On my business trips I do what I can to keep exercising and prefer a morning walk through a local park instead of the treadmill in the hotel’s fitness room. On one of those walks I came across a plaque for the woman who spearheaded and developed a park in Rockford, IL. The plaque had her name and the phrase “Dream – Believe – Dare – Do”. It was obvious to me the message was around her dream of the park and then making it happen. Here was a woman put into action the words of Anatole France, a French poet, journalist, and successful novelist; “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” Her dream is now a local park being enjoyed by others, including this traveling businessman.
Walt Disney had a success credo, “I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true.” Those four words, Dream-Believe-Dare-Do, are the pillars for the Disney corporation. Disney gives every team member a chance to dream and tap into the creativity those dreams embody; to stand firm on their beliefs and principles; to dare to take calculated risks; and to align their long-term vision with short-term execution. Walt is known for his famous quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.”
Although I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, this four-step process was behind the writing and publishing of my book. For years I dreamt and believed that I had the content for a book, but the challenge for me was daring to take that leap. Only recently did I find the courage, and once I cleared that obstacle, the execution piece fell into place. I will not stop dreaming and believing I can make a difference in today’s world. I need to continue to find the courage to act. Kenny Loggins has been my inspiration in this area. Years ago, my wife and I went to see Kenny in concert and there was a warm-up band, Blue Sky Riders. Imagine my surprise when I recognized Kenny up there with BSK – his new band. Their best song is called “Dream”, a song about Kenny starting a new band at the age of 65 with the lyrics, “I may be walkin’, talkin’ but it won’t be me; The day I ever get too old to dream.” Kenny dared to go forward, against his agent’s recommendation, to create a new band in support of his dream. Check it out on You Tube, it is a great song and BSK is very good. An inspiration that no matter our age or condition, we can still make our dreams come true.
Without belief, dreams are nothing more than wishes, hopes or even fantasies. Belief gives the dream life and retains it in our consciousness. Similarly, without faith, prayers are just thoughts and words. Belief is anticipation with possibilities being created. It is no longer hopeful thinking.
Believe Big is a non-profit organization located in my town, created to promote the use of mistletoe as an integrative cancer therapy. As you can imagine, none of the big pharmaceutical companies are excited about a commonly found plant in nature being a treatment for cancer, so this organization is up against some big barriers in terms of testing. They need strong convictions to continue with their purpose. They chose ‘Believe Big’ as their organization’s name and their motto “Face it, Fight it, Overcome it” purposefully. They already envision when this treatment will be mainstream. The organization has strong Christian roots and their belief is tied to their faith. For more information on this great cause please see www.believebig.org
Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west, from Broadway’s “Wicked” sings, “I’m through accepting limits ‘cause someone says they’re so. Some things I cannot change; But till I try, I’ll never know.” The line is from the song “Defying Gravity”. Defy and dare are synonyms in this context and ‘gravity’ is the status quo. She is daring to act on her beliefs and though she knew there was uncertainty and danger, she decided she’d take the risk. Dare to trust her instincts, close her eyes, and leap.
‘Doing’ involves risk but it’s the only way to make progress. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” This quote became the inspiration for a song by Vicki Genfan called “Eleanor”. The refrain is, “The more that you do it, the more you know that you can.” Vicki includes riding a bike as a six-year-old, going off the high dive at age 9, admitting you love someone at age 29. Being a Doer instead of just a Believer requires discipline and commitment. Action defines you, it is necessary for life changes. In Chapter 2 of St. James’ letter in the New Testament, he discusses faith without works as being dead. Same with prayer without action. Pope Francis said, “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That’s how prayer works.” This is the proper conduct because of an authentic commitment to God in faith. Dare to act on your beliefs.
God wants us to dream, and to dream big. He wants us to believe and put our faith in Him. He’s a big God who wants to do big things and He wants to do them through us. The song “Dream for You” by Castings Crowns counsels letting God dream for you:
So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I’ll show you what I can do
When I dream for you
Each step in this process challenges and validates the step before. Dreaming disrupts the status quo; believing raises the awareness of the dream; daring tests the value of the belief; and doing fulfills the risk of the dare. It is our choice. Do we live life small, fearing that failure could be around the corner waiting for us? Or do we take chances, risk failure or success, and dare to make bold moves. It is a pretty good formula.
Dream it and dream big; Believe it and believe big; Dare it and dare boldly; finally, Do it and be who God meant you to be. You’ll set the world on fire.