Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't Forget Your Dreams!

The hypocrite: a person who says one thing but does another. “You shouldn’t gossip; little people make little talk,” and “Stop wasting time in front of that TV! You should be enjoying the outdoors.”


Both good pieces of advice, however, when you turn the corner what are those folks doing? Talking about Susie who just broke up with her boyfriend because he cheated with her best friend Jill, or they are sitting there watching the last four seasons of Lost when it is 80 degrees and beautiful outside.

Ok, so not everyone says one thing and does another. However, there are those certain folks who have the “hypocrite syndrome.” Those people who often preach one thing all the time, yet do the opposite. Are these bad people? ABSOLUTELY NOT! On the contrary, these are caring people. They are the ones who are concerned that you don’t make the same mistakes they have.


About a year ago, during a road trip, one of my dear friends named Tyler made the comment that most people’s life message is about that thing or area that they struggle with the most. For example, if your life advice to someone was to be comfortable just being themselves and no one else. Most likely, that would mean that your greatest struggle has been reaching that peace with being who you are and disregarding the assumptions you make regarding what others think of you.


The reason people do this is because they care about you. They have struggled, or currently are struggling, with the same problem they see you may be facing. Often, our immediate reaction to their advice is “Well, they don’t even do that. Why should I listen to them?” Where as in truth, or advice response should be “Good feedback. They care enough to be honest with me. They seem to have a similar problem—how can I see it has impacted their life?”


The human brain is a brain of habit, this is for sure. Our habit is to be offended when someone tells us something we can improve on. Of course, everyone would rather have a compliment, pat on the back, or “you’re so wonderful!” Yes, there is a place for these encouraging words in a person’s life—however, do these really challenge you to be a better person?


This past weekend From Thursday through Sunday, I attended the Alumni Leadership Camp in Montana north of Great Falls. There were close to 100 amazing high school students there, all of which were full of energy and ready to learn about personal growth. The six camp counselors (Sam, Brook, Jessica, Chase, Andrew, and John) did a wonderful job presenting workshops on communication, self-motivation, risk taking, relationships, and more. I was invited to present a workshop to the group on goal setting Friday and one on FFA Opportunities on Saturday. That evening at the Saturday night banquet I also gave a keynote address.


In those four days I really go to know some of the students on a personal level. They shared with me their dreams of becoming an architect, going to Med school, becoming a state or national officer in the FFA, becoming a famous country singer, and becoming a national high school rodeo champion. As each student shared with me their ambitious goals, their faces would light up and you could see a surge or energy go through their body. During some reflections by a fireplace one night I shared with those members to dream bit. Shoot for the moon—if you don’t hit it you will still land among the stars.


Well, the conference couldn’t have gone better in my eyes. The students learned a plethora of new leadership and personal development knowledge, and I myself walked away inspired and energized as I always do when around FFA members.


Later that evening as I was flying home I found myself in a state of self-evaluation. Looking out the airplane window, I thought about all those dreams the members shared with me. Then I thought about what dreams I have. It was at that point that I realized, I too suffer from hypocrite syndrome. I have always dreamed of things such as becoming a motivational speaker, writing leadership books, traveling the world and educating people on agriculture and making it fun! All of these would exist in my dream life. Yet, do I really pursue them?


As a national officer I got to experience all of the above dreams minus the book writing. However, since then I have been thrown into a “tough world reality.” First, we have people constantly talking about how the economy is bad, jobs are hard to find, leadership and organizational development are the first positions that will go. Then, I have the second reality check when I see other speakers and presenters. There are so many people pursuing this career—and what is there to say that I am any better or equal to their abilities? I haven’t survived a plane crashed or overcome a serious disease. No, my life struggles have been on the inside—but are those good enough to make a motivating point to others?


Here is the skinny. I believe in dreaming big and going for what it is you want in life. DREAM BIG. Even if your end outcome isn’t what you originally had in mind, you will most likely find yourself in another position even better you didn’t know exist. I will forever preach and share this message with all those I meet.


On a personal level, I too will start doing the same. I will stop thinking of all the reasons I am not good enough, and start thinking more optimistically about my dreams. Every now and then we all need to take a little self-evaluation to check up on whether we are suffering from hypocrite syndrome ourselves. If we are, then what can we do to change that?   

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