What do you do when your dream is bigger than you?
Last week I talked to you about rewriting your story into one of significance. You may have been thinking more about how you can make a difference in the lives of others. Today I want to encourage you to think big:
How can you partner with like-valued people to make a bigger difference than you could on your own?
Many years ago, when I was a pastor in Lancaster, Ohio, I caught a vision for our church to reach out to our community and make a difference. I realized very quickly that this was not something I could achieve on my own. I needed to partner with others to make it happen.
My dream for our church to be a positive influence in that small Ohio town included building a large auditorium to house our growing congregation. Plus, we wanted to start social programs to help people in need. And I had a great desire to host leadership conferences to help others lead more successfully.
I began to share my dream with anyone and everyone, and I watched to see how they responded. I immediately began asking others to join my team. You could say I became an “Uncle Sam” of significance. Everywhere I went, I pointed to everyone I saw and said, “I Want You.”
Whenever I spoke, I talked about my dream. If someone stopped me on the street or at the mall, he or she heard about my dream. If somebody passed me in a hallway, he or she heard my dream. I was looking for people with a heart to make a difference and who could make things happen. And as I spread the word about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to include others, many people joined me. I was passionate, and passion is contagious. Many people eagerly climbed aboard “The Maxwell Train.”
At first, I thought that was success. It took me a couple of years to figure out that many of the people who were joining me in the early days just wanted to come along for the ride. They liked my enthusiasm and energy, and they wanted to be close to me, but they didn’t necessarily share the same passion I had for significance, for making a difference with others. They just wanted to hang out. They lacked the passion to make a difference, which meant they didn’t have the same goal or purpose I did.
At first I thought the problem was that they were on the wrong train. Instead of asking, “What can we do for others?” these people were asking, “What can you do for me?” But then it dawned on me—they weren’t on the wrong train. I had simply recruited the wrong people to get on board my train—the significance train. I should have checked their tickets. I should have shared more clearly the purpose of the journey I was taking before I said, “All aboard!”
This required another shift in my thinking. I had to stop the proverbial train and allow everyone who wasn’t holding a significance ticket to get off. Then, I had to proactively go out and attract the right people and begin the journey again.
So, who were the right people?
They were people who were already making a difference in the lives of others, not just people who wanted to hang out with those who were.
How was I going to connect with these people?
I realized I needed to create a clearer picture of what I was trying to accomplish. I needed to communicate clearly about my cause. Then I could see how they would respond.
How big is your dream? Do you have a dream that’s bigger than you? If not, why not? Why not dream one size bigger? You can achieve significant things—if you invite others to help you.
How have you done at finding people to partner with you in achieving your dream? I believe your first step is to approach people who are already making a difference in their own way. Then you need to communicate clearly about your big dream. Paint a picture of the significance story you’d like to write together. And invite them to join you. Together, you can achieve great things and make a great change in your world.
What is your dream? If you’re still searching for what you can do to write a bigger story of significance, I hope you’ll join me on The 30 Day Journey. For the launch of my new book Intentional Living, we wanted to create a way for people like you to not only learn about living intentionally, but to experience it, every day for one month. I believe that kind of day-to-day practice can lead to a habit that will launch you on an intentional living journey that can last a lifetime.
The 30 Day Journey consists of short daily video teachings from me, each one with a practical exercise that is easy and fun to complete. The program also includes a copy of Intentional Living and access to a vibrant community of like-minded individuals who are as committed to growth and significance as you are.
What is your big audacious dream? Who do you need to “invite onto the train” to make it happen? If you’ve already discovered your “bigger than you” dream, share it with us in today’s comments. If you’re still not sure, I encourage you to keep searching. The 30 Day Journey can help you find it.
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