- Dan Mayer
Three tips to save your dreams...
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
In the spring of May 2011, a political activist, Banksy, white washed a restaurant wall in Chinatown, Boston. Why did he do this. His goal was to see who would notice for just a moment. Who would stop the monkey brain, the constant mind chatter to smell the conscious roses. Bansky’s message to Americans - wake up and see the the 3rd rock from the sun we all call Earth. Take action to follow your dreams. How many people do you think this actually changed?
The domino effect Bansky created 7-years ago in Boston can’t be measured. At the end of the day it got people talking. Talking is the the domino. We need more people talking. We need more dominos if we want to change the world. That is what Bansky was trying to do. Create a domino. If we want to create a domino effect we actually need to knock a domino down for change. Which brings me to my point. The need for stability is a crutch for most of the 162 million people in the labor force. For most of us our paycheck holds us hostage. I need my benefits, I need my 401K and my 2-weeks vacation. We are taught if we work hard enough eventually we will get to the next step of the ladder.
The next step on the ladder however takes you higher from the proverbial ground. The higher you get, the less grounded you become. We start to miss our kids baseball games, we miss our dog. We say to our significant other "I will just get something to eat after work…eat without me".
The life ladder takes us further away from our dreams each day with each step. The 9-5 for me felt like Bill Murray in the 1993 movie ground hog day. I would set my alarm clock every day to catch a train. That train took me to stability. The irony of the alarm clock. It puts an alarm on your time. It screams get up and go do something…It’s time. However most people use the alarm clock for one thing, wake them up for work. My alarm clock woke me up for work, not from unconscious living. Until the day I woke up to live a more conscious mindset. Conscious living is when you stop consuming the work of others. You go out into the world and create something. Conscious living is the fuel that powers dreams. It powers movements, inventions and anything else worth doing. The opposite of conscious living is unconscious living. This type of living is walking a path that others define. You spend most of your day reacting versus creating. You are not solving problems that you care about. The fuel for this type of living is called stability. It makes sure food is on the table, water comes out of the shower and we can buy the next gadget that temporally makes us happy or distracts us from the moment. Stability is important. It’s the safe blanket. You need to make sure you can provide for yourself and your loved ones. However, everything has a Ying/Yang effect. If Ying is stability, the Yang is the end of your dreams. Below are 3 steps you can take to ensure you don’t let stability creep on your dreams…the way a high school friend you barely know creeps on your Facebook profile.
1. Spend time in Thought
You don’t have to quit your job. Just stop thinking like a 9-5er. Pick a date you plan to start thinking backwards from the outcome of the future you are trying to create for yourself. How often do you sit in thought? How often do you take 5-minutes to think through an idea you have? I came up with the idea of beAdomino.com after I called my Aunt Ruth. Ruth is a successful business owner. She is the only entrepreneur in my family of 12 aunts and uncles. I called Ruth one day on my way home from work. I explained to her that the life ladder was starting to really impact my day to day. I told her about my need to impact others. My mission was to do a series of town hall talks in my community. The only problem is I didn’t have a community and I didn't know what I wanted to say. I didn’t have a following nor did I have a platform where I could reach people. She advised me to think backwards from the original idea. When it’s all over what would be the success criteria. She helped me think backwards from the outcome. I want to inspire action through community to reach 1-million lives. From that day forward I stopped thinking like a 9-5er. I started thinking everyday how I can impact others through a movement called beAdomino.com. Pick a date to stop thinking like a 9-5er is the first step.
2. Create something
Yes, create something. Anything. Build a piece of furniture, write a poem or start a volleyball league. We are at our best when we create something that we can point at and say “hey, look everyone I did that". It really doesn’t matter what it is. The hardest part is just getting started. How many times have you had an idea. Shared the idea, and then let others shit on the idea. It happens to me all the time. Execution to create something has always been my problem. I let the idea stir in my head for a few days. I write the idea down and then I do nothing with it. I had a mentor tell me that people are nothing more than the sum of their useful skills. How will you know what is useful if you don’t put it into the world. If you truly want to break the stability mindset you need to create something that tells the narrative of you. When you create, your mind grows and so does your experiences. Their is a catch 22 to this step. Once you create something you need to share it with people. When you do finally decide to create something, find people that will give you 1 piece of positive feedback and 1 piece of negative feedback. I enjoy creating presentations and incorporating them into public speaking. Every time I speak on a topic I ask for constructive feedback. In the summer of 2016, I gave a speech on the art of cold calling to a group of 200 people. It was entertaining, informative and had a call to action. I believed after hearing my talk people in the room were 20% more prepared to make a cold call. When I asked for feedback, I was told the content educated people, entertained and inspired the audience. The constructive feedback that I received - I used the dreaded “ahs and ums”when I transitioned into points I was trying to drive home. This feedback was a right hook to my ego. The point is you don’t know you are doing the “ahs and ums” if someone doesn’t tell you. You will never know if you are doing the “ahs and ums” if you don’t create something! If you want to get off the train of stability, you need to create something and then you need people to shit on it. Which brings me to the 3rd step.
3. Find Allies
Everybody is trying to figure out how to manage their little corner of the world. You are the star of your life movie. Everybody else is just an extra in your life. Best friends, spouses and extended family are good supporting cast members “sometimes” but if you don’t find good allies you will fail. Domino’s stand for something. If you don’t line up dominos behind your dreams you will eventually fall on your ass. Finding good mentors and people who are honest with you is the final step to break through the stability mindset. You can’t get to your end destination a lone. The three hardest phrases in the english language in my opinion is “I love you, I’m sorry and I need help”. All three are hard to say because we are afraid that someone will not love us back, forgive us or take the time to help us. When you find allies they help ground you. They support you and knock you off the life ladder when your ego needs a punch in the face. Make a list of potential allies in your life. You need to find people with shared purpose. You will have ups and downs throughout the creation process and allies will help you get through both. We all need people that believe in us. Let’s say you are in a room with a 1,000 people. In this room everyone was holding their life dream in their hands. On the count of three you had the option to throw your dream in the air to catch someone else's dream or you could hold on to your dream. What would you do? If your answer is, I would hold onto my dream…then spend time by yourself in thought, create something and find good allies. You have a choice. Stop for a moment, smell the conscious roses and don’t let your dreams get cancelled by stability.