Put Your Dreams On Paper….and Watch What Happens

17 years ago, I was sitting at my desk, wondering what became of my career. I was miserable, in a job I hated.

It was one of those “oh woe is me” moments that could have easily turned into a full blown malaise.

And it surely would have, if on that day I hadn’t picked up a newspaper column by Tom Peters (one of my prime leadership influences).  He wrote about changing your life,  and how it  could happen just by taking a single little step.

I wanted to change. I needed to change. I HAD to change.  But how?

I remembered some advice an old teacher of mine had given me long before, but I had yet to act upon.

It was about “putting your dreams on paper“, and how by doing so it could truly change your life.

It seemed a bit silly to me when I first got this suggestion, but in this moment of despair I figured writing something down might just be that little step that Tom Peters was urging me to take in his column.

So I picked up my pen, and started to write. I outlined my dream -to be a leader, making a real difference for a business.  I also noted the kind of leader I wanted to be.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, within a year I had a new job, and not too long after that, that dream I had put on paper came true.  Every bit of it.

Was that just a coincidence? Would fate have blessed me this way even if I hadn’t wrote something down?

I don’t think so, and I’ll tell you why. Since then, I’ve seen so many other people make great things happen that same way – there’s something about the act of committing the dream to paper.

A great example to me is what I see every year at SOBCon, the conference I co-host with Liz Strauss.  We encourage our attendees in much the same way that Tom Peters did with me 17 years ago – to take just a little step to change.

And to our great delight, so many of them have done just that by documenting their dreams, and then making them happen.

The little secret underlying all this is nothing more than setting an intent to change. Intent is everything. And for whatever reason, it can be more easily crystallized by getting it out of the brain and onto a page.

Hey, it worked wonders for me- you’ve got nothing to lose by trying it for yourself. Do it, and watch what happens!


  1. says

    Putting things on paper helps me a lot. Not just dreams, but also goals, action steps, key thoughts and ideas. Writing them is a great way for me to reinforce them in my head, and so is reading what I wrote.

  2. says

    I almost always write a pros/cons list down on paper for any medium-to-big decision. It’s just little things like that that make all the difference.

    Documenting your dreams=blogging?

    Thanks for the post, Terry.

  3. says

    As a writer, I naturally love the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. As a dreamer, I can attest to the power of giving your visions some physical manifestation. As a doer, I believe that you need a plan, and writing down where you want to be is a damn good place to start.

    Glad you took that first, little step!

  4. says

    Great story. I too never realized the power of writing out dreams until I started it. Now I run a website of resources that I’m increasingly excited about. Great post Terry.

  5. says

    Cool life story post Starbucker! I think it’s definitely important to write down your goals somewhere so you have an idea of where you are going. If we direct our thoughts towards something and take the actions necessary to get there, we will always move toward our goal, but it starts off with knowing where are destination is in the first place. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. says


    I just love and connect with your idea that the intent is everything. I left sobcon intent on making a change – yet not yet knowing what it would look like. And here I am four weeks later with a new blog I never would have envisioned last month.

    I realize now I didn’t need to know exactly what my next step would look like, I just needed to intend for it to happen.

    Amen to intent. Thank you for writing this post! 🙂

  7. says

    I have written down my goals but I think writing down my dreams is the next step in the process. I also am really grateful to have a great mentor to teach me some things. It saved me from making a huge mistake with the company of my dreams but instead of trying to put a square peg into a round hole I decided to say I am not qualified but can we still talk. I got a very positive response with this and I am so happy I did what I did. I know I am inching closer to my goal and hopefully it will turn out better.

  8. Debbie Brown says

    It is amazing to me how few people have their goals in writing- great post!

  9. says

    This is a great post! Writing it down and putting it in prominent places is what helps me the most, like posting it to my fridge or putting it in my wallet!


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