Monday, May 14, 2012

Dare to Dream

Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending Northeastern University’s Graduation Ceremony at the Boston Garden. The arena was filled with over 4,000 energized graduating students and 20,000+ guests. The atmosphere was one of joy and anticipation. Students were both proud and relieved to have completed their undergrad studies and receive their coveted diploma. Yet their joy and excitement in reaching this important milestone was mixed with anxious anticipation of their unknown future. It was up front and immediate….it was right before their eyes. Who would they be when they grow up? What did life have in store for each of them?

In those electrified few hours of the graduation ceremony, the love and pride of family and friends was palpable... you could feel the positive energy in the air. These graduates were ready and eager to dream. It could be best described as…… a “Perfect Moment”.

I had never been to a big University graduation before (I forgot to show up at my own), and found the experience profoundly inspiring. All of the honored speakers encouraged the students to create their futures…to never stop learning; to venture into areas unknown and not be afraid. They challenged all of us to dream, to create our own vision… to aspire to greatness.

Aspiring to greatness is an essential “Secret of Life”. Our inspirations…our dreams, are as important as the air we breathe….they are vital to life. Aspirations drive us in a direction to become better than ourselves. When we aspire and fully commit to a goal or a vision, we achieve. Our aspirations are clearly our goals. And our goals are simply our dreams with measurable results connected to a timeline. A dream without a measurable action plan and definitive deadline is just a “wish”. And the difference between a dream and a wish is everything in determining quality of life.

Why bother aspiring to mere mediocrity? Why wish our way through life? Why settle for less? In order to create our futures….to move forward in life, we need to expand, grow, and extend beyond our boundaries. We need to focus our personal will to become better, to become more! We need to aspire to greatness.

Where I work, at the Hearts On Fire Brand, we called them “BHAGs” (big, hairy, audacious goals). All of us at Hearts On Fire aspire to be “Best in World” at what we do. Aspiring to be “Best” creates passion for our vision and keeps us motivated towards action. We hold ourselves and our teammates accountable to measurable goals… accountable to our BHAGs.

At Hearts On Fire, when we are in the “Zone”, it’s a beautiful thing. I often describe it like dancing in a complex and demanding ballet. With a single vision of perfect execution, the dancers (team) dance toward the crescendo… the finish….the deadline. The dance… the activity….the project, creates art and accomplishment. It generates a magical momentum of movement.

Our aspirations and our dreams in many ways determine who we are and how we encounter life. Deciding to re-set or better yet, re-create our aspirations, sets us in motion to positively influence and change the quality of our lives. So, dare to dream! Dream dreams that no one before has dared to imagine. Commit with unyielding determination to a dream bigger than what you already know or know how to do, and you will surely create a life of adventure and achievement.

   Northeastern University Commencement Ceremony at The Boston Garden, May 2012