“Put Your Dream to the Test” by Dr. John Maxwell

Posted by Todd Smith

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Dream BigWhat is the most dominant dream you think about? Would you like to know your odds of achieving it? In three minutes, you will know your answer.

As part of my desire to continue learning and growing, I attended a leadership event this past weekend hosted by Bob Burg and Paul Martinelli featuring three of my favorite teachers, Les Brown, Bob Burg, and Dr. John C. Maxwell.

Dr. Maxwell (internationally-respected leadership expert, speaker, and author) gave an insightful presentation on his book, Put Your Dream to the Test. He said, “The more valid reasons you have for achieving your dreams, the greater your odds will be of achieving them.”

He highlighted 10 important questions you MUST answer to test your dreams.

Are you ready to take the test? Pick ONE of your dreams. Got it? Now answer Maxwell’s 10 questions to determine if the odds are in your favor.

1.  Is my dream really my dream? If you want to achieve your dream, you must “own” it. It must be yours, not your parents’, teachers’, or anyone else’s. If the achievement of a dream is not of great importance to YOU, it’s unlikely that you will do what’s required to accomplish it.

2.  Do I clearly see my dream? What does it look like? The more specific you are on what your dream looks like, the more likely you will be to achieve it. This is one of the reasons I encourage people to cut out images of their “big” goals and dreams, create a collage, and look at it regularly. At first, you may only see a piece of your dream; but each day as you move closer, the clearer it will become.

3.  Am I depending on things within my control? This is when you have to be honest with yourself and determine if reaching your dream is within your control. Are you depending on others? If so, who? Do you have the talent, skill, or ability to make it come true? If not, can you develop what you are lacking?

4.  Do I have the energy to achieve it? This is the passion question. Think of your last great accomplishment. How much energy did it require of you? Is your dream important enough to you that you will put forth the energy necessary over the time period required?

5.  Do I have a strategy? I see very few people who take the time to put together a “real” plan to reach their goals. I am often left in awe, wondering, “How do you think you can achieve your goal without putting together a plan?” A plan outlines the things you must do in a prioritized sequence to achieve your desired outcome.

6.  Who do I have around me that can help me? Dr. Maxwell said, “A nightmare is a big dream with a bad team.” Who’s on your team to support, encourage, and help you? If you don’t have the right people on your team, identify people you admire and respect, then determine how they can help you.

7.  Am I willing to pay the price? This is when you have a gut check and ask yourself, “Am I willing to do what is required of me to see my dream come true?” The bigger your dream, the more it will require of you. Are you willing to put forth the effort, overcome the obstacles, and deal with the disappointments that you will face on your journey?

8.  Am I moving closer? This is the tenacity question. Am I closer to reaching my dream today than I was yesterday? Was I closer yesterday than the day before? Look at your to-do lists over the last week and identify the steps you have taken toward your dream.

9.  Does working toward my dream bring satisfaction? If you are not growing and developing yourself in the pursuit of your dream, it may be time to identify a new one. Your journey must be fulfilling.

10.  Does my dream benefit others? If so, who? Why? If your dream is all about your selfish desires, it’s unlikely that it will ever be realized. Zig Ziglar, the most recognized sales trainer in American history, said, “When you help enough other people get what they want, you will have everything you want.”

How many times did you answer “yes”? The more yesses you answered, the more on target you are to achieve your dream. Each of you has the capability to visualize a dream—one that is rewarding and beneficial—and most of you have the ability to accomplish it.

So what are the odds of achieving your dream? If they’re not high, what can you do to increase your odds? Do you need to put together a plan? Do you need to re-evaluate your commitment? Do you need a new support team?

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” -Karen Ravn

Let me encourage you to print this lesson and ask yourself these ten questions with every dream or goal you consider. Since we can’t reasonably pursue everything we desire, we need to be wise and focus only on the things that pass the test.

Dreams come from hidden desires and possibilities. Everyone has dreams that occupy their minds, but it takes determination, a practical plan, and consistent effort to achieve them. Pursue your dream; begin today.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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