Want to Live the Dream? Pay the Price.

Have you ever been strolling through a shopping mall or car lot when – POW! – THE perfect product captures your attention? Perhaps it’s the sporty convertible with a V-8 engine and unbelievable acceleration. Maybe it’s the adorable dress that’s exactly your style, has a flattering fit, and accentuates all of your finest features.

Whatever the case, there’s an initial moment when you’re enamored with THE product. For a split second reality is suspended as you imagine the joys of owning it. Unfortunately, two words generally bring this pleasant daydream crashing to a halt: price tag.

The Dream Is Free, but the Journey Isn’t

When you first think about a dream, you only see possibilities and potential. As my friend Collin Sewell observed, all dreams begin obstacle-free. However, at some point we have to confront the Cost Question: Am I willing to pay the price of my dream?

If you want to achieve a dream, you have to be willing to do more than just imagine the outcome. You have to be willing to pay a price to start the journey. Dreams don’t fall into our laps by accident or good fortunate. They must be attained at the cost of personal sacrifice.

The Price Must Be Paid Sooner Than You Think

Dreams can’t be bought on impulse. Buy now, pay later financing isn’t an option. If you want to own a dream, then be prepared to make a hefty down payment.

I think most people realize that there will be some cost for achieving their dream. They have a vague notion that someday they will have to pay a price. But they don’t realize how quickly the costs come. Stepping toward a dream is like launching a rocket; massive amounts of energy must be expended at the beginning. Otherwise, gravity takes hold and the journey never gets off the ground.

The Price Will Be Higher Than You Expect

All dreams have price tags attached, and the cost is always higher than we expect to pay. Not once in my conversations with successful people have I heard someone say, “Getting to the top was much easier than I anticipated.” The reverse is true. Those at the pinnacle of their professions point to the hardships and sacrifices they had to endure to reach the top.

Having done a good deal of travel, I’ve learned the taxi principle: ALWAYS find out the cost before you get in the cab. Unfortunately, dreams are far too complex for us to accurately access the costs upfront. A noble dream is worth the expense, but the full costs won’t be apparent until we’re already on the journey.


The Price Must Be Paid More Than Once

As a young leader, I mistakenly thought acquiring a dream was like buying a ticket to Six Flags: pay once and enjoy the rides. Experience has taught me otherwise. Following a dream forces you to make continual sacrifices.
Just as a rocket must shed weight to escape gravity, so to a leader has to let go of some goals to accomplish others. You have to give up to go up.

Let’s face it: dreams don’t work unless you do. Easing off the accelerator and coasting won’t get you to your desired destination. For dreams to be apprehended, leaders must have an appetite for hard labor.

It Is Possible To Pay Too Much for Your Dream

Although sacrifices go hand in hand with success, it is possible to overpay for a dream. Don’t mortgage relationships or discard your moral compass in pursuit of career goals. I’ve seen it happen all too often. I’ve watched people sacrifice marriages, neglect their kids, ignore their health, and abandon their conscience – all in the name of a “dream.”

As Jesus of Nazareth once said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” Some prices aren’t worth paying. Do not allow your dream to dictate your values. Rather, make sure your values inform and govern your dream.

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