Reflection 2: Dreams are Goals with Wings

August 28, 1963. Lincoln Memorial. Over 250,000 people have come to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. With everyone carefully listening, hanging on to every word, Dr. King comes to the forever memorable line, “I have a strategic plan.”

As we know, this is not what was said by MLK Jr. in Washington D.C.; instead we will always hear his words of, “I have a dream.” However, wouldn’t it have been the same thing? For King did have a strategic plan for his movement; knowing what he wanted to accomplish and the steps he would take to get where he intended to be. Would it have been the same?

In my opinion, absolutely not. Maybe it is because I have only seen videos of the speech and read about how great it was to be present. Maybe we truly would still be saying “Martin had a strategic plan” with as much emphasis and passion that we do when we say “Martin had a dream”; but I doubt it. Why though?

Robert Kriegel and Louis Patler talk about what exactly a dream is. They state that, “Dreams are goals with wings.” This makes so much sense when applying it to why MLK Jr. repeatedly said “I have a dream,” right? King did have a strategic plan, but he knew it would not be applicable to all listening; but everyone can dream. By using this small word, it allowed anyone who ever listens to his speech to make themselves apart of this dream. It is whatever they want it to be.

Dreams are important, these few chapters of “If it ain’t broke… Break It!” have reminded me that. Too often we get bogged down by goals, by instant gratification, instant recognition or instant profit. Goals give us a vision, but goals make you forget about the pursuit of a new vision. Visions that are changed with every experience in life. Goals have their place in life. Kriegel says, “Second place, following dreams, they all serve a purpose.” But what is the purpose? Maybe the purpose, if we let it be, is to let them guide what inspires you. Set goals, but let them have wings. Allow the combination to give yourself hope; a chance to dream.

As I read back through that paragraph I can’t help but tell myself, “well it’s just not that easy, Colin.” But, maybe it can be. Robert Kriegel says in one of his chapters, “Try easy” and I keep thinking about how simple that sounds, but how difficult it is. It seems like in today’s society, dreams are constantly being crushed by those around us. “Maybe when you have the qualifications in a few years.” “Give it time, be patient.” “We like your idea, but it just isn’t possible.” I am sure we have all heard these lines before and maybe they are not wrong; but that doesn’t mean you should cut your wings and forget about why you are chasing the dream.

Bird was too slow for the NBA. Bolt was too tall in the blocks for the 100 meter. Costner could only play a limited role. For every excuse you hear as to why your dream will not become reality, you can find someone who was told the same thing and did succeed. So why not you as well?

We don’t have any idea what someone else’s limitations are, so why should we do anything but support their dreams. There is no such thing as a finished product, so keep the wings strong and keep dreaming.

-Colin Lane Croat

“If it ain’t broke…break it!” Reflection 1

Does life always go as planned? Does being a leader look the same in every situation? Can we truly ever be prepared for what is to come? If you are thinking “absolutely not, why even ask”; well we are on the same page. Robert Kriegel and Louis Patler start out their book with a the idea of expecting the unexpected. This is a fairly generic saying that you hear time and time again growing up and even as you venture into the professional word, but what does “expecting the unexpected” actually mean. Should we spend our days thinking of every possible path that this crazy thing called life could take us down; probably not. Kriegel and Patler offer up 7 rules that they call “Surfer’s Rules” that wont have you thinking about every little detail, but will set you up to respond to any unexpected turn.

  1. Passion Rules
  2. No dare/no flair
  3. Expect to wipe out
  4. Never turn your head on the ocean
  5. Keep looking “outside”
  6. Move before it moves you
  7. Never surf alone

Each one of these “Surfer’s Rules” are accompanied by a few paragraphs as to how they relate to being a leader and have key takeaways. I could easily dive into the takeaways listed in the book, but I would prefer to talk about my experiences with this reading in my professional and personal life.

Throughout my Master’s Programs, I am constantly battling to find the small moments that are applicable to daily life, rather than just raw material that must be digested and regurgitated. In the first three chapters of this book, I found so many bits of information that I could apply to daily life and work conversations. In my current role, I am a graduate student who supervises undergraduate students and is supervised by those with their graduate degrees and even doctorate degrees. This position gives me the opportunity to try conversations out with individuals in different stages of their professional careers. As I approached conversations throughout the week I was reading these chapters, I continuously looked for an opportunity to bring into discussion these 7 rules, thinking I would be the one to turn someones life around. While I did get to speak about these rules on many occasions, I don’t think I really ever changed someones thinking per-say, but they sure changed mine. Each time I started rambling on and on about these “Surfer Rules”, I was met by different acceptance, different feedback, and different stories from both the students I supervise, and my supervisors as well.

This was an important first step to this master course to me because I am actually learning things that I can apply to my life and see what difference it makes.

Let passion rule, expect to wipe out every now and then, move before something moves you and maybe most importantly, Ride the wave of change

-Colin Lane Croat