A Dream About Tracy’s Dream!

At the end of a very long, hectic autumn day, Tracy skipped dinner and went straight to bed.  What happened later that night was strange.  Imagine a dream with no people and no signs of activity.  Instead the entire dream is two bright yellow words on a dark background. Period!  That’s exactly what happened in Tracy’s dream. The words were, “BE READY”.  Kind of eerie wouldn’t you agree?  Tracy sat up in bed, puzzled and somewhat scared, but after a few minutes of pondering this strange dream, Tracy succumbed to fatigue and fell asleep.

There are people like Tracy who make up their minds to live lives and have careers that can leave the world in a better place.  That’s why Tracy awakened the next morning more curious about than afraid of the strange dream.  As a result, the day went fast and nighttime came soon enough only to be interrupted sometime around midnight.  When Tracy awakened prematurely from a sequel to yesterday’s dream of green words on a dark background there was an expanded message – “BE READY OR ELSE” That would get anyone’s attention!  Shocked by this more threatening message it took almost two hours for Tracy to return to a state of sleep.

Compared to the previous days, the next day was light, giving Tracy the freedom to ponder the meaning of these dreams, where they might be coming from and whether or not there would be another one tonight.  The answer came at 2:15 am.  “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.”  This message was equally strange, but the previous fear had morphed into the “fear of loss.”

While the presence of fear lingered, it was tempered by curiosity and the hint of hope.  Would the dream continue?  Sure enough!  Tracy arose with the sun, inspired by the following expanded message: “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.  PREPARE DILIGENTLY.”  As simple as this dream sounded, Tracy’s curiosity and frustration returned, wondering, “How can anyone prepare for opportunities that come and go like lightning.”

Days 5, 6 and 7 came and went without any strange dreams.  Was the sequence finished or had Tracy’s exhaustion wiped out any new dreams?  Either way, it turned out to be a blessing.  The gap made room for some heavy reflection that would make room for more wisdom.  On the eighth night, Tracy was ready and so the dream continued with new advice.  “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.  PREPARE DILIGENTLY.  FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION”

It’s Day 9. For three days Tracy wondered what goes into a person’s foundation. Realizing that a strong foundation is essential for any successful endeavor, Tracy is eager to discover the remaining pieces in the puzzle.  Like the first 4 days, the dream maker delivered an expanded message of wisdom along with a recommended set of tools.  That message is simply this:

“BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.
PREPARE DILIGENTLY.  FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION OF
LEADERSHIP, EXCELLENCE, ASSOCIATIONS AND PROFESSIONALISM.”

At the end of a very long, hectic autumn day, Tracy skipped dinner and went straight to bed. What happened later that night was strange. Imagine a dream with no people and no signs of activity. Instead the entire dream is two bright yellow words on a dark background. Period! That’s exactly what happened in Tracy’s dream. The words were, “BE READY”. Kind of eerie wouldn’t you agree? Tracy sat up in bed, puzzled and somewhat scared, but after a few minutes of pondering this strange dream, Tracy succumbed to fatigue and fell asleep.

There are people like Tracy who make up their minds to live lives and have careers that can leave the world in a better place. That’s why Tracy awakened the next morning more curious about than afraid of the strange dream. As a result, the day went fast and nighttime came soon enough only to be interrupted sometime around midnight. When Tracy awakened prematurely from a sequel to yesterday’s dream of green words on a dark background there was an expanded message – “BE READY OR ELSE” That would get anyone’s attention! Shocked by this more threatening message it took almost two hours for Tracy to return to a state of sleep.

Compared to the previous days, the next day was light, giving Tracy the freedom to ponder the meaning of these dreams, where they might be coming from and whether or not there would be another one tonight. The answer came at 2:15 am. “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.” This message was equally strange, but the previous fear had morphed into the “fear of loss.”

While the presence of fear lingered, it was tempered by curiosity and the hint of hope. Would the dream continue? Sure enough! Tracy arose with the sun, inspired by the following expanded message: “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR. PREPARE DILIGENTLY.” As simple as this dream sounded, Tracy’s curiosity and frustration returned, wondering, “How can anyone prepare for opportunities that come and go like lightning.”

Days 5, 6 and 7 came and went without any strange dreams. Was the sequence finished or had Tracy’s exhaustion wiped out any new dreams? Either way, it turned out to be a blessing. The gap made room for some heavy reflection that would make room for more wisdom. On the eighth night, Tracy was ready and so the dream continued with new advice. “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR. PREPARE DILIGENTLY. FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION”

Day 9. For three days Tracy wondered what goes into a person’s foundation. Realizing that a strong foundation is essential for any successful endeavor, Tracy is eager to discover the remaining pieces in the puzzle. Like the first 4 days, the dream maker delivered an expanded message of wisdom along with a recommended set of tools. That message is simply this: “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR. PREPARE DILIGENTLY. FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP, EXCELLENCE, ASSOCIATIONS AND PROFESSIONALISM.”

It’s Day 10, or so I thought. The phone had awakened me from my unplanned nap. I was groggy, but happy to see my friend had not left my home. Tracy was pumped up and dying to share so-called “life-changing, foundational information” contained within an online professional development program named “L.E.A.P. OF FAITH.”  Strange as it seems, Tracy was just beginning Lesson 10!

P.S.  Thanks for reading what is perhaps the shortest novel of 2016!

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Goals Create Motivation – Action Creates Progress

The small things we focus on can deliver the big things we dream about. This is the very point University of Dayton Head Basketball Coach Archie Miller made during an interview with Mike Hartsock of WHIO TV.

Hartsock: Do you still take your guys back to last year? “O.K. guys, remember what we had last year, what we went through last year?”

Coach Miller:  I think more so the path that we took, how we handled the path, not so much where the end result got, but… how much better did we get from February 22nd to March 15th… It’s finding a way to get your team to stay in the moment, of talking about, “Hey look! This was the path we were on. This is where we were a year ago men…think about how far we went; we can do it, too!”… Not so much about, “Do you want to do this again, do you want to do that again? Remember the little things that got us there.

– Archie Miller, Head Coach of Dayton Flyers Men’s Basketball Program; Broadcast, 3/1/2015

People are motivated by big dreams and goals if they believe the goals are possible for them. That’s a good start. But having inspiring goals is not enough. Goals are the measurable parts of a dream. Dreams become real from the execution of the right, moment-by-moment actions. Too much attention on the dream can distract us from doing the actions that produce the outcomes we expect.

Successful people know how to leverage the motivation of a dream to create the actions that get results. People who feel the high of an inspiring dream and consistently fail to take the necessary actions are adrenalin junkies.  From this interview, I conclude that Coach Miller understands this principle and leads his team accordingly.

 “The small things we focus on
can deliver the big things we dream about.”
— Clancy Cross

Good luck to the Dayton Flyers, Men and Women, in their upcoming tournaments!

Preparation – The Law of True Opportunities

Opportunities are Gifts

The Opportunity Clock
Click Image for More Engagement Squares

True opportunities are the results of alignment with our internal gifts and the happenings in the world.  They are neither accidental nor coincidental.  Just like talents alone, true opportunities are gifts.  Our abilities to benefit from them is the cause-and-effect reward for doing the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons.  In other words, I believed, I planned, I prepared, I searched, I found and I took action.

Some opportunities sit patiently on a shelf waiting to be discovered and claimed by opportunity shoppers who are willing to pay the price.  There are no special requirements for acquiring the gift except that the purchaser is willing to pay the price.  From then on, the investment creates an incentive to do something meaningful with the opportunity.

There are also legacy opportunities tucked away in a safe place, for the right time, like a dowry or inheritance.  Others are the gifts of our potential.  Still others are gifts of love and attention.

Talent is both a gift and an opportunity.  It’s like a seed waiting to be planted and watered so it can grow to maturity, harvested and put to its intended use.  Talent comes with a purpose.  The purpose of an apple seed is to grow into an apple tree that produces apples.  Talents are the seeds of our lives.

There’s something even more important than just recognizing our gifts and opportunities — full understanding and use of them.  To do this, some key connections must be made.  Let’s call it the Opportunity Progression…

  • Talents – the innate gifts of “potential.” We’re all born with unique sets of abilities.
  • Potential – the God-given gift that enables everything we do AND gives hints about our possibilities.
  • Possibility – the gift of “hope.”  Hope is the attitude of expectations for a better future.
  • Hope – the gift that is built on trust, strengthens faith and inspires courage.
  • Courage – the gift that inspires and fuels action – both proactive a reactive.  Proactive courage leads to preparation.  The reactive gift is the courage to respond.  We need both types of courage.
  • Action – the gift that relies on our inner voice – the gift conscience.
  • Conscience – God’s voice of “purpose.”  It answers the purpose question “Why me?”  Purpose is the gift that reveals true opportunities and redirects action to be focused on right actions.  As such, conscience is the voice of character.
  • YOUR True Opportunities – those opportunities that successfully pass through the entire Opportunity Progression.

The Opportunity Tragedy

Lost and wasted opportunities are one human tragedy we all experience.  At this very moment you are on the brink of missing one because you are unaware, afraid, confused, uncommitted, distracted, ungrateful, arrogant and/or uninformed and therefore, unwilling to claim this opportunity.  Although these are the causes of breakdowns in the Opportunity Progression, there is one simple explanation that covers them all…

Lack of preparation is the cause of lost opportunities.
Preparation is a choice.
Therefore, the loss of opportunities is a choice.

We are who we are and where we are because of the daily choices we make regarding our personal preparation.  The loss of opportunities is the result of not spending enough of our finite resources becoming ready.  What areas of preparation am I referring to?

  • Wisdom – where knowledge, context and experience come together.
  • Beliefs – where wisdom joins with perspective, trust and confidence to form a foundation of truth.
  • Values – the beliefs that matter most to one or more individuals based on personal or shared relevance.
  • Attitudes – the way we feel about our beliefs determines the choices and quality of our actions.
  • Understanding – the ability to form judgments based on knowledge and circumstances.
  • Relationships – the way people interact, align, work and bond with one another.
  • Awareness – recognizing and understanding the events and opportunities around us.
  • Skills – the developed aptitudes, abilities and power to do something with competence.

The more we invest in ALL of these areas, the more valuable opportunities will be accessible to us.  It’s a matter of one choice — to prepare or not prepare, that is the question!

— CC


Quotes 4/12/2014

He remarked to me that today’s workers need to approach
the workplace much like athletes preparing for the Olympics,
with one difference. “They have to prepare like someone
who is training for the Olympics but doesn’t know
what sport they are going to enter.”

— “The World is Flat” p. 294 by Thomas L. Friedman
with a quotation from Gene Sperling