Steve Jobs will go down in history as the Henry Ford of our generation. His vision for technology changed the way we interact with each other and the world around us in ways I'm not sure he even fully understood. It's hard to believe the iPhone turns ten this year; it's even more difficult to imagine life without one.
When the iPhone was first announced, the world did not pay attention. In fact, most people dismissed it. The business world was overrun with Blackberry devices, tactile keyboards, and flip phones. It was not that uncommon to see people carry two devices: a cell phone and some type of personal data device to manage calendar, email, etc. There wasn’t even a marketplace of apps yet. What you got on the iPhone was what you got.
Steve dared to suggest the role of the phones in our pocket would be less about calling people in the future as it would be about providing a computer in our pocket that would allow us to make calls if necessary. The critics said the price was too high, there wasn’t enough demand, and no serious business person would consider such a “playful” device.
IGNORE YOUR CRITICS
If there was ever a lesson in modern life to ignore your critics, it was Jobs’ relentless pursuit of a personal computer in your pocket and his resulting success. Even he didn’t fully appreciate the revolution he was setting off, but he knew the possibilities were limitless if he stayed true to his vision.
You have a dream inside you. All of us do. It’s easy to ignore it. In fact, most of the world is engineered to encourage you to set aside your dream for the safety and security [sic] of corporate benefits, big mortgages, and status symbols. And I want you to ignore and reject the distractions all around you which are intended to discourage you from the pursuit of your dreams.
Dreams are fuel or your soul. Until you are determined to turn your dreams into reality, you’ll never be able to become the full expression of your divine design. The challenge is: are you willing to hang on to what you know is possible until it is a reality? I want to encourage you to do so. The world needs you to release your genius and accomplish and deliver on the unique solution that is yours to offer.
LET ME SUGGEST SIX WAYS TO TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY
1. Write them down. I remain convinced that when you get your ideas and dreams out of your head and onto paper, you have a greater propensity to see those dreams become reality. I don’t care how you do it. It can be an actual pen and paper, a note on your smartphone of choice, or a voice note.
2. Review them often. Life gets busy. In the process of doing life, it can become easy to let your dreams slip away. Then you wake up thirty years later and realize you never acted on what you knew was a unique and special opportunity intended just for you. Create a recurring reminder, print out your dreams and put them on the wall, or find someone who will hold you accountable to action.
3. Believe your dreams are possible. The only difference between someone who dreams and someone who turns their dreams into reality is the willingness to believe you can cross that great divide. Only you can make this decision. And you have to make it every day.
4. Be patient. We live in an instant society. I still remember dial-up internet. You had to wait for that funny sound to connect you to a tunnel which would then usher you into the world wide web. And once you were connected, you had to keep your fingers crossed no one picked up the phone, or you didn't get kicked off the network for some reason. Life is iterative. It doesn't matter how long it takes to turn your dreams into reality; it matters that you do it.
5. Develop a 30-day action plan. I know you’re probably thinking you should develop a 90-day plan, annual plan, etc. All of those are good in theory. But no battle plan survives the first shot fired. The same is true for long-term planning. Have some specific milestones you can reach for in the immediate future. Work toward those. Then regroup and plan the next 30 days. Do this consistently, and you’ll surprise yourself just how much you can accomplish in a short period of time.
6. Celebrate the small wins. Small wins always lead to bigger wins. Important things take time to develop and always come with unexpected challenges. Just think about how the relationship between Microsoft and Apple has evolved over time as each of them worked out their own vision of how they would work together. When you cross a milestone, remind yourself how far you’ve come and reconnected with why you started down this path in the first place.
MAKE IT TRUE
You are what you believe is possible. You are also your biggest critic. As you cultivate the life you want to live, make sure it’s aligned with your dreams and gifts. Your divine design is not an accident. You are a solution to something significant in the world. But will you allow yourself to believe you are capable of accomplishing what was designed for you to accomplish in the first place? Only you can answer that.
There will be ups and downs. Remain grounded in who you are, how you see the world, what dreams you want to pursue. That’s what will ultimately lead you to a place of contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
I’m grateful Henry Ford created the car and the process to make it possible for every American to own one. I’m grateful Steve Jobs make it possible for me to turn a piece of glass into a way to engage the world around me in new and unending ways. And I’m grateful you are bold enough to hang onto your dreams until they become reality, too.
REFLECT: What dreams capture your imagination? What steps are you taking toward them today? If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be? What would have to be true to turn your dreams into reality? Do you believe you can? Why or why not?