Jun 032012

dream big

Do You Remember When You Used To Dream Big?

I vividly remember when I used to talk with my friends and dream big as a little kid.  Didn’t we all do it?  We’d talk about the vision we had for our future and all the wonderful and exciting things we wanted to do in our lives.

As kids, we didn’t know what we were doing.  Vision boards were not part of our vocabulary.  We had no idea how to set goals in a way to increase the probability that we’d achieve them.  More importantly, no one had ever told us that we couldn’t do something.  The possibilities seemed limitless.  Those were exciting times that gave us a ton of hope for the future.

What happens to our ability to dream big as we mature into adulthood?  Why is it that so many of us go from the boundless enthusiasm of dreaming big as children to the cynical disappointment of “being realistic” and “accepting our limitations” as we become adults?

In all my experience in life, from business, to coaching and playing sports, to teaching and learning a wide variety of subjects, I have found that the ability to dream big is controlled by one person.  Can you guess who it is?  It’s me; just as your ability to dream big in your life is controlled by just one person – that’s you!

When I have found it hard to think big in my goal setting, it has always been because of limitations, usually mental in nature, that I have imposed on myself.  Now, those self-imposed limitations may have resulted from thoughts and doubts I allowed myself to have based on what other people had said or done.  But at the end of the day, the limitations were self-imposed!

I bet that if you take an honest look at times when you failed to dream big in your business or in your personal life, you can trace the reason(s) back to limitations you imposed on yourself.  How crazy is that?  You’re the one who has the ability to either give yourself permission to dream big or limit yourself from doing so.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s great news!

Here’s how I now approach the natural tendency to get into a rut and impose limitations on myself unnecessarily:

1.)        I regularly check in with myself to get a better handle on my state of mind.  I don’t simply go with the flow without frequently monitoring where I’m at mentally.

2.)        I give myself carte blanche (free reign) to think and dream big, regardless of whatever challenges I may be facing at any one time or experiences I’ve had in the past.

3.)        I set goals and I monitor my progress toward those goals.

4.)        I take “failures” as isolated and independent events and I try to learn everything I can from them, then I move on.

5.)        I encourage others in my life, whether they be clients, family members, partners, friends, or some mixture thereof, to dream big.  It is extremely rewarding to help others see and achieve their potential!

6.)        I reinforce with others and with myself that, as my brother once told me, “it’s better to aim high and hit medium, than it is to aim low and hit low”.  Don’t sell yourself short before ever getting out of the gate.

7.)        I pursue excellence in everything that I do, even in my slacking off sometimes (please don’t tell my kids)…

8.)        I work with a coach and/or mentor in all areas that matter the most to me.  I have found the perspective of those who’ve “been there and done that” to be invaluable in accelerating my progress and maintaining my sanity as I pursue my goals.

9.)        I fight off shiny object syndrome every day, many times a day.  I have found that I love to try new things, but I’ve also found that maintaining focus is absolutely key to achieving big dreams!

10.)     I maintain my individuality, but I embrace the opportunity to work in teams much more than I ever have in the past.  I have always been very self-reliant and determined, but I have found that I can have a much greater impact in all my endeavors if I am willing and able to work well with teams.  I also find that greater interaction with others stimulates my mind and pushes me to dream big and think more creatively.

I hope these ideas help you as you fight for your dreams and perhaps rekindle that kid-like spirit of dreaming without self-imposed limitations.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin



Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

Go to the right-hand navigation bar near the top of the page, enter your email and click subscribe.  We respect your privacy and will not sell your email address.  Note:  once you subscribe, if the confirmation email doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter.  It usually makes it through, but sometimes those pesky spam filters don’t know what’s good..

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

    I think your 10 ways of adressing and encouraging yourself to be more present, to think and dream big are really relevant thoughts – for everyone. Engage//Innovate, a Scandinavian management consulting company, just launched its “preview” book on “Strategic Tools for the Next Generation” (2013), called “Dream Bigger – Your Personal Innovation Sketchbook”. I think it ties in with your post. Feedback so far has been: “Its inspirational” and “I have another mind-set now. I allow myself to dream bigger; and ultimately pursue those dreams in ways I wouldn’t before”.

    You are welcome to join our FB group or twitter account if you are interested:

    & https://twitter.com/#!/DreamBiggerBook

    Stay Crazy, Dream Bigger!

  • Thanks, Kristian … sounds interesting. I will take a look. Paul

  • Thalia

    Dreaming big is actually one of the most common things we used to have when we were young.. But the question is, did we do something to achieve it? We should think of that..

  • Hopefully, we already have done something to achieve our dreams, but if not, there is still time. There is always time.

  • Alicia William

    The last time I dream big was 20 years ago..and now. It’s not to late to dream and today that dream will serve as my strength to achieve it.
    Thanks for this wonderful post.

  • Hi Paul, I share your view that most limitations are self-imposed and we alone have the key to unlocking this lock. I love your brother’s quote about being better to “aim high and hit medium than to aim low and hit low”. Ok for me to share on FB and Twitter?

    Great list of ideas! Thanks for sharing your approach

  • Thanks! Yes, please feel free to share!

  • David

    “I take “failures” as isolated and independent events and I try to learn everything I can from them, then I move on.”

    This is a very good thought to live by, although I might have to work a lot on the moving on part.

  • Thanks, David. Yes, the “moving on part” is absolutely key. If we dwell on failures, it’s tough to make meaningful progress.

  • Randy

    Good post Paul, I am a constant dreamer (day)! It is a struggle from time to time to maintain the steam….

  • Thanks, Randy. We all struggle to maintain the steam, from time to time… the key is to take a bit of break, then get back on track, stronger than ever.

  • Hi Paul,

    Great post, regardless of size and purpose a dream, checking is vital in keeping focused on it. My one favorite on your list is “I work with a coach and/or mentor in all areas that matter the most to me” asking for help/guidance is absolutely vital.


    Eunice Nyandat

  • Thanks, Eunice. Yes, working with a coach or mentor can be very helpful in keeping you moving toward your goals and dreams!

  • Excellent, Paul. Sounds like you stay on track quite well!

  • The sky’s the limit! Hi Paul, I love your post, it evokes our childhood and the attitude we probably all had that there are no limits and a pink future beckons us. And I agree with you on self-imposed limitations, I have a ritual of welcoming each new day and its opportunities and saying thank you when I get up. Keeping a journal helps me with following your 10 points. Especially #9 is a big challenge for me!

  • THanks, Sally!

  • Thanks, Barbara. You’re not alone … shiny object syndrome is a problem for most every achiever I know!

  • Julia

    I agree with you on self-imposed limitations, I have a ritual of welcoming each new day and its opportunities and saying thank you when I get up. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks, Julia. That sounds like a very positive and healthy ritual!

  • Christine Brady

    Hi Paul,

    Very inspiring post!

    I must say that I am guilty of squashing my own dreams from time to time. It’s the classic case of “that won’t work” or “why would anyone want to hear from me” But ultimately, reprogramming and stopping those “can’t do” thoughts is what gets me back on track with my big dreams!

    Thanks Paul!


  • Thanks, Christine! It sounds like you do a good job of monitoring yourself with regard to maintaining your big dreams. It’s so important to do so, and it’s so easy to fall into a “can’t do” mindset. I wish you all the best as you stay on track toward achieving your goals and dreams!

  • Loved the way you have explained about dream big. Rather than setting for lower things and compromising it is always better to dream big and achieve newer heights. This post is truly an inspirational one and has struck the cord at the right time as these days I was really finding it difficult to concentrate and carry on my work to reach my goal. But this post has truly opened my eyes and I gonna set everything right and once again on the track to reach my goal. Thanks buddy for the post. 🙂

  • Princess

    Yeah, didn’t we all?! ““being realistic” and “accepting our limitations”, these really were a disappointment when we realized them as an adult. But that’s life and it depends on us if we really want our dreams to happen.

  • Cecilia

    How I wish that we can all be kids who are not afraid to dare to dream. I guess that is one of things that most adults are forgetting, after years of experience.

  • Happy you found it helpful, Victoria!

  • Born27

    I never fail to dream big everyday. I really want something big for my life and for my family.
    It’s good to read posts like this that I can get some benefits out of the content. Thanks for posting!

  • I’m a big dreamer. However, I have to admit that I do suffer from minor Shiny Object Syndrome. 🙂