How do you know when dreams are just a dream?

I received the following message yesterday from an old friend and thought it would be great to share this conversation with you, as well.

So I’ve read your posts, looked at your website, and watched your sample videos. If you had to pick a starting point for someone who has a dream, but has spent most of their life being “against” themselves, what would you tell them? How do you know if it really IS just a dream?

L – thanks for the message – great to hear from you.  You inspired today’s post.

I use the term Dream -AND it hit me after seeing your message that I don’t like how unattainable it sounds… will it just be a figment of my imagination?


So – I’m changing my phrasing to: Dream big! and then set it up as a “Burled Arch Destiny”!


For those that have read my ‘Iditarod Leadership’ book or followed the Iditarod – you know the term ‘Burled Arch’ – as it is the finish line and the term ‘Destiny’ that comes from the same word as Destination.  Destiny is not ‘Fate’ (whatever happens to me – that’s my Destiny) – no – Destiny is a decided beforehand Destination that I am determined to reach!

With ‘Burled Arch Destiny” – all we need is the map, the skill and the will to get there!

Maps are creatable – Skill is grow-able…. only one question left – do you have the WILL?

So what I would tell people is this: “Dream Big!  AND then learn the steps that it is going to take to get you there.”

  Where are you now along this trail?
  Why do you want this Destiny?
  What will you need to Learn?
  What skills will you need to develop?
  What role will others play in helping you reach this Burled Arch?
  What are measurable steps along the way?
  What is the NEXT step?

If you can understand and take the next step and continue that process (WILL) – nothing can stop you from reaching your “Burled Arch Destiny”!

It’s not going to be perfect – anything worth doing – is worth doing UGLY!   Ugly is how we start and it leads us to continuous improvement!

(remember how bad we all were when we first started learning to play sports as little kids?  Eventually – if the WILL persists, the skill improves and you make JV and then on to Varsity! It takes talent – but as my mentor John Maxwell says, “Talent is NEVER enough!”)

Finally, what do we do with all of the self-defeating voices in our head?

  Fight them with everything you have!
  What the roots drink – the fruits think!
  Celebrate small victories and progress ‘Checkpoints’ like crazy!

Saturate yourself in “Can do – positivity!”  Find a voice – someone that lifts you up – and listen to their positive beliefs.  I listen (almost daily) to speakers that are highly positive and motivational – why?  because I need it too!

Read, listen, watch – anything you can to make sure your tank stays full of the belief in possibilities!

Next – Celebrate any progress – ANY progress toward your Burled Arch Destiny – you learn a new skill, take a new class, spend 30 minutes in dreaming and mapping! – whatever it is mark down and celebrate the wins!  This is the fuel needed to keep it up!  Why keep running if you think you’re not going anywhere?  Mark your progress – celebrate the smallest progress!

Lastly – find an encouraging friend, accountability partner or coach…  when you start to doubt (which we all do!), when you want to quit – you’ll need them to cheer you on!

Keep Dreaming – Keep moving – Keep growing – Keep doing!  The Burled Arch Destiny is attainable!

What bib number did you draw?

This week, after being in Tallahasse with a client, I flew to Anchorage for the start of the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled race. (Many of you know about my book, Iditarod Leadership, and my passion about the great leadership lessons learned from mushing and dog sled teams)

Last night was the annual Musher’s Banquet. There was entertainment, a meal, auction items and a chance for the race fans to interact with their favorite musher. As each musher was called to the stage to reach into the Mukluk (boot) where they draw for bib numbers (Bib numbers represent when they will start (which position)) there were pockets of cheering and it was a great time to recognize their sponsors and those that have contributed, greatly, to their being able to run this race.

So here’s what is on my mind for today… What bib number did you draw in life? What bib number do you feel you drew in life?

You see the drawing of starting position in the Iditarod and in life is, completely, random. We have NO control – whatsoever – over to whom we were born or to what circumstances.

What are your thoughts on that? How do you feel about the circumstances of your beginnings in life?

Now that you have that in mind – let’s deal with it..

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do about where, when, to whom, and the conditions of your start – nothing – and because you can do NOTHING about the starting position – it becomes a fact – it becomes your starting position and that’s it.

You might be saying, “Chris, You don’t understand…” and you may be right – but here is what I DO understand – regardless of your starting position – your finish is much more dependent upon your daily actions and attitudes than your starting position.

Your starting position is your history – you are already on your trail – already running your life race… Run it with pride – Run it with intentional purpose… which means – determine your desired destination and set the course to obtain it.

I have talked and shouted many times – that your start is not your destiny – your start is your start and DESTINY – is the same root where we get ‘destination’ from – it is a place that you decide beforehand to make as your goal – your destination – your “DESTINY”.

If you need more schooling, more economic opportunity, more connections, more anything – go for it… what is stopping you from achieving?

Your bib number?


That’s the bib number we were given – we can’t change it – we can’t let it define us! It adjusts our process to achieving success – but it CANNOT effect us unless we allow it.

DECIDE your desitination – your Destiny – or as I call it – you’re “BURLED ARCH”

Make a list of what you will need to get there – or start seeking the knowledge of what will be needed to get you there.

Start – RUN! GO for it! I, for one, believe you can!

Betting on ’11?

Would you bet on your ’11?

What are the odds that you will succeed in 2011?

What is your belief about your odds in ’11?
50/50?… 60/40?… 40/60?…

The number says a lot about where your mindset is coming into the new year. And yet it IS a New Year!

Has anything changed? Has your outlook changed? Did you suddenly get a new contract on January 1 that made your entire year? Are you thinking about the year? Or just making through the month?

Our mindset coming into the New Year is a big indicator of where our year is already headed. As I rise to face the new day today – I am challenged with making sure that my mindset – my mental focus is sharpened to key off of the energy I want, the destination I want, and the results I want.

As the mind goes, as the beliefs go, and the focus goes – so goes the life…

This morning, as I face the start of the new week – and the 2nd week of the year – my challenge is that I define my mindset, my belief set for the upcoming week, month, quarter.

Would I bet on my ’11?….

Would I bet that my ’11 will be better than my ’10 or ’09 or ’08? Would I bet that my ’11 would be better than the most successful year of my life? That I would achieve more this year? or reach more this year? Or attain more life satisfaction than ever before?

The challenge – the bet, if you will, comes down to this… I bet if I change my beliefs and I change my actions – I bet my year will be better than if I don’t!!!

How about you? Bet with me? Bet with me that if we choose to align together for the next year – and choose to hold each other mutually accountable for our beliefs, perspectives, and actions – that if we intentionally focus on the right things and tweak the right processes – that we will achieve more – than if we isolate, dwell, linger, regret, fear, and maintain status quo.

Last year is last year – my mistakes are in the past, my successes are in the past – my only bet – is to bet on my ’11. My actions and my thoughts in my ’11 will play a major role in my ‘success’ for 2011…

Me? I’m betting on ’11!!

The ‘Adventure’ of Indonesia

As many of you know, our ‘Leadership Adventure’ took us to Indonesia over the past 10 days or so, with a stop in California on the way to see my son, Zach, who is at Camp Pendleton. The word ‘Adventure’ is appropriate. Yesterday felt like I had been through quite a ride. It seems, at times, that everything only catches up to us when we finally stop or slow down!

It, usually, takes me a couple of days to shake off international travel and return to my routine stateside – but my heart is continually pulled back toward the blog and my connection with you that have chosen to join me on this adventure. I am a bit driven to share leadership principles every day and have a ‘destiny’ to add value to people Every Day – which leads me to shake it off and get back to posting blogs!! Thanks for your patience during the travel.

There are a number of blogs that are intense in my heart from the trip – adding to the thread started on the many roles we play as leaders, unpacking some leadership and life questions from discussions with Zach, and talking about a burning topic of the ‘bottom line’ of business.

However, I thought we could jump back in with just talking about the journey and maybe connecting on a more personal level, for today.

We started in California with a blaze of activity with Zach over July 4th and the pride of having two sons serving their country during that patriotic weekend.

We expected to see the beauty of California, connect with Zach, ship a care package to his brother and then enjoy the beauty of California before heading out to business in Indonesia.

We received a call during that time that was a reminder that serving isn’t for the weak and the fast realization that having sons serve the country meant their lives are, truly, on the line every day. Our oldest son, Josh, had come under attack and there were casualties in their unit. We went from being thankful that he made it – to empathetic and compassionate for the families that lost their sons.

Conversations about life, happiness, meaning, etc. ensued and all of the questions about what is true and lasting in this world (and the next) – all of the topics that transcend leadership of business into leadership in life and personal courage. (I know life isn’t always easy and I am thankful, daily, for the gift of each day with those that are close to me. We have experienced loss of loved ones in the past year or so and know that many of you are facing your own trials and pains and our hearts are with you!)

From there – we had a few days to enjoy La Jolla and the beautiful coast, caught the flight, connected through Hong Kong and landed in Jakarta. Our main seminar was scheduled for the Ritz and the smaller subsequent meeting for the JW Marriott.

Long story short, there were a number of circumstances that transpired that caused us to change our accommodations just a couple of days before suicide bombers (that were staying one floor up from us) walked into the restaurant during breakfast and carried out their deadly attacks – one at the JW and one at the Ritz. We are fortunate to be alive… there are 5-6 different reasons why we should have been there that morning and only providence that we were not.

We spent the next several days in the home of a business partner, not knowing when or if the next attack would hit, while working to wrap up the training certifications that we had committed to complete. It was a couple of stressful days with long hours followed by 30+ hours of flying time coming home – not exactly the best representation for my wife’s first time to accompany me on business!

Thanks so much for your prayers and support of me and my family!

I believe the people of Indonesia will overcome the evil that seeks to do it (and others) harm. The people I met were great – with a great hunger for leadership and excellence. We wish them all the best and will be back with them for more!

Long post for the first one back – if you want more on the bombings here’s a link.

The post for tomorrow or later today is on the triple bottom line – one of my favorite discussions!!! Thanks for allowing me to add value to your leadership growth!