Dreams and Action
There’s a tendency in modern-day business to separate dreams from actions, but too many people get stuck because they are hung up on either one or the other.
Dreams without action remain exactly that—pleasant daydreams—the sort that provide you with no connection, no reason to take action to achieve them.
Actions without a dream to inspire them keep people locked in a never-ending cycle of “busy-ness”—but it doesn’t advance anyone towards a goal.
Action without a strong dream to inspire it can be found wherever people get stuck in the same business model, never growing. They do “safe”. They do “reactive”. And they are often liable to change business models—usually right before they see success.
How do you use one to fuel the other—actions and dreams? There’s a clear answer: You have to treat your life the way a good screenwriter treats a blockbuster script. Scriptwriters know that every single scene in the script has to move the story along. And these scenes can’t wander off in tangents—they have to advance the protagonists straight towards the story goal.
What do we mean by “moving the story along”? We mean every scene needs to include a change to advance the story towards its conclusion. Two people talk in a room … but they don’t just make small talk for two hours (unless, of course, they’re in a Russian existentialist play). In a true blockbuster, something happens in every scene. A car crashes through a wall. A telephone call interrupts a reunion. One of the two people talking rejects the other, breaks off their relationship and runs from the room.
There is change in every scene … but each change has to move the story towards its inevitable conclusion.
Here’s another storytelling rule that we can apply to business—if you want to make yourself care about your business success enough to take consistent, focused action, raise the stakes. Think of it like a movie that opens with a raging storm at sea. The camera keeps pace with a terrified child tossed around in a row-boat. Her mother is in the water, desperately clinging to the boat’s gunwales. She loses her grip on the edge of the boat and is swept away from boat and child. The child screams for her mother.
That particular story has only existed before our eyes for a second or two, but the stakes are life or death. We care. Does the mother survive? Will the child be swept away? We want to know what happens next.
So if you’re going nowhere with your business, raise the stakes. Find and identify a dream—an outcome; a goal—you want badly enough and figure out what you need to do to make it happen.
You need a dream big enough to finally kick you into taking focused action.