Are you a dreamer? Have you acted on your dreams? Do you have dreamers all around you but haven’t taken the time to listen?
I’m a dreamer.
When I was nine years old, I dreamed about playing Major League Baseball. When I was 10 years old, my South Ward Little League All-Star Coach, Bill Hicks, confirmed my dreams when he said, “Bo, one day, you will play Major League Baseball.” With my sites set on playing Major League Baseball, I began practicing and playing with an extreme level of focus that I credit to the encouraging words of my childhood dreamer, Coach Bill Hicks. On May 9th, 1999, that courageous nine-year-old dreamer became the 15,057th player in Major League Baseball history when he made his Major League debut for the Chicago Cubs. That dreamer was me.
After retiring from my playing days. I transitioned into the coaching ranks. I now had a dream that one day I would manage Major League Baseball. In 2007 during my first season as third-base coach for the Florida Marlins, I had my annual mentorship breakfast with the late great Frank Robinson. In 1975, Frank was named the first Black manager in Major League Baseball history, and he was enshrined into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Frank was my mentor, coach and an ambassador for all that was good. Frank also was my dreamer.
I’ll share with you the breakpoint conversation I had with Frank Robinson that ignited my internal fire to manage Major League Baseball.
Frank: Bo, how are you enjoying coaching third base?
Bo: It’s going well. I’m learning more and more each day.
Frank: So what are your future plans?
Bo: I want to be the best third-base coach in Major League Baseball.
Frank: Why be the best third-base coach when you have the talent and leadership skills to be a Major League Manager?
Bo: Really Frank? You think so?
Frank: Yes, I think so, but you have to believe it’s possible.
Bo: (Silence…but my mind was racing a million miles a minute.)
Frank: Now Bo, I don’t know if it will happen, but don’t sell yourself short.
Bo: (Still silent…but Frank’s dream had just intersected with my dream, and the internal fire of my dream was ignited!)
I left that annual meeting with Frank Robinson with a dramatically different mindset. I started looking at the game through the lens of the manager from that day forward. It was that self-imposed preparation that accelerated and elevated my career. Five years later in 2012 at the age of 40, I was named Manager of the Houston Astros, which also made me the youngest manager in Major League Baseball.
Thank you, Frank Robinson, for helping make my dream a reality.
When researching champions, I’ve discovered that most acted on a dream – a dream that was either downloaded directly into them or one that was shared with them by a dreamer who saw the champion in them.
It’s amazing how simple gestures can seemingly alter our life as we currently know it. In my experience, life truly starts opening up when you listen to the gestures of those sent to ignite a fire toward your destiny.
Mentors, friends and family will always be there to correct your course, but it’s a strong inner impulse that creates the lasting drive in my life.
Gestures from dreamers can be insightful pearls of wisdom that light your path.
- “Maybe you need to leave that company and start your own business.”
- “Maybe you need to leave him or her. I can feel he or she is wrong for you.”
- “Maybe you have a knack as a media personality, and you should definitely start a YouTube channel, podcast or something.”
- “Damn, you’re actually pretty good at this. Maybe you should try writing for clients.”
- “Maybe you should just try coaching and mentoring because you’re really good with people.”
- “I had a dream last night that you were on the stage, and everyone was listening to you talk. It was amazing. Maybe you should be a motivational speaker.”
Have you ever heard these or similar comments from your mentor, friends and family?
These gestures are made all the time, and most of them are unsolicited. Even when they are solicited, many come without actionable advice and you might follow up by asking, “How can I do that?” The person who made the gesture is unsure why they made it and may respond with three small words that kill many big dreams: “I don’t know.”
Breakpoint: Launching or Dying
Breakpoint is where the rubber meets the road and our dream can either die on the vine or be launched toward its destiny. Your life’s success depends on what happens at the breakpoints of your dreams.
You have options.
Will you take the unsupported advice of the dreamer and move forward, or will you stay stationary because you fear moving forward without having all the answers to how and why?
Anyone who waits for everything to be just right will do nothing.
The Courage of Champions
The only thing it takes to move forward is courage, and courage is what separates the average from champions. Do you have the courage to actually pursue a questionable, ungrounded suggestion that starts with a “maybe” and ends with an “I don’t know?”
Follow your dreams. Always.
In closing, I want to leave you with this extremely important fact. When a dream is downloaded into you, it’s for you and not for anyone else. As such, you might never get the encouragement, guidance or confirmation you’re seeking to actually go all in on your dream. But that’s what champions do. They have the courage to follow their dreams, even if they can’t see how every step will pan out.
Stop suppressing your greatness and staying stuck in neutral by ignoring your dreams. Dream big, go for it, and be the champion you are designed to be!
The Coach of Champions
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