas I took from her book:

  1. Dreams often come from setbacks – Challenges have a way of getting our attention and causing us to refocus.  I started Highland when I was experiencing personal and health problems. Even though I faced numerous financial challenges and a great deal of fear, I started the company anyway.
  2. There is power in discovering your voice – This is why I started blogging three years ago.  I had something to say and was willing to be vulnerable so that I could share my journey and transformation with others. Finding your voice takes commitment, but the payoff is huge.
  3. We have only one life but many choices – Choices reflect our values and desires.  As Ayn Rand says, “there is no such thing as sacrifice. The choices we make are irrefutable evidence of what we value and our goals.”
  4. The identity paradox – Our working lives tend to define our identities. To nurture other areas of our lives and personalities, we have to be willing to let go of fixed notions of identity. Fear creeps in when my own identity as CEO of Highland is threatened even a little. Is this also true of your life?
  5. Vocational cliff-jumping is the antidote to an unfulfilled life – We all want more freedom and new experiences in our lives but guilt and fear keep us anchored.  Leo Buscaglia says, “the person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.  They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leaping starts with a small step. Do something small like committing your dreams to paper.
  6. Create room for your dreams – Dreams require space, in your head and in your physical world. Find solitude where you can. Be intentional. For example, I exercise and meditate in the morning to create space.
  7. Know what you were meant to do – Create an inventory of your skills, talents (skill and talent are not the same thing), interests, and experience. Malcolm Forbes observed that “too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
  8. The macro doesn’t happen without the micro – Big dreams begin with small steps.  I want to impact the world. That mission starts with influencing the individual lives of business leaders.  I believe this to be a high calling that can leverage families, companies, the community, and the world.
  9. Build a dream team of advocates for your journey – Choose the family members, friends, colleagues who will help you get your dream off the ground.  They should lift you up, add energy, and influence your desired trajectory.
  10. Courage is key – All dreams carry real and perceived risks. Peter Drucker said, “wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”  What brings you the most excitement and energy often causes a modest amount of fear. Perhaps this is precisely where you need to focus?

Bravo, Whitney.  Excellent Book!

John Christianson
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