Category Archives: Live life more fully

Path to Awesome

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, February 24, 2013

Make-A-Wish originally sent me a link to the video “A Pep Talk from Kid President to You” but since then it has popped up all over the place. I’ve watched it many times now, and I still love it each time. Short and sweet, and straight to the point…he’s talking my language. Check it out, learn something, laugh, get moving, make a difference, enjoy it. Here are some nuggets from Kid President:

  • It’s time to do something.” (yep, agreed, go look at your dream list or add something to it, and then pick a few…go do it…it’s your time!)
  • But what if there really were two paths…I want to be on the one that leads to awesome.” (Me too! This is why I suggest creating a hopefully long list of dreams and goals – because until you REALLY think about your future/dreams, and write them down, you can’t even make the decision about what path you’re on. You’ve got to start somewhere…make that listyour list…choose YOUR path…what have you been putting off for way too long?…take those first steps…it could make all the difference)
  • Don’t stop believing… unless your dream is stupid…then you should get a better dream.” (Ha! Your accountability partner won’t judge you…your dream list won’t be offended…switch dreams as much as you need to…the point is to start moving and then stay moving – your dream list and focus will take care of itself). Believe in your dreams. Be sure to include dreams that help others and make connections with those around you. We’re all in this crazy life together, and we only become more fulfilled by genuinely believing in others and sharing all aspects (ups and downs) of our own journeys.
  • What will be your Space Jam? What will you create to make the world awesome? Nothin’ if you keep sittin’ there…you were made to be awesome.” (How can you resist this kid? You’ve been pep talked!!). You can do anything that you dream of…don’t worry about having a detailed plan to get there – believe in yourself and take that first step…the rest will come.

Orange You Happy

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, January 29, 2013

Why do we create our dream lists? In it’s simplest form…happiness. That’s it. It all boils down to happiness. Putting that smile on our face, or someone else’s. Living life. Having some fun along the way. Helping others. Making connections. Who doesn’t want happiness?

A year ago I had never heard of or had a connection with the Samaritan’s group in Boston…but a lot can change in a year. They are focused on suicide awareness and prevention and they have a series of social experiments going on as part of their “Happier Boston” campaign. Their goals align perfectly with the power of how I pursue dreams:

“making sure that peoples’ voices are heard, we help them feel better about themselves and their lives. In our experience, when people are heard, they go from feeling overwhelmed to empowered, from discouraged to encouraged, from feeling all alone to being part of a bigger community

How many of you have felt varying degrees of being overwhelmed, discouraged, or alone when facing your dreams, goals, or any other challenges in life?

I’ve been there.

It’s frustrating at times. It’s hard to stay positive all the time. Things will get better. Your future is bigger and brighter than you can ever imagine. But we’ve got to get through today first.

Simple frameworks (such as suggested in The Dream Manager) can help…capturing dreams, sharing dreams, achieving dreams, meeting informally & regularly with a peer (accountability or dream partner) – they all help you feel better about yourself and your life…and empowered, encouraged, and connected to part of a bigger community. And this all leads back to happiness.

Here are some of the events the Samaritan’s are doing to help people find happiness every day:

  • Welcome parties at the T (subway) for Monday morning commuters in Boston
  • Asking people to list places that make people happy (“happy spots lead to happy thoughts”)
  • Singing a cappella to people in elevators (this one is my favorite)
  • Giving away oranges (“orange you happy”)
  • Hi Five in the 5th at Fenway Park (high 5’s to everyone around you in the 5th inning)

You can check out their videos here: They were also profiled on the Today show if you’re interested in seeing more about their activities. You can’t help but smile at these events – they engage you and make you happy.

Whether you add something on your dream list or just take the time to spread some happiness, I challenge you to think of how you can build connections and make someone around you smile EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. I won’t sing in the elevator but I’m definitely up for High Five Friday’s 🙂

Fire Starter Sessions

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, October 12, 2012

I’ve started some fires.


Burned a whole house down.

The fire department put it out seven times…but I lit that sucker eight times.

True story.

That’s my fire behind me.


It was an amazing day being a real fire starter. The energy, adrenaline, uncertaintly, risk, and intensity made for an incredible experience. Although Danielle LaPorte is talking about a different kind of fire starting in The Fire Starter Sessions it has a lot of the same feelings and emotions!

Her book is full of energy & in-your-face affirmations – you can’t help but get pumped up as you read it. She has some good questions and exercises. One of my favorites would be to answer these questions for every item on your dream list:

  • I want this because… (“repeat the thought until you feel like you’ve hit on the heart of the matter”)
  • How does (or will) this dream make me feel? Get to those true emotions & feelings. Stay focused on your feelings. This is true clarity. Open heart, open mind.

Understanding those questions about all of our dreams is so powerful. What are we chasing? Why do we want it? Why do we really want it? In her words…

Our dreams and desires define us, whether they are broken, scarcely remembered, on the verge of reality, or in full bloom. Dreams pilot our choices and shape the landscape of our lives. We get so many societal messages about what the Right Dream is that it gets hard to decipher what our own dream is. The pandemic that we have of over-consumption is directly related to this concept of dreaming big, bigger, biggest-possible big. Big can be bountiful, but what if your dream is to live simply – to have enough? Not more than enough – but enough. The trouble with dreams hinged to goals is that many goal-setting lists are as one-dimensional as shopping lists: get house by the water with hardwood floors; get married; have two kids, preferably twins; run a half marathon. Attaining these things could be the work of your soul or a mindless pursuit. Are your aspirations a vocational impulse or a competitive sport? Are you trying to impress your dead ancestors or leave your mark on the world? If your goals aren’t synched with the substance of your heart, then achieving them won’t matter much.

Make your dreams yours. Know why they are important to you. Chase them.

Just like my experience…it may take you eight attempts (or many more) to get that fire burning but you’ve got to keep after it! Here’s her final rah-rah speech from the book – enjoy. Now. 🙂

Now works. You’re here for a reason. And that reason is yours to define. Make it something amazing and really full of love and things that feel hot. Be unreasonable. Be scared if you need to be. Just keep moving. Feeling. Asking. Don’t take sh*t, and for the love of God, please don’t settle. Just keep choosing. Make lots and lots and lots of choices. You are writing the movie script of your life. Desire. Lights. Action! (Some tears.) You’re a hero on an adventure. This is it. This is the adventure. Creativity. Change. Livelihood. Art. People. Leadership. Legacy. Score. Money. Gain. Failure. Pride. Industry. Simple. Love. LOVE. Oh, love. It’s all about love in the end. And in the beginning. So start now, today, here. Let it be simple, easy, electric. Be surprised, be new, be true, be you. Now.

Keep pushing…always

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, September 25, 2012

I’ve wondered before if someone would have talked to me about dreams & goals in a way that related to me at an earlier age if I would have listened & if my life would have been different in any way. Or would I have given it the same limited attention as I did to career placement tests and guidance counselor input that never resonated or connect with me then. What would my dream list have looked like at the age of 20 versus 40, and what would already be accomplished? I gave all three of my kids dream books a year ago – it’s fun to see what they write or draw in there. They absolutely remind me to dream without boundaries and to keep it fun 🙂

Martin Dugard is an endurance athlete and world adventurer who shares life lessons as a high school track coach in To Be a Runner. I really liked this book. He focuses on pushing yourself and challenging personal limits as a regular part of your life, and continually reinforces his mantra of “Keep pushing…always”. He uses the term “quest” (or adventure or odyssey) instead of dream or goal – they’re all the same. Create a target – call it whatever you want – and then aim for it. Many of his lessons tie perfectly to a simple framework I’ve been doing such as is suggested in The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly:

  • “with so many in the world all too happy to bask in mediocrity – settling instead of pushing – those who learn to be the best version of themselves know the secret to a full life.”
  • At the start of each running season he has each runner write down 3 dreams which he gives back to them at the end of the season (one is personal, another for the team, and the third is where they see themselves in 10 years). He refers to the third dream as:
  • “a gut check, one that requires them to see the people they desire to become, exploring parts of themselves they reveal to few people – and maybe not even to themselves. You need to be honest with yourself and your desires, knowing in the back of your mind that controlling destiny is a fifty-fifty blend of aspiration and fate…It’s my wish that during the season they will have traveled so far as athletes and achieved so much that once seemed impossible, that they will have come to possess the building blocks of perseverance, determination and grit that will guide them to the fulfillment of those final dreams.”

    Wow – exactly what I believe having (and actively chasing) my list of goals and dreams does:

  • Getting to know yourself better. That’s why we work to create a list of 100 dreams, not 10 or 20, and why I ask so many thought provoking questions in the initial dream session. Stretch yourself and learn to be comfortable in your own skin! Keep working to get your dream list to 100!!
  • Building blocks. This is one of the key ways that I rationalize the support of personal dreams in the workplace. Learning to achieve personal dreams pays off by what employees can then get accomplished at work. It doesn’t matter where you get those building blocks – we can’t separate our personal from our professional. Develop great habits and you can’t help but apply them everywhere!

And here’s where it all comes together in Martin’s book:

Keep pushing is a reminder not to settle but to dream, to live, to sing, and sometimes it’s about letting go of the past to fulfill your destiny. Keep pushing is not about rituals, performance, accomplishment, achievement, or feeling guilty about taking a day off from the pursuit of a quest. It is a pursuit of that best possible version of ourselves, refusing to accept mediocrity, and waking up each day full of hope instead of fear. It’s having courage, taking a risk, staying focused on the important things in life. And it’s remembering that courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to press forward despite your fears…Because Keep pushing…always is also a reminder that life is sometimes about letting go – even giving up a dream – without sacrificing the personal qualities that make those talents and aspirations possible…I figure as long as I live each day with that sort of mind-set, whatever random fears I have of settling or letting mediocrity seep into my life will be kept at bay just one more day – even if it means depending upon three simple words to find courage when I have none.”

What a great quote! Who’s got a personal mantra that reminds them to stay active and dreaming? Maybe I’ll add finding one to my dream list…until then…Keep pushing…always!

Before I Die I Want To…

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, September 14, 2012

Of all the people I thought would support me in my dreams & goals, I wouldn’t have even considered JCPenny to be in that group. But then they spammed me recently with a “You’re Not Dreaming” email. Maybe my interpretation is a bit different than what their marketing department had in mind, but I couldn’t believe that JCPenny had focused on me long enough and thought “Dave has stopped dreaming”. Grrrrr. If JCPenny can see it there must be some truth to it. Gotta do something about that! I took it as a challenge, reviewed my dream list and ended up adding 3 new dreams last weekend!!

We all have highs & lows and periods of distractions & focus. It’s so important not to lose focus on our goals and short- & long-term plans for too long. If you need a burst of energy and want to see examples of what people all over the world have on their “dream lists” then check out the video of the “Before I die I want to” TED talk by Candy Chang.

Here’s a quote from the video:

“Two of the most valuable things we have are time and our relationships with other people. In our age of increasing distractions it’s more important than ever to find ways to maintain perspective and remember that life is brief and tender…preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life…shared spaces can better reflect what matters to us as individuals and as a community; with more ways to share our hopes, fears, and stories, people around us not only help us make better places, they help us lead better lives.”

Before I die I want to __________

How would you fill in that blank? What’s the one thing you would write on that line?

Write it down. Tell somebody about it. Pause. Reflect.

Ok…what’s stopping you from doing it??? Get moving before JCPenny sends you a reminder!!!

Here are a few more related links to Candy’s TED topic:

p.s. Seems like JCPenny took note of my recent re-focus on dreaming again – this week’s email is”Denim: More Choices than ever” 😉

Punkin Chunkin – Dream Squashers

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, July 26, 2012

So who watches Modern Family? I don’t on a regular basis but a friend of mine (who I introduced to creating a list of dreams) told me I had to watch the “Punkin Chunkin” epsiode. In this episode the families end up pitting the “dreamers” vs. the “Pritchetts” (“Pritchett” is a family name on this show). The dreamers see their dreams repeatedly squashed throughout this show by the “practical Pritchetts” which culminates in a bet about whether a pumpkin can be launched across a football field into the sunroof of a car. The dreamers initially fail but then the Pritchetts rally to revive the dream. There are some great quotes from this episode:

  • “There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You’d think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists but more often than not the opposite is true. You see the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists, well, without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground.“;
  • “You squelch me right when I’m about to soar…Don’t let these negative nellies drag you down.”;
  • “Here we have the skeptics, the dream squashers, the Pritchetts. Here we have the dreamers, the artists, the visionaries. Let’s settle this, Dreamers vs. Pritchetts.”;
  • (while defending squashing other people’s dreams) “If we didn’t do this to them the world would.”

I don’t know that I would have chosen those exact words…but I think so much of this is true. I’m a Pritchett (with some Dreamer tendencies every so often). I squash my own dreams (too much money; too impractical; too much time focused on me). Can anyone relate? Or are any of you dreamers that struggle with how to move forward or stay focused? It was hard for me to list 100 dreams – and really hard for me to list the fun, impractical, “there’s no way I can ever do that” dreams. But it’s so key to create your list without filtering or censoring your dreams. If you think it, write it. Add it to your list. Don’t worry about money, time, etc – not yet. Tweak your list. Add to it. Tweak it. Repeat. See what bubbles to the top. And then (this is where you need a Pritchett to help you) choose steps (small steps are fine too) towards making those dreams happen.

The world needs the Dreamers and the Pritchetts. We feed off each other. It’s all of us working together and sharing our dreams and ideas that keeps the world fun and full of and energy and makes great things happen all around us. So…who wants to help me chunk some pumpkins later on?

Being You and Being Cool With That

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, June 22, 2012

My company had a “Global Corporate Challenge” a few years ago as part of a wellness program. I think they had it right by challenging us every so often. One weekend the challenge was to beat your personal best step count. So how about a dream challenge too?

I challenge you to add 3 dreams to your dream or goal list TODAY

What? You don’t have a dream list started? Then you’ve got it easy. The Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly, is one such simple framework that suggests 12 categories for your dreams (physical, emotional, material, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, professional, financial, creative, adventure, character and legacy). Write your dreams down wherever you want – and don’t hold back – don’t censor your dreams – don’t think about all the reasons you can’t do something or why it doesn’t belong on your dream list. There’s plenty of time to tweak your list later on. I’ve found several times that I wasn’t sure why I was writing down an initial dream (or I thought I knew the primary reason) only for the true purpose behind it to become clear later on – get those out of your head and on paper and give those dreams a chance. Do it now! Trust the journey.

It’s so easy to doubt our own dreams. It’s your list – you don’t have to share it – at least not all of it (but you’ll find that sharing dreams gives them power). Neil Pasricha does a TED talk on the Three A’s of Awesome (Attitude, Awareness, and Authenticity). You can watch the talk to see his “awesome” examples, have a few laughs and hear his important message about how short life can be and why we all need to enjoy life now. I love his points on authenticity which he sums up as “being you and being cool with that” – that’s what our dreams are all about. He gives an example of Rosey Grier who, in addition to being on the “Fearsome Foursome” as a professional football defensive linesman, also published a book titled, Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men. That’s definitely being comfortable in your own skin and following your heart! Here’s a final quote from Neil…have fun, dream big, and let me know when you’ve added 3 dreams to your list this weekend:

If you feel that sense of wonder and beauty in all the tiny joys in life then you’re part of an international band of old souls and optimists, smiling on sidewalks, dancing at weddings, and flipping to the other side of the pillow. Let’s all high five and keep thinking wild thoughts, dreaming big dreams, and laughing loud laughs.

3 Levels of Happiness

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, June 1, 2012

I cut out a Mother Goose & Grimm cartoon from last week’s comics where a jar of glue is laying on a psychiatrist’s couch. The psychiatrist says to the jar of glue, “You should stop getting attached to material things.”

Can anyone relate? Those things & toys & must-have-it-nows fall into one of the classic dream categories (Material), and they often bring us instant pleasure and are easy to scratch off our dream lists – so go for it, buy, buy, buy and put a smile on your face right now!

But beware that your smile will likely fade sooner than you would like…and if you don’t have a game plan in life you may quickly be in search of the next purchase to make you feel happy again. This may be easier to see in others than in yourself – think of those around you who may be in this pattern. Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos), in his great book Delivering Happiness, defines 3 levels of happiness…pleasure, passion, and higher purpose. Guess which one he calls the “rock star” type of happiness (i.e., it’s hard to sustain unless you’re living the life of a rock star) and is the shortest lasting? Yep, pleasure – once the stimuli are gone the happiness level drops immediately. Passion happiness (characterized as “being in the zone” or “when time flies by”) lasts even longer, and higher purpose happiness, lasts the longest yet. Tony suggests most of us are doing it backwards, and that to achieve long term happiness we should start with pursuing our higher purpose, layer passion on top of that, and have that drive our pleasure happiness.

If only that were as easy as it sounds – but I get his point. We all want happiness, but far too often we make short-term decisions in the pursuit of happiness that may not align with (and could rob from) our long-term passion & higher purpose. So…create your dream list…100 dreams (yes, creating a list of this many dreams should really force you beyond your comfort zone)…look at that list, reflect on it…see if you can get a glimpse of your passion & higher purpose in life, and then you won’t have to worry so much about how long your latest new “toy” will keep you happy 🙂

Make your own d@mn sandwiches

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, May 22, 2012

Maybe some of you have heard this one before…

A story about Mike, who visited Seattle, and encountered an old priest who got up early every morning, made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, walked downtown, and gave them to the homeless. Mike was moved by the old priest’s good deeds. So when he got home Mike wrote the priest a check and sent it to him, saying it was to help his ministry. A few weeks later Mike got the check back in the mail with a note written on the check – “Make your own d@mn sandwiches.”

This applies to so many things in life! It’s often way too easy to “write a check” when instead we should get in touch with the details of life and work. It’s about getting involved, getting connected, and making conscious decisions. We need to work with others, get our hands dirty, make a difference, and experience life.

Watch out for all those around you. Listen to others. REALLY listen. Create some dreams that involve staying in touch with people around you and REALLY connecting with them. You never know when that could make all the difference in the world. So, cherish today, plan for tomorrow, be intentional with your dreams and your purpose in life, and let’s all start making our own d@mn sandwiches:

  • explore your dreams;
  • write them down (100 is the goal!);
  • commit to achieving them by taking steps every day

Let me know how I can help with those dreams.

Do Less to Do More

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, May 6, 2012:

I liked this quote from a book I recently read (Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less, by Marc Lesser) and personally see how this absolutely relates to the focus that my dream list provides to me:

To accomplish more by doing less involves a simple yet profound transformation: it’s a different way of being in the world. You may, in fact, be no less busy, but you will be less scattered and distracted, and you will accomplish more of what matters to you: more of what aligns with your deepest purpose and intention; more of what brings you satisfaction and connection with others; more of what you believe really needs to get done. Doing less and accomplishing more is about aligning your actions with your values and your particular passions. And finally, by becoming more peaceful and at peace with yourself, you will spread that into the world, which will become that much more peaceful and sane as a result.

So who else has a dream list of 100 dreams? I do. Can you relate to this quote? I can. Taking the time to create and refine your dream list will have a profound impact on your life – trust me. It does. Creating a dream list will provide focus in ways you can’t yet imagine. Trust me.