dream big / want less

There is no better place than New York City to see the biggest and brightest (literally Times Square can blind you) dreams come true. All the struggling artists and actresses are dreaming big to get more - working multiple jobs to make reality out of the stage in their dreams. Big > BIGger > BIGGEST

The biggest dreams are always best, so they say. I won't say it's a bad idea - the big dreaming. I love dreams - love to share mine and love to hear others'. I love dreaming and people who do it well.

What I don't love is that dreams seem to be synonymous with MORE. Why do our dreams have to point us in the direction of wealth and status and fame?

I sat next to a most charming man on the plane to Chicago. He manages money for a wealthy family in Dubai and has for the past six years. From the sound of it, his boss's pockets are deep. My friend Tom's job is to invest capital so there is more capital to invest. He deals almost exclusively with BIG, if you know what I mean, and apparently he is really good at it.

Last week Tom was at a conference where 850 of the best and brightest entrepreneurs (his sister also happens to be a genius who owns several non-profit start up companies in NYC) met to share ideas, strategies, and success stories. These are the type of people who sell their companies over the weekend for $150 million without blinking (that really happened to the guy sitting next to Tom).

Do you know what the most popular session was at this conference? Relationships.

Yep, a psychologist got up on stage and started talking about life outside of 100 hour work weeks and efficient business practices and emerging markets. This is the message that captivated the brilliant crowd and filled their lunch, coffee, and dinner conversations. Relationships. Apparently, people with extremely successful entrepreneurial lives struggle most with their relationships.

I tell you this because my friend Tom asked me what I was going to do in New York, like for work. I said something about my passion for people and communities and specifically the impact neighborhoods have on some of the worst societal problems. Since his sister has her hand in several non-profit companies and a background in education, we talked about the "education space" and how it expands beyond the classroom. We talked about the trouble with "the system" and how it is unfortunately misused and manipulated and how that prevents effectiveness in improving communities and schools. We talked about how there needs to be better accountability.

And then he said to me, "Have you ever thought of just starting something on your own?" I blinked and then said, "Well, yes, actually. I have... but a person needs capital for that or brilliant connections. Right now, I have neither."

He suggested I could form a platform that would provide the service of accountability to government and charity programs. I chuckled a little bit because his brilliance has trained him to always expand to the biggest dreams for the biggest returns. I suppose that is probably how it works in managing capital - you do it best when you do it big because it’s always about making more.

But, you know what I said to him?

“It's about relationships.”

Just like he heard at that conference in Salt Lake City and just like those millionaires couldn't stop talking about. No matter how many brilliant, efficient systems develop to respond to the real problems of neighborhoods, the most important component of any program is the relationships that form as it is carried out.

I don't buy the Big > BIGGER > BEST model when best is about adding more - more influence or status or wealth.

I believe the biggest dreams can also look like less.

I don't know if my new friend Tom would agree, but it was an interesting conversation.