Why You Need To Keep Your Dream Alive

Protect Your Dream
Tomorrowland

We Manic Impressives are the dreamers of the world. But a dream is a fragile thing. It needs to be nurtured and supported so that you can act on it. No matter what, you need to keep your dream alive.

Bringing A Dream To Life

Fred Smith was a dreamer. As an undergraduate student at Yale in the ‘60’s, he submitted a paper on improving mail delivery in the coming information age. But his professor wasn’t buying the dream and panned the paper. Just to get a ‘C’, said the professor, the idea had to be “feasible.”

Less than 10 years later, Fred Smith used that idea to bring his dream to life. He started a little company called Federal Express – perhaps you’ve heard of it? He revolutionized the way we send mail, when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight. In the end, Fred feasibled the crap outta that one!

Good thing Fred wasn’t a very good student and didn’t listen too well. Also good that he had the conviction to push his idea to fruition, despite the stomping by his professor. But for every Fred Smith, there are thousands of us who give up on a dream at the first sign of resistance or skepticism. And that is not good for our species.

What A Dream Needs

A dream needs careful tending. A loving embrace and lots of protection. It needs to be gently nurtured like the young living organism it is.

But too often a dream gets squelched by negativity before it can sprout and take life.

There are plenty of well-meaning professors, friends and family members that will stomp on your dream if you let them. But you yourself represent the greatest threat to your dream.

Have you ever done this? A great idea pops into your head, then you chase it right out with “oh, that will never work”, or “yeah, who am I kidding”, or “right, that will be the day!” Most of us fall victim to this so often we probably don’t realize what we’re doing to ourselves.

We need to protect our dreams, not dash them before others can. Because if your dream dies, so does a piece of you.

What Dreamers Need

The hero in the movie Tomorrowland said it best:

“Dreamers need to stick together…” 

We need to feed these thoughts before they get stomped on, by others or by ourselves. That’s why we must band together with our support groups, our communities, and our Masterminds. People we can trust to support us and our desires. People we can brainstorm with. But gently and safely without all the stomping.

Sure, not every idea can be a winner, but the process of brainstorming is only successful if we allow all ideas the light of day, the wilder the better.

You never judge too soon. You pull and pull and pull until you get all the possibilities from all different angles. Then, when you have the right people in the room (and only then!), you begin to evaluate the ideas carefully to sift out the unworkable and start with those that show the most promise.

So don’t believe everything you’re told in school. And don’t believe what your well-meaning friends say. Grow your dream, take action on it, and surround yourself with other dreamers.

The 3rd Annual Resolution Invitational

Like we’ll be doing here on December 31st at the Third Annual Resolution Invitational. Where a close, committed group of like-minded people will help you nurture your dream, and commit to a plan of action that will grow your desire and bring your dream to life in 2018.

There is still an open seat at my table, and two remote spots open those of you who can’t be here in person. Commit now, with a comment below, and we’ll help you give your dream the loving support and accountability it needs to grow to fruition.

Because we Dreamers need to stick together!

How To Not Be A Pain In The Ass

 If you read last week’s post, you may be wondering what genre of person you are. If you identify with being a Manic Impressive, you are clearly in the Jazz camp. You’re expressive, creative, spontaneous, and yes, at times, you can be a pain in the ass.

Okay, that may seem a bit harsh. But the one complaint people have about Jazz is that it’s sometimes a bit complicated and hard to follow. Jazz musicians have great freedom in how they play. But if they get too far outside the chord structure they can lose their audience.

Try listening to this to hear what playing outside the rules of convention feels like to others. See if you can make it to the sax solo at 5:22. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

These are great musicians, but most people don’t walk away from this kind of music humming the tune. The melody is too hard to find for most folks.

So to get better results, try reining it in a bit for the sake of others. Here are a few ways to be the kind of Jazz others will appreciate.

Don’t Be Hard To Follow

Not everyone likes to move in a non-linear way. Most people like to know where you’re going with things. I’m not saying you have to tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them. That used to be good advice, but it can be overbearing. A little mystery is a good thing.

But total mystery leaves people confused. And confused people don’t jump to action, make good decisions, or buy from you. They will resist you and wander away. If you need to inspire and be admired, you need to be easy to follow.

So give clear instructions, don’t wander too far from your agenda, and make it easier for folks to hum your tune.

Make Your Point And Go Home

Manics are great story-tellers and love to entertain. But you can quickly go from life of the party to pain in the ass if you require too much attention from others. So when you gather a crowd, make your point quickly.

You probably know people you avoid in social settings because they take too damn long to get to the point. They spend so much time setting up a story with laborious detail, that you lose interest before they get to the punchline.

So shorten your windup. Deliver your pitch quickly, and spend the majority of time with the part of your message people want to hear. How it will benefit them.

Don’t be a pain. Get to the good stuff fast and leave out the extraneous embellishment.

Share The Spotlight

While you’re basking in that beautiful glow of attention, save some for others. Get off the stage so others can get a shot.

No one likes a ball hog. So when you’ve gotten a taste of glory, leave them wanting more. Leave before you’re asked to, and maybe they’ll ask you back again.

I once got a standing ovation at a club for a rousing rendition of “Just A Gigolo.” I really killed it and they were loving me for it. But I fell victim to vanity and launched into another tune.

Halfway through the third chorus of “Hey Jude”, I realized my mistake. I should have quit when I was ahead. Instead, I ruined a great night by being greedy. They were done with me while I was still on stage singing. Awkward!

That memory is still a painful reminder of what can happen when you’re a pain in the ass and overstay your welcome.

Give Equal Time

I went on a date once with a woman who couldn’t stop talking. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.  At the end of the night, I just wanted to get away. Then she said something amazing to me.

“You’re such a good listener, I feel like I can tell you anything.”

Though I wanted to blurt out, “No, please don’t! You’ve told me too much already!”, I kept my mouth shut, accepted the compliment, and learned something about my own behavior.

I had never been complimented for being a good listener before.

But I had often been guilty of dominating conversations as she had.  Since then I’ve been much more aware of giving others equal time.

And no, we did not go out again.

So at your holiday parties this year, try measuring the time you speak against the time you listen. If you’re talking more than 50% of the time in a conversation, you may be a pain in the ass to listen to.

Make sure that the people around you share their thoughts and feelings as much as you share with them. Better yet, ask them questions to draw them out. Show some real interest in them.

You’ll still have plenty of time to crack your jokes and tell your stories. But you’ll be a welcome addition to the party instead of a pain if you listen attentively and laugh generously at other people’s material.

How To Not Be A Pain In The Ass

So while you’re thinking of how to be a better you, remember these key points. Be easy to follow, get to your point without endless jibber jabber, share the spotlight, and give equal time to others by listening more than you speak.

I’ve been guilty as sin on all these points, and I’ve paid the price. But I’m trying to learn from my transgressions. So don’t be a pain in the ass like me. Be better than me. Be a better you.

If you’re Jazz, be the joyous kind the world wants to hear.

 

Know Your Genre And Improve Your Results

Know Your GenresTo become a musician, I had to learn the different genres of music.  Each genre has its own specific style and rules for how it’s to be played. If you know the genre of the song you’re playing, you can perform better and improve your results with your audience.

People are like music in this sense. There are specific personality types, or genres, that have common elements to how they prefer to deal with people, time, tasks, and situations.

If you know the different genres of people, you can follow their rules and get better results working with them.To become a leader, I had to learn the different genres of people.

What’s Your Genre?

The first step to better results with people is to know your own genre. Are you Classical, Rock & Roll, Pop, or Jazz?

The Classical Genre

Classical music is precise. It’s detail oriented. The composers tell the musicians exactly what notes to play, and exactly how loud or fast to play them. Then the musicians play those notes exactly as written.

People who are Classical are much the same way. They value precision, accuracy, and doing things the right way. They are great with details and love to get into the weeds.

Like the musical genre, Classical people like things to be predictable and move forward in a logical, linear way. They want everything mapped out in advance so they know where they are and where they’re going.

Classical people don’t like surprises. They also don’t like chaos, broken rules, or coloring outside the lines. So when there’s a sudden change in plans or things are unclear, Classical people struggle. And they can fall victim to paralysis by analysis because of their need for detail and clarity.

But there’s no one better at knowing all the details and following all the rules than a Classical person.

The Rock & Roll Genre

Rock music is all about a driving beat pushing to a big finish. Its uses simple chord progressions and rhythms pushed forward by a clear and heavy downbeat. It’s direct, not so subtle, but very effective.

People who are Rock & Roll are all about the finish line. They are achievement oriented and like methodical progress toward a goal. They’re focused, assertive, and clear on what they want. For them,  it’s all about getting things done, on time and under budget.

Like the musical genre, Rock & Roll types can be strong-willed, driven, and sometimes a little too loud or domineering. They need to be in control, so they push hard in the direction they want things to go. Though they are very good at this, they can sometimes lose sight of the needs of others, and come across as bossy or mean.

But no one gets things done like a Rock N Roller.

The Pop Genre

The point of pop music is to get people to sing and dance along with the song. It wants you to like it. Not to be impressed by its complexity, or thrilled by its adrenaline. Pop music wants you to hum along and have a sweet, happy time.

People of the Pop genre are the same. They want to be liked, and they want everyone to get along. They are all about the feelings and the experience. Pop people care about relationships more than results and will go out of their way to take care of others.

But they don’t like conflict, and will usually sacrifice their needs for the feelings of others. They would rather give in than argue,  because they care more about the harmony of a group than getting their own way.

Others may perceive Pop people as weak and take advantage of their kindness and deference. But that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay to be popular.

Because everyone likes Pop people.

The Jazz Genre

Jazz is an intense and inspiring style of music. It uses complex chord structures, syncopated rhythms, and requires that musicians play the written notes, then improvise their own. It demands creativity and freedom in order to be played.

Jazz people are the improvisers of the world. They are big-picture creative types that love to inspire and influence others. Jazz people are cool, clever and hip folks who prize their freedom and seek to express themselves in innovative ways.

They can be the life of the party, the center of attention, and the source of great positive energy.

They can also be a pain in the ass.

Jazz folks tend to gloss over the details and bend the rules. And they often show up late and push things to the very last minute.  They can irritate with their impulsiveness, and make the other genres of people a bit uncomfortable.

But when the situation calls for a creative approach, Jazz people can jump in, inspire others to action, and save the day with their great improvisation skills and showmanship.

Identify Your Genre And Play To Your Strengths

Can you see yourself in these different genres? Most of us are dominant in one of them, but you may be a combination of two or more. But the first step in getting better results with people is to know your own genre. Then play to your strengths.

So if you’re Pop, don’t try to push others to get results. That’s not you. Use your caring and niceness to get them to like you and want to hum your tune.

If you’re Classical, dive into the weeds and be an expert. Know all there is to know about your topic and help others with analysis and detail. This is your gift.

If you’re Rock ‘N Roll, push hard to the finish, and be direct. It’s what you’re good at, so go hard and get things done.

If you’re Jazz, don’t stress about the planning and details.  You are the master of improv and creativity, so follow your instincts and be awesome. You will be admired for it.

Then once you’ve figured yourself out, we’ll talk about how to figure out the genres of the people around you…