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In this Best of Series episode, we hear from speaker and author, Mitch Matthews of Dream, Think, Do, on bringing science to dreaming, and igniting your career.
I interviewed Mitch for this podcast back in June 2018.
Mitch is a keynote speaker, success coach, and best-selling author.
He speaks to student, corporate, non-profit, and association audiences around the world on the power of ‘dream, think, do'.
In 2006, Mitch held a big dream gathering, which was originally supposed to be something his friends and family could do for a few hours to get clear on their dreams. But this simple concept became a movement that hasn't stopped since and thousands of dreams have been launched as a result!
Mitch has his own podcast called “Dream, Think, Do.” where he inspires people around the world to dream bigger, think bigger, be better, and do more
In this episode, you’re going to hear Mitch talk about:
- The original Dream Gatherings and their growth to massive events
- Where people go wrong with their dreaming and what the way is to get it right – and the science behind this
- The importance of sharing our dreams, and
- Why even dream jobs will have 20% suck factor.
Connecting with Mitch Matthews
You can connect with Mitch via his website and his podcast.
Books and resources
- The Dip – by Seth Godin
- Ignite – by Mitch Matthews (FREE Audiobook)
- Dream Job Redefined – by Mitch Matthews
- TEDX Talk – by Mitch Matthews
“Dreams tend to have back doors; you’ll go after a dream and sometimes you achieve it, but sometimes in that pursuit, it leads you to something else entirely. Something better.”
On early career lessons
- If I had to put a phrase over my childhood it was, “I was scared but I did it anyway.”
- I was afraid of everything, but I was also like a pitbull to a bone; once I decided to do something, even if I was scared, I went after it.
- I was just naturally curious. I would engage people in conversations and in that bike store I worked in, I'd get them talking about bikes and where they wanted to ride and what they wanted to do.
On where the career in dreaming all started
- I was so close to quitting our business, but I realised I needed to ask for help on my dream. So I was going to ask for help from my friends and I thought if I'm going to ask for help on my dream, I should probably know about their dreams. Maybe I could help them out in the process.
- So I started to hatch this idea of inviting everybody over, writing down some dreams, putting them up, and seeing if we can help each other out. I invited 30 people and 29 of them showed up. Which taught us a lot almost immediately about dreaming. There's something about doing it together.
- And after that first night, then those people brought people. By the third night, total strangers were just showing up.
- As a result, our dream got help and got back on track. A bunch of other people's dreams got help and on track. But one of the biggest things people kept telling us was, “Thank you for giving us space to dream. Thanks for giving us permission to dream and thanks for reminding us to do it together.”
- I think people are kind, especially if you give them an environment to be so.
On Dream. Think. Do.
- I wanted my three-step plan to be right out there in the open, because I do believe that dreaming needs to be separate from thinking, and then you've got to take action.
- Just let go of the word “dream” and ask yourself, “What are some things I'd love to do? What are some things I'd love to experience? Who are some people that I would love to meet?”
- We had somebody bring a list of 200 things that she wanted to do and accomplish, kind of like a bucket list. And that's beautiful, that's amazing. When you start to shift into thinking mode you need to figure out what to focus on right now given the chapter of life that you’re in. Start small and give yourself permission to focus on only a few right now. That doesn't mean they're bad dreams; it just means you're not in the right season.
- But what you can do is ask yourself, “What are some small but significant steps that I can take towards that dream, right now?”
- Doing dreams together is the encapsulation of the human spirit. When you give yourself permission to dream it does create a ripple effect and it starts to open doors for you, but it also can start to open a door for other people.
- On the flip side, sometimes that can be kind of a scary question. But it's okay if you don't have a dream yet. Start thinking to yourself, “What would I love to do? What's something that might seem crazy?” Maybe something that you don't even want to tell people because it seems so crazy.
- “What are some of my friends' dreams? What are some of my family's dreams?”
On the science behind dreaming
- When you think about the scientific method, a scientist walks into a laboratory and they have a hypothesis to prove or disprove. But effectively, they start to dream a little bit.
- A hypothesis is defined as a best guess, a well-educated guess on how something's going to go. Then you start to test your hypothesis, you review, evaluate and adjust. “What worked? What didn't? What are we going to do differently next time? What are we going to need to stop doing? What do we need to start doing?”
- And if that means stopping doing something, that's actually good – a scientist never looks at that as a failure, but rather that is learning. The only time it is a failure is if you stop too early and you don't finish the experiment.
- And so a big dream gathering is the ultimate example of an experiment.
On dream jobs and suck factor
- For my book, I went out and interviewed about 200 people that were in what they would describe as “dream jobs” and what I found is that a dream job doesn't mean the removal of all things that suck; there's suck factor to every job!
- I’d say if your suck factor is 20% or less, that’s the sweet spot, and you're probably in a good job.
On dreaming and reality
- I'm a big fan of dreaming big, but dreaming big with your eyes wide open.
- Aspire to your dream job but know that it doesn't mean that everything's always going to be perfect or easy. In fact, it's usually the reverse of that, but you need to celebrate that.
- Often you start to pursue a dream and you think it's gonna go one way. And part of the beauty of the journey is staying open and figuring out, “What am I learning as I go?”
On where we go wrong with kids
- I see sometimes we allow them to go pro too early; we force our kids to specialise and they miss out on this opportunity to experiment.
- Even when you start out on a career path and you think that this is exactly what you’re going to do for a long time, you start to specialise. And while specialising is good, the challenge is that we lose that spirit of experimentation and of learning different things.
- Take a class, not because it has a direct correlation to your given career, but just because you're interested in it. Give yourself permission to go have coffee with somebody in an entirely different industry from you, just because you're curious.
On redefining your dream job
- A dream job redefined means finding work that you love, or finding work that allows you to do something you love.
- When I thought of it this way, all of a sudden I had hope again. I wasn't entirely sure what the track was, but I felt like I was getting closer to it as it allowed me to launch something.
- For a lot of people I interviewed, it meant starting a business or finding a different career. Others started to realise that the thing they wanted to do was something that their job – which they didn't necessarily love – allowed them to do.
- “The grass is greener where you water it.”
Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders
- I see that introverts sometimes sell themselves short because they think they’re not a people person and so how can they really be a leader of people? I actually think that introverts have one up on extroverts because introverts tend to naturally be quicker to put the spotlight on someone else and to really give them the limelight, which is a powerful thing.
- “Don't be interesting. Be interested.” And it's probably one of the most profound pieces of advice I have ever had that has applied to almost everything in my life. Just connect with someone, don't focus on being interesting, but be interested. Ask questions. Be curious. Don't worry about that spotlight; put that spotlight on someone else.
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