I’m going to begin to write about my journey in regard to John Maxwell’s book Put Your Dream to the Test. My hope (and I often say, “Hope is not a strategy”) is that my process will be a help to you in your process to develop and fulfill your dream.

In Put Your Dream to the Test, Dr. John C. Maxwell asks a series of questions, but I want to begin with the first one:

Question One (The Ownership Question): Is My Dream Really My Dream?

My dream: I want to become everything that God planned for me to be and become.

Fear #1: Not becoming and achieving everything that God intended for me. In other words, I fear that I started too late. I fear that I have a Dream in which time has gone by and what I achieve will only be a fraction of what “it could have been.” Nevertheless, if you were to have this same statement, I would tell you, and thus tell myself, “You are exactly where you should be at this time and in this place.” You see, I know that is true because if it weren’t for all of the steps that I’ve taken to get to this point, I wouldn’t be at this point.

Fear #2: I think I am afraid of what this really means for me. I’d like to share that I am a person of faith. That means I believe in God and that Jesus is my personal Savior. This does not mean that I do not sin—and don’t worry, this is not going to be my written confession. However, as a person of faith, I need to trust that God is more in control of my life than I am. I suspect that most, if not all, will agree with me. Understanding that God is in control is a simple notion, but it is not an easy one to completely grasp.

I realize my dream is a bit generic, so I will now get more specific. I believe that I was created to help people be and become all they were meant to become. Still too generic. Basically, I see myself as a coach. This is like being a mentor or a teacher, except it is not teaching a specific subject, especially as I am not all-knowing. Therefore, the best way that I can describe it is that I am a “Thinking Partner.” I help people think through the steps that are necessary to achieve their goals. Here’s an example. When I was a kid watching ants and I put a stick in the way, the ants went over or around the item that was in the way. That’s what I help people discover—where they may find obstacles and the options to tackle them. My interest is in results and people. I am a task-oriented person who loves to enjoy people along the way. I’ve had to learn that more people want to enjoy themselves along the way and then achieve the results. OK, I realize that way may be slower, but in the long term, more effective—kind of like the tortoise and the hare. Remember, slow and steady is always the best.

Maybe the best way to help others understand my meaning of being a “Thinking Parner” is to give you some examples from my adult life. I have read leadership, self-help and improvement books and articles since I was a kid. I expected that I would learn and apply, and that what I learned would benefit my career. I do think it helped, but not nearly as much as when I had or took greater opportunity to put it into practice. My best examples were when I became a project chemist in my corporate job. This meant I had some responsibility for a small team. The positional authority assisted my development in working with people for when I became a lay pastor. The increased focus on speaking and people awareness skills helped me to be a better chief chemist. This eventually led to joining the John Maxwell Team, where I have contact with John Maxwell, Paul Martinelli, Roddy Galbraith, Chris Robinson, John Griffin, Dan Caldwell, Deb Ingino, Karen Bates—all growth-oriented individuals.

I learned not to listen to someone who doesn’t have the power to say “yes.” I was once asked to perform a wedding for some friends; however, I no longer had the granted authorization. I requested special permission and was declined. So, I found someone else to grant the authority and performed the marriage. It was—so far—the best and most fun wedding that I have ever performed! The wedding itself was fun, but the premarital counseling was extra special.

Additionally, I’ve led four to six mastermind sessions a year to help people grow their skills. One person has given me so much credit, and I thought for sure he was in line for a promotion. Though he didn’t get it, his mastermind experience has led him to continue his search for more opportunities that will allow him to grow.

That leads me back to one of my fears … leaving security. I have a good-paying job, good retirement incentives, health care. The problem is, the job does not satisfy the soul, and leaving it scares me that it won’t satisfy my pocket, at least not quickly enough.

Thus, the journey we are on together. Before we can live into our dreams, we must remove the things, especially the fears, that are standing between ourselves and that which we desire. Kris is reading a devotional by Adam Hamilton, and she shared that he writes, “God is far more interested in changing your mind than changing your circumstances.” We must renew our mind and the way we think before we can begin to change our path to our dream.

A Thinking Partner is a great way to unlock dreams and overcome our own thinking limits. The first hour is always free so you can see if it’s what you really want. And don’t let the cost be prohibitive. There are many ways to gain the knowledge and accountability you desire.

A mastermind group is another terrific way to unlock your potential. Napoleon Hill introduced the concept of the mastermind group in his timeless classic Think And Grow Rich. The mastermind principle is “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and support to sharpen your leadership skills, which helps group members achieve success. Most mastermind groups meet weekly for six weeks and focus on a specific book. Put Your Dream to the Test is one that Leadership Harbor offers.

As always, if you have any leadership questions, please contact us at grow@leadershipharbor.com

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