Dream Baby, Dream!

The ABC’s of Professionalism

“Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” — Napoleon Hill

What a powerful thought. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems that the older people get, the less time and effort they devote to dreaming. Even when they do grant a little freedom to the right side of their brains, the images tend to be constrained by fears, doubts, and the “realities” that they’ve constructed for themselves. Vision is the victim.

“Capital isn’t scarce; vision is.” — Sam Walton

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” — Bible, Proverbs 29:18

Imagine an entire world that embraced the Napoleon Hill philosophy and was able to unleash the full capacity of human creativity and ingenuity. Not just the so-called “educated thinkers” with advanced college degrees. I mean everyone – kids included.

“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” — Sam Levenson, humorist

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” — Albert Einstein

“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.” — Charles F. Kettering

Is that too idealistic for you? Okay. Instead of imagining the release of ALL untapped creativity, what if we could gain access to just 1% of it? How different would the world be if everyone made a habit of exercising his creative mind like some exercise their bodies? I envision happy, energized people who think up better solutions to old problems, invent new things, fuel the next economic boom, and make the world a better place. Ridiculous? Where’s your imagination?

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” — Muhammad Ali

Everyone has within himself untapped God-given creative potential. With desire and a little bit of practice, everyone has the ability to develop qualities of a visionary (not in the prophetic sense.)

“A visionary is one who can find his way by moonlight, and see the dawn before the rest of the world.” — Oscar Wilde

“What is now proved was once only imagined.” — William Blake

Vision is imagination with focus. When random images are assembled and brought into focus through lenses called intent and purpose and a filter called morality, visions are formed – some have world-changing potential. Without focus, the target is fuzzy making it difficult to aim at and even more difficult to share with others. However, too much focus and the wrong kind of filtering can squelch creativity. For example, applying the filter known as “probability” too early in the visioning process is like a governor placed on a high-performance engine. It limits the power of the vision.

“Dream big dreams! Imagine that you have no limitations and then decide what’s right before you decide what’s possible.” — Brian Tracy

“No one is less ready for tomorrow than the person who holds the most rigid beliefs about what tomorrow will contain.”

— The Visionary’s Handbook: Ten Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business, 1999.

When the image is an outcome or target it is sometimes referred to as “the big picture” or “the 30,000 foot view.” Contrasting with that is the idiom “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Both are referring to the fact that that there is a difference between the overall outcome and the implementation details.

The next step is giving birth to your vision. Like a baby, which needs lots of love and attention, every vision needs a parent (biological or adoptive) to help it grow and mature. This is where care and feeding begin. The parent of the vision needs a plan of action.

“A baby is born with a need to be loved – and it never outgrows it.” — Frank A. Clark

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” — Japanese proverb

It’s Your Vision, Record It

Professionals keep a journal of their thoughts, events, ideas and yes, their visions. Describe the vision and all of its glorious details. If possible, draw or find a picture of it. It’s not silly to record the birth date of an idea or vision. If a beer company can make a big deal about the “born on date” of their product, you should do likewise. Certainly the birth of your idea is more significant than a bottle of beer. If you are unwilling to do these things, you probably don’t love your vision enough to help it survive, much less to help it grow and thrive.

“If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual – keep a journal. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down.”
— Jim Rohn <http://www.personal-development.com/jim-rohn/keeping-journal.htm&gt;

It’s Your Vision, Share It

Dote on your vision like it’s your own precious child. Show it to others. Your enthusiasm will grow and you may find others willing to help support your vision. Be ready for some to say “you have an ugly baby.” Others will more thoughtfully offer encouragement or parenting advice. Use the good feedback to refine and bring clarity to your vision. Ignore the useless and bad feedback. However, both types of feedback can be sources of positive motivation.

“A baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” — Eda J. Le Shan (1922-2002), Psychologist, family counselor, author.

“If you desire to drain to the dregs the fullest cup of scorn and hatred that a fellow human being can pour out for you, let a young mother hear you call dear baby “it.”
— Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927), Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, p. 58.

It’s Your Vision Realize It

The future of your vision is undeniably linked to the amount of passion you or someone else has for it. Passion is the fuel that turns vision into reality.

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” — John C. Maxwell, <www.JohnMaxwell.com/about/>

“There is no finer investment for any community then putting milk into babies.” — Winston Churchill

There’s a corollary to this vision/passion connection. Regardless of whether or not a particular vision lives or dies is less important than for the individual to create a passion connection with any worthy vision. Having a passion-filled vision is crucial to achieving the highest levels of professionalism. It might sound cliché, but find what you love to do and figure out a way to make a living out of it. Instead of just making a living, you’ll be making a life.

“If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first, then you’re supposed to be a singer, girl.” — A line by Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act II.

“Once you surrender to your vision, success begins to chase you.” — Robin Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

“You do not pay the price of success, you enjoy the price of success.” — Zig Ziglar

Ownership of a vision is not limited to the ones who created it. In fact, people working together should adopt the organization’s vision if the organization is to thrive. Whether or not you are the originator of the vision, if you claim either a parental role or an adoptive parental role in the life of the vision, you are a leader. Keep this in mind while reading the following leadership quotes:

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” — John C. Maxwell

“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.” — Robert Jarvik, Artificial Heart Developer.

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” — Theodor Hesburgh

“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” — Ralph Lauren

“We lose sight of the most important factors that lead to successful leadership: commitment, a passion to make a difference, a vision for achieving positive change, and the courage to take action.”
— Larraine Matusak, Finding Your Voice: Learning to Lead Anywhere You Want to Make a Difference, p. 7.

“The size of a leader is determined by the depth of his convictions, the height of his ambitions, the breadth of his vision and the reach of his love.” — D.N. Jackson, Leadership Inspirational Quotes & Insights for Leaders, p. 155

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” — Warren Bennis

Now, go feed that baby!

God bless,

— CC

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© Copyright January 2009, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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Make More Mistakes

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Series: The ABC’s of Professionalism

“Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest Precedent. Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, ‘In onion there is strength.’ Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.”

— From a compilation of student bloopers and mistakes, attributed to Richard Lederer. (Source: http://www.innocentenglish.com)

Now that you’ve hopefully had a good laugh, let’s get serious about “mistakes.” Human beings are deeply flawed in two respects. First, we make countless mistakes every day. No surprise, right? The curious part is why we harbor fears about making more. Fear of imperfection is the second and far greater flaw.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

“To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all.” — Peter McWilliams, Life 101


“If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.” — Frank Wilczek (1951- )

We fear mistakes because it reveals that we are imperfect.  But, everyone already knows that. So why do we think that makes us look bad?

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.” — Henry C. Link

“I have learned the novice can often see things that the expert overlooks. All that is necessary is not to be afraid of making mistakes, or of appearing naive.” — Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

“Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.” — Dr. David M. Burns

Mistakes should be welcomed and valued because they are opportunities to learn and improve.

“Mistakes, obviously, show us what needs improving. Without mistakes, how would we know what we had to work on?” — Peter McWilliams, Life 101

“An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats failures simply as practice shots.” — Charles Franklin Kettering, inventor

What we learn from our mistakes they will guide us and nudge us along the path toward success.

“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” — Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968 )

“If I had my life to live over… I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.” — Nadine Stair

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t as all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.” — Lillian Hellman (1905-1984)

If we are wise and able to suppress our arrogance, it is also possible to learn from the mistakes of others.

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes, the wise and the good learn wisdom for the future.” — Plutarch, Historian

Still, one’s own mistakes handled professionally are the best-learned lessons.

Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it immediately.” — Stephen R. Covey, Author and Speaker

“It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.” — Garry Marshall, ‘Wake Me When It’s Funny’

There are proper and improper responses to mistakes.

“Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.” — Cullen Hightower

“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.” — Paul “Bear” Bryant, “I Ain’t Never Been Nothing but a Winner”

History has proven there’s an undeniable connection between mistakes and innovation.

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce (1882-1941)

“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” — Samuel Smiles

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs

Here’s the lesson. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, then commit to improvement. As long as your intentions were moral and ethical and your efforts were careful and thorough, there is no valid reason to feel guilty about a mistake, even if it caused harm. Of course when harm has occurred the whole matter of forgiveness and reparations must take place. After that, there’s not much else you can do but move on and do better.

“How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.” — Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” — Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

“Forgiveness does not always lead to a healed relationship. Some people are not capable of love, and it might be wise to let them go along with your anger. Wish them well, and let them go their way.” — Real Live Preacher, RealLivePreacher.com Weblog, July 7, 2003

The worst thing is to allow one mistake to turn into more.

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” — Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford (1893-1979)

Accepting our limits and imperfections as humans is not the same as being cavalier about mistakes. Errors are inevitable and they are serious business. Learning to deal properly with mistakes is the mark of a professional.

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life” — Sophia Loren

God bless,

— CC

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© Copyright October 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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Your “Dream Date”

“Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”
— Napoleon Hill

My friend Bill Taylor writes a newspaper column called, “It Seems to Me” that features his musings on a wide range of subjects. This post about dreams falls into my own “it seems to me” category. Since I have almost no formal training in the field of psychology, I am fully prepared for a professional psychologist to take me behind the woodshed and beat some sense into me.

Dreams are the result of brain activity that we laymen are inclined to call “imagination.” I’ll call it the “creative mind.” Human beings also have a rational mind, where reasoning occurs. When a person is fully conscious, the rational mind tends to put constraints on the creative mind. Its purpose seems to be to keep the creative mind from putting a square peg into a round hole. Some would call this a “reality check” or “keeping things in perspective.”

“Dream big dreams! Imagine that you have no limitations and then decide what’s right before you decide what’s possible.” — Brian Tracy

Another part of the brain is associated with human emotions. The emotional mind has the potential to shift the imagination into turbo speed. It can also break down the constraints presented by the rational mind. In the end, we have a two-front war being waged against the rational mind.

“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” — Sam Levenson, humorist

“Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch” — Ivern Ball, Poet

The imagination, like muscles, requires regular exercise if it is to stay in shape and maintain its usefulness. As a whole, I believe our imaginations have become soft and flabby due to neglect.

“If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning. The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living.” — Marion Woodman

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court justice

Expressions of boredom indicate people are not exercising their imaginations. There are other clues to listen for. How many times have you heard the following in a casual conversation?

  • “What’s new? Oh, not much – same old same old.”
  • “Another day, another dollar.”
  • “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
  • “There’s nothing to do in this town.”
  • “I’ve been doing it that way for 40 years, I’m not about to change now.”
  • “What are your plans when you graduate? Oh, I don’t know.”
  • “I never thought of that.”

Even if these conversational fragments don’t indicate a specific lack of creative exercise, they are, as representatives of modern day vernacular, a reflection of a society that needs to be challenged to think and get outside the box.

“Getting outside of the box can not only be fun, it is sometimes necessary for our survival. That is what survival training is all about. It disrupts our inner programming, the mentality of going through life on ‘auto-pilot’ so that we can readily see bright new possibilities heading our way.” — Gail Pursell Elliott

“Progress is what happens when impossibility yields to necessity.” — Arnold H. Glasgow

I prescribe a solution — set a goal to change the culture one person at a time. The first person is you! Don’t wait for necessity to wake up your creative capacity. Make it a point to feed your mind daily with stories of dreamers. Exercise your imagination by making a date with yourself to dream. Call it your “dream date.” Develop the habit of putting your rational mind in neutral while your imagination explores exciting possibilities. Take notes.  When one of your own dreams takes root, tend it like a garden.  Then share it with supportive and like-minded people. Your newly found enthusiasm will be contagious.  As your dream grows, expose it to the skeptics.  Your dream may inspire some of them, too.

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” — Charles Browner

“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity.” — Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

Write down your dream in the form of a vision statement. Review it daily. Make a collage or other visual symbolic reminder of your dream. Keep that dream in front of you in some form or your daily cares will trample it to death.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright October 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com