A father and his 8 yr old son were in the yard throwing a football around.
“I’m gonna be in the NFL one day!” said the boy.
“You can’t even catch the ball, son,” said the dad.
“I’m gonna learn, and then I’ll play NFL,” the boy shot back.
“Son, NFL players start learning when they are 4 or 5, and they practice hours a day,” said his dad. “It’s too late.”
After a few minutes, the little boy put the football down and found something else to do.
More than a year has passed since I witnessed this conversation, but recently I read a page in a leadership book (I’ll share the book in just a bit) that made me think of this boy and his dad again. See, this man is a leader, whether he knows it or not. His son is looking to him for guidance and for help in achieving his dreams—but for how long?
After experiencing conversations like the one witnessed, if this happens often, how long will the boy continue to take his goals and dreams to his dad. How long before he starts keeping it to himself, finds someone different to confide in, or, worse, stops dreaming of what he can achieve?
Now, before we come down too hard on the dad, let’s think about how many times we’ve experienced something similar. I’m sure almost everyone can think of a time that we were passionate about reaching a lofty goal, shared it, only to have someone tell you all the reasons why the goal or dream is silly, unworthy, or not achievable.
If we honestly reflect, we can probably think of a few times we, ourselves, have been the discourager to someone else. Maybe not intentionally, but we’ve done it. Let’s call this Dream Busting. People rarely continue to share dreams and goals with Dream Busters because can really drain passion and motivation of a person.
The best leaders uplift and empower others, and, if you think about it, we are all leaders. Everyone has someone looking to up them, whether they know it or not, as an example, for guidance, advice, or for inspiration. It could be a son, daughter, niece, nephew, brother, sister, friend, neighbor, employee or coworker. Our words and actions affect them, and to them we are either Dream Boosters or Dream Busters.
In his book “The Maxwell Daily Reader” and in “25 Ways to Win with People,” John C Maxwell says one of the greatest gift we can give is helping people turn their dreams into reality. It doesn’t take a grand gesture, Maxwell provides simple 6 steps to encourage and help others with their dreams:
- Ask the person to share with you. Everyone has a dream but few people are asked about it.
- Affirm the dream as well as the person. Let the person know that you not only value his or her dream, but that you recognize the traits in that individual that can help him or her achieve it.
- Ask about the challenges they must overcome to reach their dream. Few people ask others about their dreams; even fewer try to find out what kinds of hurdles the person is up against to pursue them.
- Offer your assistance. No one achieves a worthwhile dream alone. You’ll be amazed by how people light up when you offer to help them achieve their dream.
- Revisit the dream with them on a consistent basis. If you really want to help others with their dreams, don’t make it a one- time activity you mark off your list. Check in with them to see how they’re doing and lend assistance.
- Determine be a Dream Booster, not a Dream Buster. Everyone has a dream, and everyone needs encouragement. Set your mental radar to pick up on other’s dreams and help them along.
Excerpt & Steps from: Maxwell, John C., The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 days of insight to develop the leader within you and influence those around you, June 26, p. 164.
If you are determined to work on becoming a better leader, or determined to build better relationships with the people that matter in your life the Daily Reader is an excellent book to pick up. It gives a skill or idea to focus on each day that will help in these areas of life.
If you aren’t interested in the book, at least determine to be a Dream Booster. Try these steps out, and let me know what you think. I have determined to try them and so far it’s helping my relationships.