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Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Dream Big as a Young Professional

 by Tom Healy


The following is a Commencement Day speech given by the youngest head coach to ever win a National Football League Super Bowl, Mike Tomlin. He gave this speech to the graduates of The College of William & Mary in the spring of 2008. He structures it as if he were giving a pre-game speech to the graduates. This portion of the speech talks about dreaming big and does an incredible job of highlighting the importance of young people having big dreams. After reading through it, a few key statements will be examined that are especially significant for any young professional with the desire to accomplish greatness in their lives and careers.

"Lastly, and this is a mandate, team. It is critical for success in today's game. I mandate, I urge you, never, ever, stop dreaming. That will be the biggest change in your life when you walk out of this locker room door today. It's one of the things I love about working with younger people, in the business that I'm in. When you're young, you dream and you dream wildly. You do. And it's awesome.

The dreams are limitless. They know no bounds. On the other side of that door today, young people, is a reality, is a life. And if you are not careful, they'll diminish the dream.

The people that I come across, being blessed with being able to do what I do for a living. I come across people that are successful in every walk of life. Its one common bond that I notice that they all have… they're ridiculous dreamers.

Don't ever stop being that. I'm a ridiculous dreamer. To this day I do it. The difference is, what separates our dreams from the ones we all shared when we were children, is that we have to make daily choices, to take action. To make those dreams a reality. That is what I mandate for this team to do today.

Continue to dream. Don't let the realities of the world that awaits you on the other side of that locker room door, diminish those dreams.

Make the conscious daily decisions to take action to make those dreams a reality."

The above portion of Tomlin's speech does a terrific job of hitting five key points that you must keep in mind as you dream big and develop your vision. Below are quotations to illustrate those key points, as well as an explanation of each.

"When you're young, you dream and you dream wildly. You do. And it's awesome."

Let's stop for a second, and think about what your dreams were at 8-years-old; possibly you saw yourself making the winning shot in Game 7 of the NBA Finals for your favorite team. Perhaps you were the lead role on Broadway in your favorite show. Or maybe you were the biggest movie star in Hollywood. Regardless of what your dream was, there was one theme that was universally common - the dream was big. Actually, the dream was huge, and there was nothing in the world that could stop you from imagining that feeling. Never once did you think to yourself that maybe you weren't talented enough to achieve that dream, or that it would take too long to reach it. Your 8-year-old imagination was innocent and not crowded with the negative thoughts that most people carry with them in their adult lives.

Why is it that as people get older, they all of a sudden start to have doubt in their minds? One day, you may suddenly feel you are not smart enough to get into graduate school. There is no way that at 8-years-old you would have told yourself that being your own boss and running a highly successful company would be too difficult and that you didn't have the time or money to do it. The older people get, the more likely they are to find excuses and reasons why they can't accomplish something. The key is to block all of those excuses out of your mind and truly believe that you are capable of doing anything and everything that you can possibly imagine.

Do you think that at your age it is possible to dream like you once did? If you concentrate and focus, is it possible to have wild dreams about success and happiness without worrying about the obstacles you may face? Make the commitment right now that at the end of this book when you develop your personal vision you will dream like you used to as a child.

"The dreams are limitless. They know no bounds."

Refuse to set the bar low for yourself when you develop your personal vision of success. Don't settle for less than your potential will allow. Too often people are content with "just getting by" when they are capable of accomplishing so much more. Just because someone else has not achieved something, doesn't mean that you can't do it. Don't try to simply match others' successes, but surpass the accomplishments of others and create even higher standards for success. When you create your dreams, there is no limit on how big and creative they can be. The only limits that you face are the ones that you create in your own mind, from either your thoughts or the negative thoughts of those around you. Make a commitment to have no limits or boundaries for the dreams that you create.

"I come across people that are successful in every walk of life. It's one common bond that I notice that they all have… they're ridiculous dreamers."

Be a ridiculous dreamer; in fact be so ridiculous that everyone else around you thinks that you are crazy. When Fred Smith wrote an economics paper on a concept for an overnight delivery service in a computer information age, his professor gave him a C grade and told him the idea was unrealistic. In his 20s, Fred Smith turned this concept into FedEx, and his net worth is currently over $2 billion. His professor thought his idea was crazy, and guess what, that's the whole point. Make the average person think you are absolutely insane because your visions and dreams are so much larger than everyone else around you. Average people will only ever accomplish average things.

Right now, think of one of your dreams for your life that is absolutely ridiculous and that most people would think you are crazy for even thinking you could accomplish. If you cannot think of one, then you will need to by the end of this book. You must have at least one ridiculous dream that the average young professional would think was unattainable. A person who dreams obnoxiously is better than someone who is scared to do so. Be a ridiculous dreamer for the rest of your life.

"The difference is, what separates our dreams from the ones we all shared when we were children, is that we have to make daily choices, to take action."

By setting the bar high with large dreams comes the responsibility to also align your daily actions with those dreams. You cannot just say you want to do something without developing a specific plan and then sticking to it daily. It is one thing to say that you want to be in the top 10% of your law class; it's a completely different thing to actually study an hour longer each day than the others do in your class.

As an adult, you need to identify on a daily basis what it will take to reach your dreams, and then you must make the commitment to consistently do those activities necessary to be successful. The difference between a dream and an actual success is the ability to persevere through the difficulties and accomplish everything necessary to reach the goals you set for yourself.

Having a strong daily routine that aligns with your vision is crucial. If you have no routine, it's easy for weeks, months or even years to pass before you realize you have done nothing to move closer to your vision. If you identify what you must do daily to be successful, hold yourself accountable to that plan and consistently follow through with the necessary activities, then you will be successful. If you do the necessary daily activities most of the time, you may eventually get there, but probably not as quickly or easily as you would have liked. If you only do the necessary daily activities some of the time, then your chances of accomplishing your goals are even slimmer. The bottom line is simple - if you develop an effective daily plan and stick to it, you will be successful. Your actions will determine your fate.

"Don't let the realities of the world that awaits you on the other side of that locker room door, diminish those dreams."

You are an ambitious, hard-working individual who wants to be successful in this world. If you weren't, then you wouldn't be reading this book right now. The reality of this world is that most people aren't built like you. Do not let those people diminish your dreams, and do not let them ever tell you what you can and can't do in this world.

"America's Young Professional Success Coach" Tom Healy shows students and young professionals the fast and easy way to become highly successful in their lives and careers. Be sure to claim your FREE gifts at Tom Healy's Young Professional Success Program and also check out Tom's Blog.


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