A big thinker is always looking for opportunities! Where do you want to be in five (5) or ten (10) years? Have you ever given it thought? Do you have a plan? We all have hopes and dreams, but you can turn those dreams into reality. We often dismiss dreams as something that just happens and you never do anything about it. I used to dream and dream big when I was a kid. What changed?
When I was a child, I had big dreams! I always wanted to run a company, but I thought it would be a big public company. I can remember going to a variety store next to my parent’s store and looking at the toys as a young child. I probably spent too much time in the toy department and I remember a store clerk telling to stop playing with the toys or leave. I remember thinking I would someday own this store or the whole chain. It was F.W. Woolworth! It was a very successful five and dime store until it failed in 1997.
My dreams did not stop there! My first (paid) summer job was as a door to door salesman and I was pretty successful. I thought that I might go into sales and lead a sales organization. The dreams kept coming and along with more summer jobs. I remember working as a mail clerk in New York City and telling anyone who would listen, my dreams of being on the cover of a magazine or newspaper. More summer jobs followed and I learned more about myself.
Reality hits when you start to interview for your first career job. I graduated college during the height of the Vietnam War. I was lucky to have a deferment during college, but it became 1A when I graduated. My very first interview was during my last semester (spring) of college. I remember one of the questions during the interview was where did I see myself in ten (10) or twenty (20) years? I was young (21 years old) and probably too confident (cocky). My response was I saw myself as President (CEO) of the huge insurance company. They must have liked my answer because they hired me.
I accepted the management trainee position, but I was drafted just a few months later. This was a time when there were a lot of people protesting the war, some even went to Canada to avoid the draft. There were a lot of college graduates who entered with me. Most of which ended up in the infantry because there was a huge need to replace troops in Vietnam. I was lucky, but I saw opportunities where no one else did. I was stationed at the USDB (armed forces prison). Although I was grateful, I turned the situation into a better opportunity.
My job was security guard, but I wanted more. I went to graduate school at night and convinced some people that I could teach the inmates business courses. Was I thinking big or what? I also had a plan B if I was sent to Vietnam. I would have immediately volunteered for Officer Candidate School (OCS). I always think of ways to improve my circumstances. Do you? A lot of books suggest reflecting on your decisions so you can improve your decision making. I do that, but I also think how I can make changes to make things better.
It did not stop there! After military service, I pursued accounting/finance and became Controller, Vice President, Finance and eventually Chief Financial Officer. I wanted more! I kept dreaming and put plans in place that led me to investing in income property. It took just seven (7) years to reach financial freedom! What can you do to dream big?
Five Steps to Thinking Big
- Dreaming is good, but don’t stop there! If you just dream and do nothing it will remain a dream. You need to create an action plan. Take your dream and work on it.
- Dreams are rarely something you can complete in a day or two. It is usually much bigger. Break it down and make it into goals. The best yet is daily tasks leading to your goal. I set out to become financially independent when I was thirty-one ( 31) years old. It took seven (7) years to accomplish my goal by working on my goal every day.
- Do you just accept circumstances? Do you accept the first job offer or do you stay in a job too long even when you are unhappy? Do you have a five (5) or ten (10) year plan? What are you doing about it? It is up to you! Do you have a plan?
- Remember failure is part of every plan! It would be great if succeed the first time, but you may not. Failure or setbacks are just part of it. Successful people fail too, but they keep trying and succeed. It is only a failure when you give up!
- Are you prepared for your dream? If your dream is to own a business, do you have savings? Do you have the skills and experience to succeed? Most of my corporate career provided the skills and experience for my promotions, entrepreneurial endeavors and even teaching. I was prepared for my dreams are you?
I have a very varied background in finance, accounting, administration, human resources, operations, sales, manufacturing and training. Did I start off with a very detailed plan and just follow it? No, I saw opportunities to make myself more valuable by taking on responsibility at various companies. I was aggressive, assertive and had a big idea. I saw myself doing something big and I am not done yet. Success leads to more success because you discovered how to achieve it. Do you think big or are you satisfied with what you achieved? I am not suggesting to always be dissatisfied, but are you do something about it. In contrast, don’t settle for things the way they are either. Are you a big thinker?
Photo by: Melody Campbell
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Are you a big thinker?