Energizing Yourself and Your Team with a Crystal Clear Life Dream
Bobb Biehl & Paul Swets
Authentic, 2007, 206 pp., ISBN 1-934068-36-6
Bobb Biehl is an executive mentor, consultant, author and speaker. Paul Swets is an author, counselor, pastor and business owner. Biehl's writings are especially helpful. This is the best book I have read about developing a life dream (vision of the difference you want your life to make) because it is broken down into small practical steps and it isn't so grandiose that I give up before I begin. The book is formatted as a 31-day process.
"When you examine your life, do you like where you're headed?"
Step 1 - Discovering Your Dream
1. Creating your future. "Dreaming big energizes you to create your future." Map a path. Dream again. "When you search your heart, wheat do you want in life?" Make a list. (3-4) "What's the next step that will bring you closer to your dreams?" (6)
2. Beginning the adventure. To be successful you must have a dream, a positive attitude and the right vehicle. (9)
3. Shaping your dreams to fit. "The better your dreams represent what really is in you, the more realistic they will be." (13) "What is the size of your idea setting? Your dollar range? The number of people you will influence? The geography of your impact? "Vision is not dreaming the impossible dream, but dreaming the most possible dream." (16, quoting George Barna). Think as big as you can at the present time. (17)
4. Sharpening the focus of your priorities. What would you sometime like to be, do, have, or who would you like to help in life? (18) List no more than ten in each category and star the top three. The top one.
5. Tapping into your natural energy. "When you discover what fires your passions, you tap into a natural energy source." (23) What is your overriding ambition? "It isn't just about wealth and image, it's about joy…" (25) True motivation arises from within.
6. Asking fog-cutting questions. Ask questions that help you think clearly. "What were the top ten most defining moments in your life?" (29)
7. Putting together your life dream. Some characteristics of a life dream: will be born of a deep desire to meet a need, consistent with your greatest strength, consistent with your values, liberating, self-rewarding. Revisit the areas that have been extremely rewarding to you. Why? What dreams energize you? (32-4)
Step 2 - Refining Your Dream
8. Choosing your direction wisely. Refining encourages mid-course corrections. Three essential questions: "Why am I here?" "If I pursue my Life Dream, then what?" "How important is my Life Dream to me?" (43)
9. Rethinking your lifework based on your life dream. "It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it's very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work." (48, quoting Jim Collins) "Around mid-life, the search for meaningful work may approach the nature of quiet desperation…or resignation." (48) "Moving into your Lifework will be the most direct path to your Dream." (48)
10. Funding your dreams. What financial options do you have? Consider investing some of your own money in your dreams. Consider network marketing or private franchising to leverage your funds while you work your day job. See The Perfect Business, Kiyosaki. (53-55)
11. Developing a strategic plan. "Plans are like a stairway to your dreams--a step-by-step guide…." Set clear short-rang plans in the context of long-range goals. Rethink your view of your present job so it becomes a learning opportunity for the future. (58) Use a personal strategy worksheet listing roadblocks, resources, priorities, and actions. (59)
12. Turning dream energy into results. "Taking even small, imperfect steps in the direction of your dreams begins a confidence-building process." (62) "Persistent action toward your dreams keeps you focused." Keep a copy of your dream in front of you. "Is my next step clear? If no, how can I revise it so it's crystal clear?" (64) "One powerful motivator to action is to envision your dream being fulfilled." (64) "All dreams require discipline - which is "simply doing something you don't want to do in order to achieve something you want to achieve." (65)
13. Balancing your life. "Wrong dreams reflect a tragic imbalance in our lives. Life balance, on the other hand, is the process of correcting imbalance and integrating our dreams according to a healthy framework of values." (67) "When we put all the weight of our energy…into one area, we find ourselves with no time for other key areas. Life lacks beauty and harmony and balance. The changes can be subtle." (68) A series of diagnostic questions to assess balance among eight dimensions are provided on p. 69)
"Another way to balance our lies is to look at the organizing principle at the center of our lives. What is at the center is what is most important to us and will affect every dimension of life." (71)
14. Stretching beyond childhood labels. "On a scale of 1 to 10, how clear am I on the following: I know who I am. I know what my potential is. I know where I want to go." (80)
Step 3 - Living Your Dream
15. Trusting your own judgment. "As you seek to live your dream, will you follow public opinion or will you trust your own judgment? (83) When you know too little, do your homework; ask wise counselors; question yourself (sample questions given); and act with courage. (84-90) "When you have times of uncertainty, focus your attention on what you know for sure. Then act with courage." "Choose to trust your own judgment." (91)
16. Protecting your dreams. Early on your dreams may be fragile so protect them. Defend them. Do your own reality check regarding time, people, capital, and resources. (94-96)
17. Overcoming dismissal, divorce, or despair. "You may be ready for a break down…or a break through." (98) Healing is possible. You may need rest, renewal, and/or restoration. (99-101) "God uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream." (102, quoting Larry Crabb)
18. Facing unexpected realities. Such as illness, unemployment, fatigue.
19. Dreaming breakout dreams.
20. Enjoying what matters most. "We suggest that drivenness often results from phobic fears that have their origin in our childhood. Phobias do create a form of energy in us--high energy driving us to stay ahead of the bulldozer of rejection, failure, and all those things that push us…. But the whole process is negative and unhealthy. It's being driven by the past rather than being pulled by the future." "On the other hand, when you have dream energy, you have a positive, healthy energy for the future." (116)
"Recently I was driving around the Lake Wylie, South Carolina, area. I pulled off to the side of an undeveloped piece of property. There was a bulldozer on the land, and some trees were knocked down. A lot of mud. Looked awful. But somebody saw its future potential…beautiful." (117)
21. Mentoring the next generation. "…mentoring is probably part of what it will mean for you to live your dream." (118) "The world our children will know will be in a significant way a reflection of our mentoring. Wow!" (119)
Step 4. Teach Your Team to Dream
22. Demonstrating leadership.
23. Recruiting a dream team. "The first recruiting skill is to find prospects whose dreams match the direction of your team dream." (131) "Teamwork requires that everyone's efforts flow in a single direction." (132)
24. Asking dream-sparking questions. "…the question in recruiting a great team is not 'Can this person do the work?' But rather, 'What does this person actually want to do?'" (136) The authors provide ten diagnostic "heart reading" questions. (137)
25. Building a team on core values. "People make decisions based on what they passionately value." "A core value is a principle, standard, or quality regarded as essential." (141) Identify the top five core values at the center of your team dream. Only five. Teach them with passion. You must be in 100 percent agreement. (143)
26. Helping your team see the big picture. "Will your Life Dream concern only you? Will it touch lives in your city, your nation, your world?" (150)
27. Equipping your team to overcome failure. "Failures never signal the end--unless you quit." (154) Learn from failure. Was it my situation or me? Did I fail or just fall short of an unrealistic standard? Where did I succeed as well as fail? What lessons have I learned? (156-158) "We are constantly bombarded with negative media messages. To keep a strong, positive perspective, we need to have a system for renewing our minds…." (159)
28. Creating competitive advantage.
Step 5 - Encouraging Your Team
30. Building. Building confidence, hope, relationships
31. Winning. How do you intend to win in life? "Walt Disney said there are three kinds of people in the world today.
· Well poisoners--people who discourage you and stomp on your creativity, and tell you what you can't do.
· Lawn mowers--people who tend to their own needs, mow their own lawns and never leave their yards to help another person.
· Life enrichers--people who reach out to enrich the lives of others, to lift them up and inspire them. Disney wanted to be a life enricher and surround himself with life enrichers." (186)
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