Warning: this one’s gonna be a bit personal. Do not read if you do not like happy endings.

Do you Dream BIG?

Apparently this is hot again. Ameriprise Financial used the phrase as the theme for their 2007 top-producers to-do. My Yahoo! search for the term “dream big” this morning turned up over four million hits for the exact phrase.

In 2002, Oprah Winfrey masterminded her Big-Dream Contest, and I first heard the phrase “dream big.” The winning essayists would have Oprah’s help starting on their way to fulfilling their Big Dream. I didn’t enter. I was a seven-year victim of domestic violence then. I wrote three drafts for my entry. I took my copy of the September issue (I think she’s great, but it’s still the only O Magazine I’ve ever purchased) off my shelf and read and re-read about the first winners, read the rules for the second contest.

I dreamed BIG. I wanted to own my own firm again. I thought about bringing all my skills together to truly lift small firms up. I wanted to create a multidisciplinary firm where great design is a partner to great strategy, and a servant to growing businesses. I wrote, I dreamed, I wrote, then I hid what I had written, because that was what I had to do. Now never mind the hubris of this, but I felt I couldn’t enter, because what if I won? How much trouble would it cause? I couldn’t risk it.

I keep the issue in a special place to remind me, and that cover still gets me: Dream Big.

Not once in those big plans, did I discuss getting out. At that time it was inconceivable, and not yet even desirable. I wanted my intellectual freedom, and that’s what I wrote about, not my physical freedom.

I am now a survivor of all those years of d.v. It’s not an achievement, really, so although I am HAPPY, I don’t think proud is exactly the word I’d choose. I still Dream Big, and I still believe each of us business people must.

Make Dream BIG Work for You

My work dreams center around growing my business (and this blog!) so I can reach out to more businesses in need: Dream Big, and follow three simple rules: Execute, Execute, Execute. (If it were that simple, I’d never write again!)

The difference between dreaming big, and getting there, is all in the attempts. When all I did was write about Experience Design, and hide the drafts in a magazine, I got nowhere, and no one heard me. Now I shout it all the time, and I get to be in on all sorts of Big Dreams as a result.

Oprah did reach out to me that year, even though I didn’t write to her at the time. When I thought hard about my professional goals I put myself on a path to move right through and past my personal hell.

Maybe your story is nothing like mine (I really hope not), but how can you position yourself to move past a barrier, and will you chart new growth for your firm as a result? I believe in lists and planning, even if you hide yours in copy of Fortune or Inc. Write it down! Dream Big! Improve it! Then start shouting the Dream out loud!


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson