Lofty Dreams

By Scott Westerman (Audio)

High performance people trade in the currency of lofty dreams. They are always reaching for the next level.

That sounds great in motivational messages, like those I share with you each week.

Are lofty dreams always the right prescription?

I had lunch with Circuit Judge Adrian Soud this week. He’s still young and a brilliant jurist. I asked him what’s next in his career.

“I could spend the rest of my life in this role and be supremely happy,” he said. “I’ve found my sweet spot.”

I’m guilty of encouraging continuous upward progress. But sometimes life is just fine right where you are.

There’s an old Tumblr post recirculating from a user with the moniker Libraford that resonated with me this week.

Libraford posits that, “People assume that everyone MUST want to move upwards… from worker to manager, to district manager, eventually owner.

“But I always think of growth like plants.

“Aspens grow tall to reach the sun, for sure. But dandelions grow deep, understanding themselves fully so that if some misguided fool tries to uproot them, they’d have to try damn hard. And then there’s thyme and other creeping plants, which spread themselves out so much that if you chop a part of it off, it spawns new roots elsewhere.”

Libraford concludes with this bit of wisdom. I’m paraphrasing.

“It’s okay to bracket your aspirations. You know what kind of plant you are better than anyone else.”

Lofty dreams are great. We need people who press the edge of career convention or innovation turns into stagnation.

But if you’re paying the rent, saving a little for the future and are happy where you are, that’s totally ok. Enjoy the present!