I have a knack for making up one-liners. I call them “zingers.” Growing up on a family farm and then professionally farming for over a decade, I learned that farmers have their own language. Many of my zingers originate from this time in my life. Some of these little taglines are fun and light while others have a bite to them.
To me, zingers are really just a starting point for deeper things. In fact, a few of my taglines have become well-thought-out philosophies about life. Once I joined the promotional products industry, I developed zingers around employee recognition and culture-building. Here are some of my favorites:
- In regard to smart people, doing stupid things: “Don’t piss into the wind if you don’t want to get wet.”
- About starting a business: “I didn’t have a pot to piss in.”
- About employee recognition: “You have to believe in it to make it work.”
- In regard to “The WOW Effect”™: “You have to feel it to understand it.”
- Regarding business outcomes: “The proof is in the pudding.”
- In regard to leadership: “A leader is a reader.”
- About life: “Life is happening for me, not to me.”
Zingers are fun, aren’t they?
Now let’s get back to the deep stuff. I mentioned that I have developed a few deeper philosophies about life and business.
The first one is called the “6 D’s to Destiny.” The 6 D’s explains the essential steps that you need to take to find and live your ultimate destiny in life.
When I look back at my career, I can see each one of the 6 D’s playing an important role in my development as a leader. A few years ago, I shared this idea with my company in hopes of inspiring others to pursue their dreams and find their destiny.
I began my speech by asking the crowd, “What is your dream in life?”
I clarified, “What is your dream in life? Not just here at work, but in your life?”
“Do you want to travel? Write? Create artwork or music? Buy a house? Have a family? Own a business of your own?”
The pathway to destiny starts with a dream.
Dream is the first D.
I went on to share my personal story. At age 10, I dreamt of owning my own business. My parents were business owners. I sat with them one day, listening as they negotiated on behalf of their business. There was a lot of tension in the room as my parents fought hard for their needs. The person on the other side of the table finally agreed to support my parents in their endeavor. The negotiation was an ultimate win for my parents that made us all feel ecstatic, hopeful, and full of optimism.
I was only 10, but I was instantly hooked. From then on, anything business-related was my thing. I read business books, read the paper, and listened and learned from my parents, soaking up all that I could in those years.
I turned back to the crowd, and I asked them again:
“What is your dream? Do you have the desire to make that dream real? Can you imagine how you would feel living out your dream? How would that change your life?”
As they sat in reflection, I shared the second D with them. Desire. I told my listeners that I used the feelings of desire that I had as a 10-year-old to propel my adult self forward as I dared to dream of owning my own business.
I went on to tell my audience that if their desire is real, the feelings they have for their dream will not go away. If those feelings are unwavering over time, they will prove to be strong enough to handle the ups and downs that come with chasing dreams.
So many people dream about what they will do or get or become. They can know what they want to accomplish and can even imagine what it will feel like to realize their dream, but they don’t pull the trigger. Making the decision to pursue a dream is a defining moment in reaching destiny. Decision is the third D.
The decision step takes guts, courage, and faith. The only difference between fear and courage is faith. Courageous people are all around us. They may be fearful, but their faith gives them the courage to step forward, move ahead in spite of their fear, and go for it.
The next D is Determination. Determination is the unrelenting drive to reach a goal. Lack of resolve is the primary cause of the failure rate of so many startup companies. Believing that things will work out and you will bask in the light of fulfillment one day is the fuel that drives determination.
There was a dark day that my employees made it clear that they didn’t believe in me. They really thought I’d fail. I asked myself, “If my employees don’t believe in me, does that mean I quit? Do I believe what they think of me? Will I let other people decide my future?” I decided that no, others would not dictate my course and my future. That decision is safe only with me.
The decision to hold my future in my own hands, with complete disregard for the people that didn’t share in my dream, is one of the most significant decisions I made in my life. Choosing first to believe in oneself is perhaps the most defining decision any person can make. This is determination in action.
My crowd was silent, intensely listening to me as I shared with them this personal, vulnerable story of truth from my life.
Then I launched into the fifth D which is Discipline. It is rigid and hard. It’s doing whatever works over and over and over again with precision and predictability. Discipline is the structure upon which destiny is built. Realizing your destiny is impossible without discipline and consistent practice.
The day that you reach a point of personal fulfillment in the midst of this disciplined approach – going after your dream with desire and determination – is the day you have reached your Destiny. Tony Robbins says it best this way:
“Success without the sense of achievement is the ultimate failure, but success with a sense of achievement is the ultimate success.”
Fulfillment lives in your heart. It is a feeling and it is a list of accomplishments. You need both in order to experience your ultimate destiny.
The story I share here reveals the steps that I took to live my dream. I can honestly say that I have reached a point of fulfillment. The 6 D’s is what got me from start to finish and I believe that the 6D’s can have meaning for any person and any dream. And now, I aspire to help others see their dreams become reality.
So now I ask: what about you? What about your dreams? How can you use the 6 D’s to reach fulfillment?
Please share your thoughts with me.