Trapped in the Tactical

Image by Christopher Windus on Unsplash

Recently I wrote some thoughts stimulated by my reading of Matthew Kelly’s The Dream Manager. I wrote about the importance of reconnecting with our dreams:

Most of us are foolish with our future, saying things like, I have too… or I must…, or this won’t work, it never does. This is the language of the crowd-followers, of foolish victims. Sometimes we are disappointed, so we would rather not dream than be disappointed.
Instead, we wake up and realise that we have choices.

Essentially this is about living in hope and exercising our freedom to realise our dreams.

A member of my family reflected on how they felt trapped by the tactical moves in life, always seeming to repeat patterns. How could they live more strategically? And was this even a legitimate question? Like me, they are what Marianne Cantwell would describe as a “free-range human,” with a large discretion over how they use their time. One of the burdens of this is that we now need to consider what are our goals. We do not have a corporate employer who decides our working goals for us. We need to lead ourselves. There is a danger in the near-horizon survival routine. We work on our routine, simplifying it, optimising it. This is how we wake up to find ourselves in a rut. 

If you will, we shorten ROUTINE into RUT.

We need to dream. Daring to dream is giving ourselves permission to think the outrageously wonderful as if it were a possibility. Slaves do not need imagination. We do. We need to imagine a better future, better outcomes, for ourselves and those we care about. Suddenly, it begins to galvanise us, motivating us to achieve great things.

We need to dream. Yet dreams do not come instantly. For some of us, dreaming comes relatively easily. The world is full of possibilities for us. 

A friend of mine wanted to take a college course as an adult. She started with a night school course that lasted ten weeks. Towards the end of this course,t she found herself dreaming of going back to college and taking a full Bachelors course at University. She allowed herself to ask, “What if…?”

She went on to take a degree with the UK’s Open University, thoroughly enjoyed it and graduated. It opened up more possibilities and dreams for her. Now she is enjoying a fulfilling career as a teacher. 
Did my friend leap to that dream in one go? No. Dream bred dreams. Achievement bred ambition.  

She started small. It didn’t seem small to her. With hindsight, it was.

My recommendation is to start with more modest outcomes and work towards them. Think about a good outcome, that might be different, but better, more desirable.  Then take the first step towards that. Then, take the next one.

Don’t be surprised if you find your dream too small as you begin to realise it. You might very well find that you want to go for a bigger dream. Here’s the clue: moving towards a dream begins to multiply our dreaming. This is healthy self-leadership.

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