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How Vision Drives Success: Wisdom from W. Clement Stone

July 21st 2011 19:43

A Blueprint for Achieving Your Dreams

Shortly before his death at age 100, Chicago financier and philanthropist W. Clement Stone was asked the question, “How have you done so much in your lifetime?” His reply offers an inspiring glimpse into the inner workings of a visionary who first saw clearly what he hoped to accomplish and then set about to accomplish it:

I have dreamed. I have turned my mind loose to imagine what I wanted to do. Then I have gone to bed and thought about my dreams. In the night, I have dreamed about them. And when I have arisen in the morning, I have seen the way to get to my dreams. While other people were saying, 'You can't do that, it isn't possible,' I was well on my way to achieving what I wanted.

Take a moment to let Stone’s words sink in. Read them again, if necessary.

This deceptively simple formula worked for Stone (who achieved phenomenal success in his lifetime), and it can also become our “blueprint for success” – if we make each step a natural part of our daily lives. (Notice, I didn’t say “our daily routines.” That’s because dreaming – and creatively making our dreams come true – transcends routine and in fact makes our lives anything but!)

Follow Stone's Formula for Success

Let’s examine Stone’s formula and see how we can apply each part to our own lives:

Dream – as in daydream. Just as Stone did, set your imagination free to explore the things you love, enjoy, and value – the things that spark your passion. You’ll recognize them right away because they will capture your imagination, creating a strange sense of excitement and anticipation each time you think about them and bringing with them a unique creative energy that can propel you forward in pursuing them. (And everyone always told you that daydreaming is a waste of time!) As you visualize the possibilities, the “what ifs,” you’ll begin to feel a strong motivation to turn those dreams into reality. Don’t ignore it! That urge can provide the power you need to get where you want to go!

Think about your dreams. Take time to ponder and reflect on the aspirations that are beginning to blossom during your daydreams. You won’t be making formal plans at this point, though you will often resolve to accomplish something specific. Even if your dreams don’t seem very practical – or even possible – think about them anyway. You’ll gradually – or maybe even suddenly – begin discovering ways to start accomplishing your goals. Think about the positive, reinforcing aspects of your dreams before you fall asleep each night. (Skip the negatives and the detailed planning, as these could just keep you awake, defeating your purpose.)

Dream – as in night dream. Pondering your daydreams before falling asleep, as Stone did, will not only give you many conscious insights but will also trigger your subconscious to begin working while you sleep. This often means you will dream about your goal. But, even if you don’t, rest assured that your subconscious will be at work. As Dr. Ellen Weber points out in Brain-Powering Your Dream, your brain will begin building new neural pathways as you sleep – pathways that will help reinforce your determination, fuel your desire, and increase your ability to reach your goals.

Plan to fulfill your dream. The subconscious insights gained during sleep will help you more clearly envision the path that will ultimately lead to your dreams. Use these insights and intuitions to create a plan to get you there. Do any research you may need to make an intelligent and workable plan. Whether your plan is highly structured or a bit more flexible and intuitive is entirely up to you. But, check back in every now and then to see whether your plan needs adjusting (as it likely will). Does it need a little more structure – or a little more freedom? Has your situation (or your market) changed since you made your plan? Have you acquired new information that would demand a slight detour on the path to your goals? Adjust your plan accordingly, using the same dream-driven creativity that went into the original plan.

Ignore the naysayers. Refuse to listen to the people who don’t believe that what you hope to accomplish is possible or who aren’t convinced that you can do it. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging, empowering people – or if need be, act as your own cheerleader. (You are perfectly capable of giving yourself a pep talk anytime you need one. Just recall your hopes, your dreams, your passion, your talent, your faith in yourself and your abilities, and your prior successes, however small. Those should be more than enough to get you back on track!) Whatever you do, stay focused on the prize rather than the obstacles that stand in your way, and you will be irresistibly drawn toward that prize – even though you may have to take a temporary detour around the obstacles first. Creative solutions powered by your dream-inspired determination and drive can help you maneuver smoothly around those obstacles.

Get moving! Just as acting without insight, vision, and focus are counterproductive and will never help us reach our goals, possessing all the vision in the world will never produce results unless we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make the dream a reality. Even a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step. Decide what that first step should be and take it. Then, move on to the next step. Before you know it, like Stone, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your dreams!

You can do it!

What are your thoughts on Stone's method for achieving his dreams? In your own experience, have you found any of the above steps particularly easy -- or hard -- to implement? Are any unnecessary? Would you add any?

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6 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Lillie Ammann

July 22nd 2011 03:40
Excellent advice, Jeanne.

Comment by Jeanne Dininni

July 22nd 2011 04:03
Thanks, Lillie!

Comment by Linda Ruberto

July 22nd 2011 15:19
Thanks for writing this Jeanne! Dreams are fundamental to success. Literally, if you can't dream it, it won't manifest.
They say you should be able to tell your main dream to anyone in one sentence. Mine is: To become famous as a phenomenal eyebrow designer who makes an ordinary woman look and feel like a celebrity.
Some dreamers dream too big it seems, dreams that are too far beyond the reality of their lives, with no action steps behind them. This can lead to frustration.
What's your dream Jeanne?

Comment by Jeanne Dininni

July 22nd 2011 16:25
Hi, Linda!

Good point! I'd have to say my main dream is to be a thought leader, or Linchpin (thanks for the link, by the way!) -- to be the go-to person when publishers or clients want top-notch writing -- and to do it in increasingly bigger and better-paying markets.

I think you're right that often people dream bigger than what they may be able to handle (at least at the moment) -- though I would never want to discourage anyone from dreaming big. The key is to follow through. When people are dreaming bigger than the reality of their lives, it's probably a good idea (without totally abandoning the original, bigger dream) to have a few interim dreams -- a few milestones along the way -- that can become the catalysts for bigger and better things. Perhaps that way, they'll ultimately find that they can achieve their "too-big" dream -- or at least come closer to it.

Of course, success always requires action. Without action, even smaller dreams will never move beyond the dreaming stage. That's why I'm planning a few articles for the better-paying markets right now!

Thanks for sharing your insights!

Comment by Maria Far

July 29th 2011 22:30
Great article! Thanks for this useful information.
Best regards!

Comment by Jeanne Dininni

July 29th 2011 23:12
Thanks, Maria!

Glad you like the post. Did any step of the process especially stand out to you? Any step you're particularly good at or need to work on? Would love it if you'd share your thoughts!

Personally, I'd have to say my two weakest areas are planning and getting myself moving -- though I'm getting better at both!

Thanks for stopping by!

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