Monday, May 25, 2009

Testing Your Dream

I enjoy books about dreams and I thoroughly enjoyed one I finished today titled Put Your Dream to the Test, the latest by leadership expert and bestselling author John Maxwell. Subtitled “10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It,” the book suggests you analyze your dream in order to move from merely believing in it to actually buying into it.

As Maxwell points out, it is one thing to dream and another thing to live your dream, and the determining factor is often whether or not your dream has been tested. He gently guides you to answer questions of ownership, clarity, reality, passion, pathway, people, cost, tenacity, fulfillment and significance. In his trademark style, the book is peppered with motivational quotations and moving stories of people who achieved their dreams by practically testing them and then tenaciously pursuing them.

No matter where you might find yourself on the dream continuum, it would benefit you to read this book and practice its principles. Whether or not you have mapped out your dream destination, you will find here the help you need to navigate the challenging detours of life and continue your journey toward a life of passion and purpose.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Simple Pleasures

I just returned from a quick but restful trip to visit family, friends and a client in the Nashville area this past weekend. I was reminded that I had a free roundtrip ticket that had to be used within the week so I called my brother-in-law [who has nine kids] and he agreed to pick me up at the airport on Friday and return me there on Monday so that I could fit in a quick consult with a client before heading home. In between, I was able to visit some friends at the church they pastor.

Whereas visiting six nephews and three nieces may cause some people to cry “uncle,” my brother-in-law and his wife have done a fantastic job of childrearing so it was actually a pleasure to spend the weekend with them. Facilitating matters was the fact that they live on three hundred acres of bucolic pastureland in a restored farmhouse, complete with a spacious guest room, a porch swing and rocking chairs.

When not playing pool or watching videos with the kids, my time was spent listening to relaxing music and reading a good book, either out on the porch swing or in the luxurious guest bed. And the spring showers we enjoyed the first couple of days only served to enhance my refreshing interlude. I retreated for a time of renewal and returned with a profound appreciation for life's simple pleasures.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Going Dutch

One of my very favorite places to visit is Amsterdam, Holland. I’ve only gotten to explore it once, and that was during a long layover on an assignment to Africa, but it left an indelible imprint upon my memory. One of my fondest memories of the Dutch city is its all-enveloping old world charm, accentuated as it is by a strong sense of place that moves to a kinder and gentler pace than Americans abide.

It reminds me of sleepy Savannah, Georgia, where I used to live in a renovated brownstone for three years, only instead of Savannah’s picturesque squares, Amsterdam features scenic canals in its historic city centre. Above is a picture I took of one of the canals during my visit there and on the bridge are several bicycles, which the city of Amsterdam has more of per capita than anywhere else in the world, adding to its charming mystique.

Amsterdam’s laidback lifestyle is cogently captured in a recent New York Times article titled “Going Dutch” by American expatriate Russell Shorto, who writes: “The Dutch seem to be happier than we are. I’ve found that Dutch people take both their work and their time off seriously. Indeed, the two go together. The fact that the Dutch work only during work hours does not seem to make them less productive, but more. I’m constantly struck by how calm and fresh the people I work with regularly seem to be.”