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Winning With People Lesson #8: Encourage the Dreams of Others

Have you ever told anyone your dreams? Recently my six-year old son Matthew asked me, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” “A professional baseball player,” I said with great certainty. Then my memories went right to someone in my family telling me when I was 12, “You have no shot of making it.”  That was 31 years ago but it still stings. I actually did play all the way to college and played one year in an adult wooden bat league. Just good enough to not embarrass myself most days.

As a coach, mentor and trainer I am privileged to hear the goals and dreams of many. A privilege I never take lightly as it shows a great deal of courage and trust. I am very conscious of the power of my response. The wrong word, tone or body language can crush a person’s dream; the right word can inspire him or her to pursue it. If someone thinks enough of you to tell you about his or her dreams, take care. And keep these things in mind to encourage the person:

Understand That Dreams Are Fragile: Unfortunately many people don’t like seeing other people pursue their dreams. It reminds them of how far they are from living their own dreams. As a result, they try to knock them down. When I teach youth leadership sessions I share that your success will be directly correlated to the five people you spend the most time with. So don’t spend time with people who are dream killers. 

To Lose a Dream is a Great Loss: Our dreams keep us alive. Benjamin Franklin observed, “Most men die from the neck up at age 25 because they stop dreaming.” That’s why it is critical to not only keep your own dreams in the forefront but encourage the dreams of those around you. If you find yourself absent of dream supporters in your inner-circle create a mastermind group of individuals who are seeking to do more and be more. Meet every week in person or by video to stay accountable to your dream. 

Encouraging Others in Their Pursuit of a Dream is To Give Them a Wonderful Gift: Because dreams are such a gift we must do everything we can to help them become a reality. John Maxwell encourages you to follow these six steps (p.57):

  1. Ask others to share their dream with you.
  2. Affirm the person as well as the dream.
  3. Ask about the challenges they must overcome to reach their dream.
  4. Offer your assistance. 
  5. Revisit their dream with them on a consistent basis. 
  6. Determine daily to be a dream booster. 

People Will Live Up to Their Dreams When They Have a Chance to Fulfill Them: I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors put their belief in me and not only encourage me to reach my dream, but built a platform for me to do so. When you come to the end of your life, wouldn’t you love to be the person who others say, “I succeeded because this person believed in me when no one else did”? Start encouraging others. The more you do, the more they will share, and the more likely they will succeed. 

 To apply John’s teaching to your life:

Forget about:

Critiquing another person’s dream. Instead, affirm his lofty vision and his pursuit to realize it. 


Who can I encourage today in reaching their dreams?

Do it: 

Offer specific help in bringing another person closer to making his or her dream a reality. 


When a person shares his or her dreams with you, it is the center of that person’s soul. 

This blog was written by Dr. Tom Miller, Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team, based on the award winning book 25 Ways to Win With People by John Maxwell. 

Free Gift If You Are Open: If you would like your team, your staff, or your students to hear lessons on how to Put Your Dreams to the Test, overcome the fear of failure and learn key steps to success, then reach out today and schedule a session today. The first one is my gift to you! Email me at [email protected] with the subject line Dreams!



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