I don’t often tell people about my dreams because i usually don’t like hearing other people’s dream stories. They are often boring and irrelevant to real life and, frankly, most dreams have that “you-had-to-be-there” feel. However, recently i had a dream that left me puzzled when i woke up, but while contemplating the scenes in my head while taking a shower the meaning suddenly came to me and it all made sense. i think the meaning applies to us all.
When i think about this dream i feel like it’s making me a better leader.
I was walking through a small mountain town with two fly fishing rods strapped to my backpack when i was approached by a group of locals asking me if i knew how to fly fish. When i told them that i love to fly fish i then found myself surrounded by a crowd of curious local villagers. They were fascinated by the idea of the graceful art of fly fishing. I was pleased to walk with them to a local stream so they could observe what fly fishing looks like and feels like. In real life, I’m always pleased to share my knowledge of casting a fly with anyone who’s interested.
As we got to the stream i realized the small crowd had now grown to a large crowd and they were pressing into me with eager anticipation of what was about to happen. Literally, i could feel the crowd of people pushing into my back as i got closer to the stream. Now, at the edge of the stream, i was trying to walk along the bank, but the pressure from the crowd pressing in on me would often cause my foot to slip off the slippery bank and into the water. I had to quickly regain my balance on the banks of the stream. There was nothing i could do to get them off my back and the balancing act to stay out of the water felt like i was a tightrope walker, not a fly fisher.
Finally, at a place where i could cast a line, i pulled out my rod and began casting. At first it was tough to raise the line high enough to get my backcast over the heads of the eager onlookers. They continued to press into me as i was casting. They gave me no room to make the perfect graceful casts that i love so much. As i adjusted my cast to compensate for the crowd i found myself making beautiful, soft presentations onto the slow-moving water in front of me. As i slowed down my breathing and began to relax and have fun i found that the casts were gorgeous and graceful just like i love them. With every cast the fly would lay gently on the water and the crowd was in awe.
Then i woke up.
I jumped in the shower still confused and humored by such a strange dream. But when the meaning came to me while i was brushing my teeth i knew this was a lesson worth remembering. When leading anything – whether big or small – the pressures will mount. You will feel the crowd pressing in and you will often feel your foot slipping off the path and into the cold water below. Despite the mounting pressure, we must perform with grace and elegance. Not distracted by the pressure, but focused on the goal, we can achieve unbelievable results that defy the odds that are against us.
So that’s my little dream. I hope it encourages you today. People are observant so take a deep breath, slow down, and lead well.