Leaders dream, and they often dream big. What are your dreams? What do you honestly dream of having, doing, becoming? These are important questions and, ironically, they are as critical to the person seeking more focus as they are to the person seeking to explore new horizons.
But notice there are really three basic questions here.
- What do you dream of having?
- What do you dream of doing?
- What do you dream of becoming?
Stop at or give slight attention to question #1, and you may become a person who accumulates great wealth, recognition and a lot of great stuff, but who leaves an empty legacy.
Stop at or give slight attention to question #2, and you may accomplish much that means very little to anyone. After all, leadership begins with authentic self-expression that adds value through relationships.
Careful consideration and frequent journaling of your answers to question #3 is critical for the effective leader. The following story by an anonymous author (but heavily promoted by the folks behind Spiritual Short Stories) reminds us that “by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.” Regardless of the cup that contains your dreams, your “becoming goals” are like the finest, rich, and full-bodied coffee, regardless of the cup from which you drink it.
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit one of their old university professors. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal – some plain looking, others expensive and exquisite. He told them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, ‘If you noticed, all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourself, it is the source of your problems and stress.’
He continued, ‘Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, it is more expensive than the coffee itself and in other cases, hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you subconsciously went for the best cups … and then you began eyeing each other’s cups.’
He finished by saying, ‘Consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything … they just make the best of everything.’
Live Simply. Speak Kindly. Care Deeply. Love Generously.