Blog Archive

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do Your Dreams Need a Reality Check?

By Ken Bansemer
National Talent Acquisition & Talent Management Leader
Charlotte, NC

When speaking before student groups about Success, one message I hope they take away is that in order to pursue a dream, they have to own the actions. Simple really. Have a goal/dream – share it with others, make a plan to get there, commit to action, take action, and then learn as the journey unfolds and adjust if necessary. As I’ve heard often, a goal not written down, isn’t a goal, it is merely a thought that doesn’t drive personal accountability. So to assist with dream documentation, I have participants write down “something they have always wanted to do in life” (a bucket list type item) and seal it in an envelope, which they self-address to themselves. These envelopes sit in stacks on my office shelf, to be delivered to each participant approximately two years later.

Ken speaking at the 2011 intern conference
Fast forward two years. These envelopes are placed inside a larger envelope, which also contains a letter from me. I am sure the first thought of the recipient is, “why am I receiving a letter from McGladrey?” That may pass quickly when they read my letter reminding them of our time together, and inviting them to revisit their dream (likely long-forgotten for most) by unsealing their original envelope. I remind them that as they have embarked on their professional career, to focus on their personal pursuits and keep the dream alive. Really, nobody is holding them accountable to the few written words on the paper. But that reminder may just spark a passion that was sitting dormant. I am always certain to update the recipient on the pursuit of my long-term dreams, which I openly share in my presentation to create a connection and personal accountability (for me). And I let them know that I would be grateful to hear from them on their pursuits.

The reality is when speaking to a large group, your message is only likely to resonate with only a few of the participants. And even then, a smaller number of those will be proactive enough to take some immediate or short-term actions to pursue their goals. For the rest, it is only an exercise at the moment. I understand and accept that, as I have often been in that position as an audience member with other speakers. So it was a pleasure to receive a message in March from a past participant – Drew Mohoric. He didn’t necessarily update me on his goal, but instead took my message a step further in his own blog, and posed a series of REALITY CHECK questions to his readers. I invite you to consider these as you think about your life priorities.  

Does this resonate with you? Are you one of those that ends up on the continued path of “no action”? Are you in need of a reality check? Listen to your heart – it may take you on an incredible journey.

1 comment:

Ivan Rivero said...

My younger sister used to roll her eyes at me every time I "lectured" her about how her actions she took that day would either haunt her decades later in her adult life, or she would be happy her younger self took care of her.

My sister is now 20. She talks about dedicating herself to her craft, and she is planning out the next few years of her educational and professional life.

It makes me so happy that she has the right attitude. It gives me peace.

As for me, I try every day not to repeat the same mistakes. I try to make sure that everything I do leads to a benefit not only to myself, but the company I work for. I realize and appreciate that our lives are intertwined.