One of the greatest benefits of working together is the ability to dream together! This means shared goals, shared hopes, shared creativity, and, almost always, a shared “why.” This collective passion can prove to be the fuel that launches your business to amazing new heights!
But, we lived with different dreams…
As you have probably gathered, Stacy and I are both “entrepreneurial;” yet, over the years we have not always shared the same vision, the same passion, or the same endeavors. For years, I was in the workforce, serving corporate America and flying around the globe. My goal was to climb the marketing ladder, to become a VP, and perhaps even a CEO.
During this time, Stacy was at home, nurturing and training our children. On the side, she was writing about her experiences, with an extended goal of helping other moms in similar circumstances.
When we got together in the evening, there were certainly some areas of overlap. My success meant there was enough income to provide for the household. So, she was understandably interested in hearing about my latest trip or initiative. And, I was obviously concerned with the well being of our children, and their growth and education, so I wanted to know how things had gone during the day. However, there were many times when we sat quietly (and maybe a little bored) listening to the other explain their day.
You see, we were living separate lives. Yes, we loved one another. She was thankful for my job and I was thankful for her efforts on the home front, but our daily primary focus—a focus that consumed so much of our time and attention—was different.
In many ways, our interests were unrelated. While we still had deep and meaningful conversations, there was so much more we could have said, so much more we could have shared, so many ways we could have helped one another, and so many things we could have been excited about together!
We were forged together…
But, that all changed when we made the decision to join forces in ministry and business, first with several traditional brick and mortar enterprises, later as public speakers, and then as we served in ministry together. Eventually, we took the “health and wellness hobby” Stacy had established from home, and together built a thriving networking organization.
Instead of pouring ourselves into different goals, we started to share our goals. We discussed opportunities – together! We planned and executed strategies – together! We were able to really empathize with each other as challenges came, and even brainstorm and pray about solutions, because those challenges were ones we faced – together!
But, perhaps the most exciting thing we started to do was to dream together. And, this dreaming exercise, in some ways, became the seed that grew into our mutual business endeavors!
You see, as much as I enjoyed my career, I knew there was more. As wonderful as our marriage was, I knew it could be better. And, there was a growing sense that I was missing out at home.
A painful reminder…
There were times this was more than just a “sense.” Circumstances came that hit me right between the eyes…like the time I had to fly to Singapore. I was confirmed on a mid-afternoon flight out of Houston to Tokyo, and then a connection to get to the Garden City. I had a big meeting there, one I could not miss. So, just after lunch, I gave my goodbye kisses and headed to the airport. After sitting down in my comfortable Business Class seat, I spent much of the 12 hour flight planning for my week away from home. My focus was on the events coming up, rather than on my family.
When I arrived at Narita and turned on my computer, there was an email from Stacy – one that felt like heart surgery. It seems that about an hour after I left, one of our children had gone out to play. From inside the kitchen, Stacy heard his little voice in the backyard excitedly saying, “Bye, Daddy, I love you!” Stacy was initially overjoyed, thinking that perhaps my trip had been cancelled, and that I had come home. She rushed outside, fully expecting to see me. Instead, she found our young son, looking up at the sky, waving to an airplane overhead. Ouch, that hurt!
It was not long after that experience that we started to say together, “What if…” We began the exercise of dreaming together.
Now, I’m not saying that a husband and wife cannot have separate interests or business enterprises. But I can tell you, our lives have been enriched and impacted for the better, as we have been able to find ways to work together – in all areas of life! And, it started with a dream.
So, how about those seven steps…
How about you? Are you and your spouse interested in doing more together? Do you want to have a closer relationship? Are you ready to take your relationship to a whole new level? Then, start dreaming together! Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.
- Go on a “Goal Brainstorming Weekend Retreat” (or date)
This is the fun part! Consider your favorite hotel, and plan a weekend to get away from it all – with a purpose! Make this special—memorable. Don’t plan to do any sightseeing or anything else that will take your focus off of one another. Stay in your hotel, find a quiet park or lake to visit, or stay at a bed and breakfast and sit on the porch! Have your notebooks with you, and spend real quality time together! Of course, throw in a nice dinner, but spend the majority of your time sharing your dreams!
- Set a time target!
Ask yourselves, where do we want to be in five years? Or 10 years? Whatever the time period is – set a time target. This will help you better define what can really be accomplished. When Stacy and I first decided to find a way to work together, it didn’t happen right away. We had to set a specific time to make it happen! We needed an exit strategy for me from my corporate job. When we had that in place, we started to work together to get where we wanted to be.
- Be forbearing with each other!
What I mean by this is to allow each other to speak and share without being critical of your individual dreams. Don’t be adversarial, defensive, or contradict one another. Listen to each other…really listen – and get your dreams on paper. It is very possible that your individual dreams will be different. But this helps you know where you both are – and gives you a place to start to merge the dreams into one.
- Make your dreams colorful!
One of the most important steps in this process is to mentally color in your dreams. Consider the dreams you have at night – the ones with real color are often the most memorable. Think about not only where you want to be when you achieve your goal, but why it’s important to you. What will it mean? How will it impact your life—your family? What sort of exciting experiences await? Break out the mental crayons and even color outside the lines if you want – make your dreams bright…real!
- Unite your dreams!
Remember, a husband and wife are designed to be one – a unit, a team, an entity. And when we have common dreams—when we’re united, we can accomplish great things!So, take the time to work through your individual goals to make them unified! You may need to negotiate here – but that’s OK! Just remember to be forbearing! This is where your unique personality types may shine!
- Map out a plan!
This is the last step for your weekend, but this is crucial. Once you know where you are going, set your course. You will never get anywhere without a map—a plan. Obviously, over time, this course may need to be adjusted, but make your plan together! Ask yourselves, in order to achieve your dream, what needs to change now? What actions do you both need to do over the next few months to make this dream a reality? How will you track your progress? Make a plan, and strive to consistently implement it!
- Dream On!
Lastly, set up your next date to talk about your dreams. This could be a monthly, quarterly, or even annual review, but set a time to get together and work through the process above again. Your next brainstorming session will probably be far easier (and even more fun) because you will be getting used to working together. Eventually, these events will be filled with more joy, more excitement, and even greater expectation!
The Bible tells us that, in Proverbs 29:18, without vision, a people will perish. Consider that statement! A vision is synonymous with a dream, a goal, a common purpose. But this goal is clearly not individualistic – it is a goal shared with people! And, what better “people” is there than a husband and wife who share a common goal, a common purpose, and an amazingly unified dream!
We encourage you to take on this exercise. Regardless of whether or not you want to do a business together, there are so many dreams you can share together. Dream for your family, dream for your children, dream for your retirement, dream for your future, dream for your legacy, but dream…and do it together!