In 1998, I got this crazy dream. I had had many dreams that others thought were crazy at the time, but I had always believed they were fairly reasonable. Yet even I knew this particular dream was crazy! However, an important point about life is that if you’re not willing to dream crazy dreams, then crazy dreams will never come true for you.
Anyway, as an engineer at Delphi, a division of General Motors, I placed pictures on my cubicle wall of an in-house movie theater, houses on the lakes, properties with forests, and yachts, to name just a few. Each of the pictures was courageously pinned on the wall. I say courageously because when new engineers joined the Delphi division, they were given a tour of the facility. Without fail, one of the last stops was my cubicle to show them the crazy pictures I had on the wall. Sure they laughed at me while the tour guide explained again why engineers don’t live like this. I didn’t like it, but it only steeled my resolve. I figured that it was better for them to laugh at me while I kept my dreams than for them to stop laughing because I had surrendered my dreams.
As I reflect back, every single picture pinned on that wall came true. In fact, many of the PC members have accomplished the pictures today. Ok, there is one picture that still hasn’t been accomplished. It’s not that it hasn’t come true; it’s still just a work-in-progress. 🙂 Some of you may have already guessed what that dream is: LIFE Island. I remember hesitating when I placed the island picture on the wall; I didn’t take placing a picture lightly because I knew it was a commitment made to myself to follow through, and this island picture was a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG (as Jim Collins calls it). Many times, I stared at that island dreaming of the day when a fleet of yachts would travel from Florida (yes, I had a Florida property on the wall) to the island.
There are two types of people reading this article. The first group will think I am crazy to dream a BHAG of this magnitude, believing there’s no way the LIFE community can achieve that. The ones in the second group, in contrast, will study the picture and feed their elephant minds. This group understands Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s proclamation, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” This article won’t teach a person how to build a LIFE business; instead, it is an expression of fourteen years of longing for an island to enjoy with my family and friends.
Can anyone else imagine the evening picnics at the beach park, cookouts, volleyball, horseshoes, and late-night conversation around the firepit all while enjoying the beautiful views and listening to the ocean surf behind us? Community and fellowship are essential for the picture I have envisioned. I can see the fleet of PC yachts making its way into the LIFE Island harbor. Laurie and I greet people as they disembark from their private yachts and ready themselves for several months of R&R on the island. As you step off your yacht, you realize that every plan, every challenge, every year was worth the effort required to achieve this victory.
The aroma of freshly grilled steaks, chicken, and fish permeates the air as you mingle among friends. Freshly squeezed fruit juices tease your taste buds as you recalibrate yourself to the island tempo. Imagine Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, George Guzzardo, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, and their lovely brides looking you in the eyes and welcoming you to the dream-come-true LIFE Island. Later, many will walk the island trails for the first time—speechless as they realize that the dream they have yearned for, the dream they have worked for, the dream they have struggled for has finally come true.
I know; I know—I must be crazy. I have been hearing the same thing for years now. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about BHAGs, it’s that if it doesn’t take your breath away, then it’s not a BHAG at all. This dream has always (and still does) taken my breath away! Today, by posting this picture, I am officially launching the quest for LIFE Island. Consider this blog as my new office wall. Go ahead and look at the picture. Now that you have seen it, here is my question: Which group do you belong to? One group will laugh now but live with the pain of sacrificed dreams later; the other group will sacrifice now but live with friends on an island of dreams later.