At the end of the day, business success comes from seeing the dream behind it realized. Wrapping up the four-part series perfectly, Ken Courtright talks about the power of your dream and why there’s no point in doing anything if you don’t know why you’re doing it. He shares great stories from dreamers and doers like Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, showing how dreams run it all—ruling our success.
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Dreams Run It ALL
This is part four of a four-part series. It is what I’m calling it the Oreo sandwich of purpose, dreaming and your why sandwiched around the struggles in business and the struggles in life. I started the first one talking about purpose, a dream and how my wife blew the audience away at Digital Footprint. I went into some pretty cool things about struggles and how I stack verticals to stay focused. When I feel times are getting tough, I re-center myself by looking at my vertical stacks. That’s episode 41. I did another one about payroll stories about some of the greatest business payroll success stories where they couldn’t meet payroll. They were backed against the wall and what some of these companies did to breakthrough. That was the previous episode 43. I’m going to wrap this up with another short show on the power of your dream, why you do what you do and why there’s no point in doing anything if you don’t know why you’re doing it.
In 1954, Walt Disney received a plaque from the President of the United States and it said, “The United States’ Largest Dreamer.” In 1954, that was one of the greatest compliments you could get. It was one of his prized possessions. Now, if someone calls you a dreamer, that is not a compliment. That’s a cut-down. What they’re saying is, “Get your head out of the clouds, get realistic, get a job and stay focused.” It’s all puke. It’s disgusting but the reality is, the people that are knocking your dream do not understand that the 1905 definition of the word ‘job’ in the dictionary was, “A temporary means of income until your business takes off.” Look that one up.
Walt Disney got a plaque for being the United States’ Greatest Dreamer. Many people don’t know he has filed bankruptcy seven times. This was before the seven-year law. Countless people bailed him out. Why? It’s because he was resolute to his dream. There was nobody SNIOPing Walt Disney. He was not susceptible to the negative influences of other people. I want to take people back to 1994. A 24-year-old gal named Kerri Ann Dean, she was not yet my wife, tried out with 2,100 women to be a Chicago Bulls’ cheerleader. I remember when Kerri was going to try out to be a cheerleader, I remember saying something like, “Good luck.” She’s like, “I don’t need luck. I’ve got this.” She knew before she went there what her skill level was. She was confident. She was not panicky. She was not, “There’s 2,000.” No. Kerri was resolute. Was she nervous? She was a little bit nervous, but she was not worried. She was resolute.
In 2015, at 45 or 46 years old, Kerri said, “I’ve had a dream. I want to go out for Mrs. Illinois Pageant.” I’m like, “Rock on, you’ve got it all day. No problem.” Who wins the People’s Choice Award? Kerri Courtright, looking all hot and awesome. I’ve got a wife who is absolutely a ballbuster, who’s got a mighty dream that she wants to own and operate a mega-corporation that she can hand it and will it down to her children. She’s an elected official so she can affect change and protect her kids in this beautiful state we live in and make sure everything’s hunky-dory. I want to bring to the attention of people the phrase, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Not what the mind can conceive. A lot of people think about some cool things, but they don’t always believe it. When you think of something and you know in your gut and in your heart of hearts, “I can do that. I’ve got this. It’s a done deal.” At that point, physical manifestation has to happen. I know in our business here, we have conceived and believed things that were eventually achieved.
There’s Henry Ford’s famous statement, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” That was the signature line of my emails for ten years. I want to go to a passage that starts off a chapter of a famous book written in 1926 by a famous person. It goes like this, “Isn’t it amazing that a man with definiteness of purpose goes through life and watches how the world steps aside and even comes beside and helps him with his aims?” Isn’t it amazing how a man with definiteness of purpose has a written goal? How many times have you been around people where they’ve set a goal? The guy that comes to my mind is Steve Jobs. He set a goal and he’s resolute. In his autobiography, he talked about reality distortion. Steve Jobs had a reality distortion field. He would say that things could be built when physically they couldn’t and 2 to 3 years later, technology would catch up with him and they could be built.You have been conditioned to let your income rule your dreams. Click To Tweet
His mind could conceive it, believe it and so it was achieved. I want to do a little exercise as we wrap up this four-part series. When you guys get home and at a desk, get out a piece of paper and I want you to be a big boy and a big girl, but I want you to pretend you’re a kid again before people have stolen your dream. I want you to write down 12 to 20 things that you want to do or become or have and don’t feel you can’t be materialistic. If you want the best Mercedes, write the car down. If you want the biggest, baddest house in the world, write that down. I have seventeen stool bars in my basement. Why? It’s because I wanted it. There’s no other reason. I wanted seventeen stool bars in my basement and nobody can steal my dream. I am not going to get SNIOPed, susceptible to the negative influences of other people.
We have business conferences here. We host huge events in our walkout basement. There’s a screen that drops down from the ceiling. I got $107,000 write off on our taxes because I put a bar in the basement. That’s my dream. Leave my dream alone. Everybody needs to have their dream. I want you to be a big boy and a big girl and get out a piece of paper. Forget the rest of the world and write no less than twelve and no more than twenty dreams. Maybe you want to retire your parents, upgrade your home, get your kids into a better school system, and eat healthier so you want a chef to cook for you once a week. I don’t know what your dreams are but write your dreams down. If they’re not written, you’re afraid of them.
Now take a separate piece of paper when you’re done with those and put it right next to your dreams. What I want you to do is, I want you to imagine that. If you have 12 to 20 dreams, I want you to divide your paper in half into 12 to 20 sections. Right now financially, if you can only achieve one of those dreams, whatever the proportion is for one of those dreams, if you divided your paper into twentieths because you have twenty dreams, whatever 1/20 of a piece of paper is I want you to divide your second piece of paper into twenty sections. If you only came up with twelve dreams divided into twelve. Take that new piece of paper to the right and divided into twelfths.
If now you can only afford one of those dreams, I want you to put a dollar sign into one of those sections because right now what’s happening is, your dreams are on the left, your checkbook or pocketbooks on the right. Proportionally, you put a dollar sign into the size of the amount of dreams. If your current checkbook can allow you to overlap and cross off one of your dreams, that’s the size of your income. If your income now can get all 12 or 20 of your dreams, you put a massive dollar sign across the whole piece of paper because your income is proportionate to your dreams. If that’s the case, you’re too small of a dreamer. You need to get a bigger dream. For the sake of argument, I’m going to pretend. I’ve done this exercise with a lot of people all over the world. Your dollar sign can probably equate to one or maybe two and a few rare cases three of your dreams.
Most people still do understand dreaming means you’re stretching yourself. The exercise for this show is this, I’m here to tell you that you have been conditioned to let your income rule your dreams. I need to do a paradigm shift with you and explain to you that throughout history, most people up until about 150 years ago, they let their dreams run their income. The industrial revolution and our school system have completely polluted our brains. My wife and I, all of our families, there’s never been a Courtright that had a job. We’re all business owners. I looked at great-grandpa Luigi Castillo’s World War I entrance record. It said, “Self-employed saloonkeeper.” I couldn’t stop laughing. He owned a bar on 92 67th Loomis in Chicago. Grandpa Luigi was fantastic but he was self-employed. He was a dreamer. The Courtrights are dreamers. Here’s what I want you to do.
Now you’ve got a source of income, I’m assuming, and that source of income. If your dollar sign is on the right side piece of paper, you point to the left side to cross off whatever one dreams you can get in the next 6, 12, 18 months. Here’s the assignment in the mandate that Ken Courtright is giving you. Moving forward, you are not ever going to let your income run your dream. You’re going to let your dream run your income. This means, you are going to on your piece of paper, put a massive dollar sign across that whole piece of paper. I don’t know what it would cost for you to get those dreams but look at your dreams closely, write down the amount of income it would take annually to get all of those dreams and do this exercise. If it’s $48 million a year, write it down. If it’s $1.1 million a year, write that down. I don’t care what it is. It is what it is.
I’m going to take you to Brian Tracy’s exercise. I believe 1997 or 2001 somewhere in that period when I was reading a lot of Brian Tracy books for the second time. I stumbled on his piece on hockey stick income. It blew my hair back and it reminded me of the whole concept of letting your dreams run your income and not your income running your dreams. Brian Tracy was curious when he found out that there’s a lot of people that go through life and they make about the same income for about twenty years, maybe $60,000 a year for twenty years in a row. With inflation, $63,000, $66,000. For twenty years in a row, they make the same amount of money and something happens and their income explodes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 times what it used to be and it never comes back down to Earth’s gravity.
It skyrockets up and it looks like a hockey stick. Meaning their income had a gradual increase over twenty years but something happened and their income went through the roof. It never came back down for another twenty years. Brian Tracy commissioned a study to interview 300 people that had the same income for twenty years, but something happened and their income went through the roof and it never came back down for twenty years. Brian Tracy was curious about what could that catalyst be? Here’s what he found out. Two hundred ninety-nine of the 300 people they interviewed in an exhaustive study had a tragedy in their life. A tragedy caused them to lose their job. It wasn’t, “I lost their job.” It was a severe loss. Meaning, maybe their name was slandered in the industry or they had physically lost their legs or something. It was tragic. They could never go back to that form of employment. The only option was that they had to start a business. That was it.
The 299 of the 300 people and I’m not telling people on this podcast to quit your job tomorrow and start a business. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is, 299 of the 300 people had a self-diagnostic. In their self-diagnostic session, they said, “I went twenty years with this company or I went twenty years in the industry and where did it get me? I’m broke. I can’t put my kid to school, buy the car I want and do what I want to do. This is not going to happen. I’m not going to go twenty more years grinding it out so I have nothing when I’m 65 to 75. I’m not going to do it.” In their self-diagnostic, they asked themselves what their dream is. What is their purpose in life? Why did God put them here? What is their reason for being here? They had a long soul searching and they came out of it and said, “I don’t care how much I make. I may be broke the rest of my life but I’m going into this industry and I’m going to enjoy every waking minute of my life in this new industry. I’m going to start a small business. I don’t know if it’s ever going to make it but I’m going to freaking love what I do.”
I hope you guys know that my wife and I love what we do. We love our site partners. We love everything about it. What’s interesting, 299 of the 300 people, I don’t know what the one guy did or the one gal did that didn’t qualify. Maybe they won the lotto and spent their money wisely but the 299 said, “I am never again going to let my income on the right piece of paper, that tiny little circle of income allow me to get whatever it can get on the left side of my dream. I’m never going to let that happen again. I’m going to let my dreams on the left side run my income. If my income stays small, that’s fine.” Guess what happened. When you are freaking passionate and I’m cutting this podcast at 11:30 PM on a Friday when most of the world is probably partying, drinking, watching Netflix and having a blast. I’m not. I’m cutting a podcast. Why? It’s because it’s the right thing to do. It’s going to help people and it’s what I love to do on a Friday at 11:30. I’m a freak.
Something tells me those 299 of the 300 people think like I do. I think they made a resolution to themselves and said, “I lost twenty years of my life chasing the dollar.” I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to go home to work. That’s the definition of insanity. We’re not going to play that game. These guys said, “We’re going to play a new game. What do we want out of life? What do we want to accomplish? What do we want for our kids? What is our dream?” They attacked a business that they loved. They said, “Screw it.” If we’re never going to have the big money, it’s fine.
Guess what happened? Two hundred ninety-nine of them, because they loved what they did to such a high level, love to serve people and help, and created great products or whatever they did, the world resonated with them. They became leaders in their industry. Everybody wanted to come and work for them. Everybody wanted to buy their products and they became ultra-wealthy because they let the dream run their life, not their income. That’s how you grow business. You let your dream run your income. You don’t let your income run your dream. See you.