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Dreams: Have you included the people you need to realize them?

By John C. Maxwell | March 25, 2009
Dreams: Have you included the people you need to realize them?

Today is the official publication date of my newest book. To celebrate its official release, here is an excerpt for you. I hope it provides you with food for thought and concrete instruction that you can apply to your life today.

Excerpted From

John Maxwell's Put Your Dream to the Test

Chapter 6: The People Question:
Have I Included the People I Need to Realize My Dream?

According to pastor and friend Chris Hodges (on Twitter @chris_hodges), “a dream is a compelling vision you see in your heart that’s too big to accomplish without the help of others.” I have found that to be true in my life. I could not have fulfilled any of my dreams without the help of others. The list of people who have made a difference in my life is long. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people have helped me. Some have inspired me. Others have come alongside me to help. Many have adopted my dreams as their own. All have made a difference and added value to my life in ways that I cannot adequately express.

If you want to realize your dream, you need a team to help you. It’s hard to list all the things a team can do for you. There are so many. Recently I tried to put into words how my team helps me. Here’s what I wrote:

My team makes me better than I am.

My team multiplies my value to others.

My team enables me to do what I do best.

My team allows me to help others do their best.

My team gives me more time.

My team provides me with companionship.

My team helps me fulfill the desires of my heart.

My team compounds my vision and effort.

My team empowers me to realize my dream.

Without my team, I would not be able to do anything of significance.

Who Should Be on Your Dream Team?

How do you answer the People Question, which asks, Have I included the people I need to realize my dream? When I talk to people who have passion and a clear picture of their dream, I always ask them who they have enlisted to help them achieve it. Most good leaders know that they cannot accomplish their dreams on their own, and they start naming the people who are working with them. But some people seem dumbfounded by the question. It never occurs to them that they will need the assistance of others to achieve their dreams.

Who Do I Include on my Dream Team? Three Types of People:

1.  People Who Inspire Me

Inspiration often gives birth to dreams, but it is also needed to keep dreams alive! We all need people to encourage us, cheer us on, and lift us to a higher level. Some people simply have that effect on us. When we are with them, they motivate us to live stronger, think better, work harder, and risk more. They compel us to continue!

2.  People Who Are Honest with Me

Other people I need on my dream team are individuals who are willing to tell me the truth. That may at first seem contradictory to my desire to include people who inspire me, but that’s not the case. I don’t look for people who want to knock me down. Rather, I look for people who are willing and able to give me constructive feedback. That’s especially important in the area of dreams because, as Greek orator Demosthenes asserted, “Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self; for what we wish, we readily believe.”

Many people never ask for honest feedback from others. I think they fear reality and worry that someone telling them the truth will discourage them so much that they’ll give up their dream. But a dream without honest feedback is often little more than make-believe. And a dream that cannot survive honest criticism is a dream that’s likely never to be attained.

3.  People Whose Skills Complement Mine

You can’t do everything, and neither can I. Successful people seek help from individuals who are skilled in areas other than their own. Most of the people on my dream team are very different from me in their giftedness. Our team may have the same values, vision, and priorities, but each member is different in the area of skills and temperament. As a result, together we accomplish more than we ever would independent of one another. We complement and complete one another.

The kinds of people you need on your team depend on your particular abilities, experience, and temperament. Think about your strategy for achieving your dream. What must be done to achieve it? Which of those things best suit your abilities? Which will require the help of others with different skills? Where will you need people with experience? What kinds of tasks will require a temperament different from yours?

I don’t know what your dream is…

I don’t know what you desire to accomplish or who you will need to include to see your dream come to fruition. You may need only the encouragement and care of one other human being to help you keep going. Or you may need an army. Regardless of your situation, I can tell you that you do need others. The bigger the dream, the greater your need. But here’s the good news: the size of your dream determines the size of the people who will be attracted to it. If you have a very big dream, you have even greater potential for good people to help you. What you need to do is connect with them, invite them in, transfer the vision, and turn them loose.


This week I’m writing and spending time with family. And I’m already hard at work on the 2010 book. It’ll be on the importance of connecting for communicators.

Thank you for the incredible support you’ve shown for me and this blog. Here’s to continued interaction and added value!

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