When you Dream Big, Execute Small, Miracles Happen

When my family moved to Virginia in 1973, I started junior high. I gravitated toward the athletic department to try to fit in. I was chosen for the eighth-grade team as a seventh grader. Taking a position on the team away from boys who’d grown up in that town made things a little difficult, to say the least. 

Luckily, my basketball coach was also the guidance counselor. He took me under his wing. As he and I spoke, he started telling me about how he followed John Wooden and his Pyramid of Success. I started studying it and began following Coach Wooden’s teachings as well. It taught me many lessons, but one that has served me over and over is to dream big and execute small.

Since that time, I have always dreamt big, my ” moonshots.” Many times as I attempted these “moonshots,” I failed but I never got down on myself. As my mentor, Don told me once, “It was just not your time.”

As I analyzed why I didn’t achieve these goals, I found a recurring theme. I made sound goals, and I put plans together on how I was going to achieve them. I started to execute on these plans but there were many times when I would get to the five-yard line and then stall out.

I then started to look at the times when I did achieve my goals and what did I do different.

And that is when the light went on.

When I was with ADP, I traditionally excelled on the local and regional level but trying to get that top spot on the national level was a goal I had yet to obtain. There was a salesperson in NYC who only had two buildings in Manhattan as his territory and he always was the top person in the country.

I struggled to figure out how he did it. I had the entire state of South Carolina and had the work ethic to rival him. It wasn’t until 1995 that I broke through and the lesson was revealed and for the next 28 years helped me achieve those “moonshot” goals I had made.

I went to my first Tony Robbins seminar in 1993. It was a mind-blowing experience for me. I was one of only 300 people at his Date with Destiny seminar at La Costa in San Diego. He stretched us to go about 18 hours a day but I hung in there.

It was the evening of day three when he had us write our mission statement. Up to that point, I didn’t know what a mission statement was but I was “all in.”

It was about 2 am that night, with U2’s song “Mysterious Ways” blasting. Tony was talking the audience through this process and it was the first time I heard him say, “Your habits control your flow of thought.”

I wrote my mission statement out but it was that one statement that set me off on a new pathway. The mistake I kept repeating was that I was focused on my big goals. But as James Clear teaches,

“You need to set a system, not a goal.”

Just as my eighth grade basketball coach taught me through John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success,” set big dreams but execute small.

John Wooden set up systems for his UCLA Bruins to win 10 consecutive NCAA championships. His goal was never to win the national championship but by setting up these habits, he instilled the mindset of habits win championships and the score will take care of itself.

One habit he did at the first practice every year was teaching his players how to put their socks on correctly. It sounds mundane but his mindset was if you could learn that, you were much more unlikely to miss game time due to blisters and foot challenges. My eighth grade basketball coach did the same thing and I never missed a game due to blisters.

So when I heard Tony say this when I went back home, I shared this with my mentor, Bill, and we put together habits that would help me achieve my biggest dreams.

For the next year, I dreamt big, executed small, and in 1995 hit that big dream of being the top salesperson for my division in the country.

Over the past several years, I have refined this process every year. On my annual “vision day,” I set up the habits I want to install for the next year and the habits I need to rid myself of. One thing I have learned from my time with Tony, my time at Strategic Coach, reading books from leaders such as James Clear, and through my experience,

My current habits have gotten me this far. But your habits determine your identity, and your identity will determine your future.

You have to determine, who you want to become and then identify the habits you need to do to become that person and the habits you need to break.

One thing I learned during my time at Strategic Coach is that every quarter, I need to identify which habits I need to have to grow and the habits I need to eliminate and then as James Clear writes, put systems in place to do it.

An example of this is when I made the call to go back into the Hudson River to raise money to support The Navy SEALS.

I had a big dream but not the habits to achieve it in 100 days. So in April 2022, I put in the habits for each area of my life to support this audacious dream.

I did what Strategic Coach teaches, put the habit in to find my who’s for my hows. I started to look at the gains I was making instead of the gap of how am I going to get there. I put new habits into my diet to lower my sugar intake ( a habit I had to rid myself of ), and increase essential amino acids. I put the habit in to get up every morning at 3:50 am to swim and workout because showing up is over 50% of the battle along with other habits I set up along the way.

100 days later I swam with my wingman Suzanne, the 3.1 miles and raised over $5000 for our heroes.

After that experience, I changed that habit of updating my habits quarterly to monthly. I dreamt bigger, and executed small. I refined the habit I wrote about in my blog “The Strategy to Selling in a Post-Trust World” and in 2023 was one of the top five salespeople at Oracle, retiring on top.

If you want to start to have a LIMITLESS LIFE, start dreaming bigger. Look at the habits that have helped you grow, and the habits that have held you back. Research those who have achieved the dream you desire and find out what habits they did to achieve it, model those habits! EMBRACE THE UNCERTAINTY!

Refine them for your lifestyle, execute small, and the TRANSFORMATION will begin and in a matter of days, you too will get that dream and be on your pathway to living a LIMITLESS LIFE!