I carve out this month’s article under inspiration from my 12 year old daughter. The attached photo is one of a painting that she created for me – it WILL be framed. I’ve received some cool gifts in my day, but this one is way, way up there on the coolness chart.

She titles it “Dream To Lead,” and she dedicated it to “the biggest dreamer I know, Russ Cripps, my dad.” Ladies and Gentlemen, few statements will both inspire and challenge like that one did. Upon reading it, I felt pressure and radiance at the same moment. I felt empowered and put to task simultaneously. So allow me to break down the message my daughter’s art has planted in my soul.

Frankly, if you can’t dream, you can’t lead. Not like dreaming of yachts and vacations type dreaming, but accomplishing serious things of eternal value type dreaming. Not wanting corporate positions and titles type stuff, but more wanting to champion your efforts to further the organization type stuff. So while I’m talking about dreaming, I’m talking about very focused dreaming.

And I’ve decided not to give you an ordinary, ordered list of teaching points to support my theory (that means I’m challenging you to literally work through this). I am simply going to give the raw thoughts that are developing in my heart about how I am (personally) trying to develop and implement the dream God has planted in me. See, there is no easy three-step formula for you to achieve your dream. Dreaming styles and leadership styles are very personal. You can’t lead based on my dream. I can’t lead based on your dream. If you need to re-read that whole David / Saul passage, do so, it never gets old.

Raw thoughts for you to personalize…

-The dream always precedes the lead. You’ll never truly become a leader without some sort of dream to pursue. One of the earliest references for this is Moses. Leaf back through the pages of his leadership beginnings. You’ll quickly see that he didn’t have the skill set to accomplish what God had placed in his heart. The dream came first, the lead quickly followed. His leading didn’t allow the dreaming, his dreaming allowed the leading. And his dreaming allowed him to not only lead, but to lead strong.

-The dream is a navigation system. The dream you are passionately pursuing is guiding you in the direction you lead in. The dream gives you the courage to take baby steps in the direction you are being called. Keep adding up those baby steps and soon you’ll be there. Dreaming is a process. Dreaming is a navigation system that will guide you, and those you lead, home.

-The dream acts as a filtration system. When you are faced with a decision, you push the option through the dream filter. If the options fit, proceed because it will compliment the dream. If the options don’t fit the dream, you don’t proceed because it will be counter-intuitive to the dream. The dream filtration system allows you to make better, more stream-lined decisions that will allow you to have a better chance at arriving at your predetermined destination. Filter. Everything.

-The dream surrounds and consumes the leader. The dream is ahead of the leader, pulling him towards the goal. The dream is behind the leader, pushing him further. The dream is on either side of the leader, acting as guardrails, keeping him on the path that leads to accomplishment. If you have ever been there, you know – once a dream gets hold of you it consumes you, it’s literally all around you. And being completely consumed by your dream is a beautiful thing! It literally changes everything!

Don’t fall into the illusion that you lead to dream – instead, dream to lead. Embrace the pressure and the radiance that concept gives you and go make a difference in humanity.

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