Teddy Roosevelt was a Weakling!

Roosevelt pursued him dreams with passion

It’s true.  Growing up, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the 26th President of the United States, known for his gregarious personality, adventure-loving and thrill-seeking lifestyle, leader of the Rough Riders, and one of the faces on Mount Rushmore, was actually a sickly, frail child.  He was so asthmatic that he had to sleep propped up in bed.  He had frequent illnesses.   He was almost literally a 98-pound weakling physically!

I don’t tell you this to try to take down another public figure.  If that was the whole story it would certainly be a negative, and malicious attempt to destroy someone regarded as one of, if not the, greatest Presidents of the United States.  Obviously, however, he didn’t stay that way.

As Theodore (he actually hated being called Teddy) entered his teens he desired to become something more.  Encouraged by his father, he began boxing lessons, working out, and reading a steady stream of books to improve himself.  He quickly improved both physically and mentally and led a life of great experiences and adventures, including becoming at 42 years of age the youngest person ever elected President.

Even after that, he never stopped learning and growing.  He read thousands of books over his lifetime (which meant several books a DAY) and legend has it that after he died in his sleep and they removed him from the bed they found a self-improvement book he had been reading.

You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.  –C.S. Lewis

Putting All You Got Into a Dream

There is a point here.  Roosevelt had visions, he had dreams of what he wanted to be, and he pursued them with passion and enthusiasm.  He had his detractors and enemies, including very famously Mark Twain, but never let it stop him or even slow him down.  He continued to dream new dreams and set new goals, even up until he died.  Despite his robust life, he battled Rheumatoid Arthritis most of his adult life and lived with a bullet in his chest for many years.  Still, he kept on learning and growing and dreaming, preparing himself as well as he could for the next adventure and the next episode of his life.

Theodore Roosevelt knew you had to GROW INTO YOUR DREAMS!

They don’t just happen.  You achieve your dreams only when you fill your pursuit of them with passion and enthusiasm, prepare yourself for when your dreams arrive, expect to achieve them, and pounce on the opportunity when it arrives.  As Zig Ziglar says

You were born to win!  But to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win!

Action Plan

  1. If you haven’t written your dreams down, now is the time to do so.
  2. Have it written down?  Now, think about how life will be when you achieve it.  You need to create a very specific vision of achieving your dream in order to commit it to your mind and develop a passion and enthusiasm for achieving it.
  3. Now think about how you need to prepare for it.  Consider yourself a poor marketer and know you will need to effectively market yourself to achieve your dream?  Read marketing books and attend workshops on marketing.  Need to develop your leadership skills?  Find a leadership coach, attend workshops and seminars, join a leadership mastermind, identify your leadership strengths.  Just need to grow yourself overall?  Find a growth coach, read self-improvement books, join mastermind groups of other like-minded people to help each other grow.  Preparation is key!


A Dream in Your Head is Called a Fantasy

One of the things I have noticed in my talks with people about their dreams is how many have to search their minds for exactly what their dream is.  In fact, that’s the only place they have their dream documented.  “I have it all up here!” they proudly proclaim, yet seem to have trouble finding it in that filing system.

It doesn’t work!  You need to get your dream out of your head and down on paper!  When you write down your dream, you have made it more than just a dream.  You have made it a goal.  You have given it substance.  As Napoleon Hill said in Think and Grow Rich

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

When you document it, you commit to it probably truly for the first time.  Things written down tend to have more meaning and permanency to them, like an ancient king making a declaration and then saying, “so let it be written, so let it be done!

If we put it down on paper, we put it not only in our minds but in our hearts as well.

visualize your dreamNow when I say paper I simply mean documented somewhere.  You can do it in Word on your computer.  There are lots of apps out there for tablets and smartphones.  I use Evernote because I can synch it between my tablet, my smartphone, and my laptop and access the same information everywhere.

However, you do it, DO IT!

When it is documented it takes on legs.  And wings!  It spurs you on to action so much more than if you simply keep it “all up here!”  It creates a visualization that helps you really paint a vivid picture of what you dreamed about.  It becomes detailed and real and tangible.  You begin to see it, feel it, touch it, taste it!  It moves from the realm of “one day, it would be nice” to “gotta have it NOW!” and you begin to build your case and your plan.

How to Record Your Dream

Here’s a few great ways to get your dreams down “on paper”.  Remember that detail is important here.  The more you write down the dream with all the trimmings — the who, what, when, where, why — the more real it becomes and the more likely you are to take action.

  1. The simple one is…get a sheet of paper and write it down.  Or buy a composition notebook.  Or if you want a lot more guidance along this lines, buy a goals planner.  Zig Ziglar publishes a great one but it can be pricey.  Here is a shorter version you can download as a PDF. I used this and it was sufficient for the time being.
  2. Use an online application or use Evernote to write down your dreams in detail.
  3. Create a “vision board” using pictures to represent your dream or dreams.  Vision boards are great because it completes that step of visualization, making your dream real and tangible, that we talked about earlier.  If you want to have an online version of this, consider using Pinterest.  You can create a page with your vision board and make it private.  It’s about the only real good usage I have found out of Pinterest at all.

Action Plan

  1. Set aside time tonight to think about your dreams.  Brainstorm for 15 minutes and write down every dream that comes into your head.  Don’t evaluate them, write them down.
  2. After the 15 minutes is up, look at what you wrote.  Pick out the top three to five to start working on right away.
  3. Write them down in detail using whatever method you have chosen.  But write them down, don’t keep them in your head.




Punching the Clown

the clown keeps bouncing backOne Christmas when I was very young I got a fun little toy; at least fun for a young boy.  It was an inflatable clown with a rounded, weighted base.  Once you blew him up he stood tall.  He had the nice red nose sticking out and you could aim for it and basically box the clown.  Punch him and he is bouncing back and you can punch him again.  Of course, you always won.  Or did you?

The amazing thing about that clown was that no matter how many times or how hard I hit him, he kept bouncing back up immediately.  Punch him right on the nose, and he rolls right back up so I can hit him again.  Kick him with a nice 7 year old karate kick and he bounced back.  Nothing short of deflating him totally would keep him down.  Even then, you would simply fill him back up and he was ready to go again.  Got a leak?  No problem, patch him up, blow him up, and he is ready to go.  He just didn’t know that he should stay down.  He just kept bouncing back.

Bouncing Back from Problems

It is inevitable.  Problems will come along.  Things rarely go as planned.  You think you are in line for a promotion, you get laid off.  You think you are making progress financially and the house needs a major repair.

In the last five years, we have dealt with issues like everyone else.  Layoffs, a child with Borderline Personality Disorder who has run away from home repeatedly, lots of medical issues which ran up expenses, a very down year for my business, and more recently the federal government shutdown which put my wife on furlough meaning no income.

We could sit and cry about our problems.  No one would really blame us.  But it doesn’t solve anything.  I like to be solution oriented.  This is where a positive attitude comes in.  I don’t believe in defeat, just delay.  I am not down unless I think I am.  I will keep bouncing back as long as I can.  The positive attitude allows us to think clearly about solutions instead of dwelling on problems.  A positive attitude keeps us outwardly focused instead of inwardly focused, avoiding having a pity party.  You have to have faith in your ability to keep bouncing back and finding solutions to your problems.  Norman Vincent Peale mentions that achieving your potential requires that faith when he said,

“Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will.”

keep bouncing backSo a positive attitude actually helps us to keep bouncing back from our problems.  In fact, there is research to support that.  In an article in Entrepreneur Magazine, they cite research done at the University of North Carolina that determined that positive emotions “expand awareness and attention” which makes you more open to possible solutions than negative thinking will.

Open up your mind to possibilities.  Believe they are there and like the inflatable clown, keep bouncing back up!

Action Plan

  1. Focus your mind on positive, affirming thoughts.  Encourage yourself that you can keep bouncing back, that you WILL find solutions, that nothing will keep you down.  Don’t move on to the next step until you have reached a positive outlook.
  2. Now think of one main thing that  is threatening to bring you down? Focus on that.  Spend 15 minutes of uninterrupted time brainstorming possible solutions.  If this issue involves your spouse or significant other, include them.  The rules are:
    1. No more than 15 minutes – anything that will come will flow within that time span
    2. No interruptions – no phone, no texting, nothing
    3. No discussion or commentary – whatever ideas come out go down on paper no matter how impossible or silly or stupid they sound.  Write them down.
  3. Now that you have a list of possible s0lutions, discuss them.  Pare down to top 5 possibles.
  4. Take the top 5 and determine two more likely options.
  5. Determine which one to try first.
  6. Invoke that solution today.

Change of Mindset

Driving to a meeting this morning I was listening, as I usually do, to “Automobile University”.  If you haven’t done this, it’s a practice I highly recommend.  Instead of listening to local radio and hearing the same song five times in an hour or tuning in (bleah!) talk radio or the news, try instead taking advantage of that really nice CD player you have and pop in motivational stories or information.  I will alternately listen to audio with John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, and the CD that comes in every issue of Success Magazine.  This is especially great for those who don’t have the time to read constantly (that pretty much covers all of us).  Positive, inspirational, motivational, and informative.  Great way to start off!

Flight Path Change

plane-taking-off Anyway, I was listening to Zig Ziglar tell an old familiar story, which I’ll retell from my perspective.

I boarded a plane at Orlando International Airport that was bound for Seattle, Washington with no stops.  The plane took off and after being in the air for about a half hour, it was no longer heading directly for Seattle.  The earth rotates, winds blow, all kinds of physical forces work against the plane heading straight for Seattle.  Don’t know where we are going, but it ain’t Seattle.  

So the pilot, wise man that he is, turns the plane around and heads back to Orlando, lands and starts all over again.


Of course he doesn’t!  He and the co-pilot simply make navigational adjustments to re-direct the plane back towards Seattle in mid-flight.  It would be silly and waste of time to head back and start all over again.

That’s the story of you and me.  When we attempt to get somewhere in life and accomplish something a monkey wrench gets thrown into the works.  It is inevitable that things will not go according to plan.  Too many times, the way that a person will try to solve that problem is by tossing the whole plan out the window and making a new; starting all over again.  It tends to be either/or; a change in the plan doesn’t enter our mind.

Change Your Plan

change the path to get to your destinationStop!  Think!

It’s not necessarily the whole plan, just parts of it.  Sometimes even it’s not the plan at all, just outside forces that interfere and cause a problem.  Instead of throwing out the whole plan, just make adjustments.  Don’t change where you want to go, simply change the path you will follow to get there.  Keep yourself directed, don’t lose sight of where you want to be!  The rocky path in front of us can distract us, but you need tunnel vision so you don’t accept anything other than the goal you wish to accomplish.

Action Plan

  1. Take a look at your goals and think about one that recently had a setback.  Did you toss out the plan?  Have you made a new one or abandoned the goal altogether?
  2. Re-focus.  Do you still want that goal?  What can you do differently to get there?  Is there something you can try that no one has tried before?  This is especially good when conventional methods aren’t working.
  3. Take the first step NOW!  When we take an immediate action, no matter how small, we increase the likelihood of success.
Every one of us has a dream.   Believe it or not, this is mine.  Early on, I distinguished myself as a speaker and trainer.  I also developed a passion for how people who become leaders, how groups work together, and how people grow.  Combining those two into what I do now creates that perfect avenue for me.  Am I totally there?  No, but I am moving forward in that direction.
What about you?  What’s your dream?  What’s that thing you have always wanted to be or always wanted to do? What’s the thing that keeps you up at night with a vision of how things will be when you get there?  Even more to the point, what are doing to get there?  Do you have a plan in place?  bigstock-Businessman-showing-the-way-to-33703298
If you are like most people you are saying “Oh, yeah, I got it all right up here up in my head!”  Unfortunately, that almost never works.  You need to get it down on paper.  A plan on paper has a higher level of commitment to it that just keeping it in your mind doesn’t have.  In addition, putting your plan down in print (or web) gives you the opportunity to sort it out and arrange it.  Your plan has more than just an idea, it has structure and a timeline and deadlines.  Without that plan you are going to have a very hard time getting to where you want to go.  Yeah, you are special and maybe you are that one in a million that will actually do it; but do you want to risk your dream on the extremely remote chance that you might become successful without a written plan?
The funny, almost ironic thing about it is that you will likely not reach that goal following that plan precisely.  Things get in the way that make plans change.  Dwight D. Eisenhower once said “plans are useless, but planning is essential!”  So the plan changes, but your decision to get there never does.  So your plan is going to change, it’s going to evolve.  But it’s a start.  So, you have to get that plan down on paper (or on the computer).
So how do you get there?  How do you get that plan down on paper and get yourself that good start?  Start by thinking backwards.  Look forward to about 2-5 years from now.  Where do you want to be, what do you want be, what do you want to be doing?  Now backtrack from that.  Where should you be four years from now to be on track.  Three years from now?  Two years from now?  Within the next year?  Backtrack all the way.  And when you get down to a granular level, then you are looking at what you have to do on a weekly and daily basis to reach your goal.  John Maxwell says that your real success will be found in your daily activities.  Plan your daily activities to be working towards your goals and accept nothing less.  And that’s how you plan out your success.