Dare to Dream: Go ahead. Try it.

Whether you find yourself daydreaming in the shower, in the car at a stoplight or even staring at the ceiling, summoning the strength to get out of bed in the morning, steal a minute from your day to visualize the future. In doing so, imagine that your vision and dream have both come to life.  It could end up being more than a dream, merging into miracle territory.   

That word, miracle, gets thrown around a lot, from watching something celestially happening that’s extraordinary to the day your child takes their dishes to the sink. Miracles happen in sports all the time, more today than in the past, because everything has a betting line, and like this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, 18-1 odds in a field of 20+ horses can bring a lot of attention to the longshot or miracle term. 

As a child, I witnessed a sports miracle that greatly affected my life. It wasn’t happenstance but the product of dreams, insight and an unparalleled practice regimen. 

In the history of the Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. hockey team had won a single gold medal (1960), four silvers and one bronze. But in 1980, amidst the backdrop of Lake Placid, NY, the American hockey team pulled off what Sports Illustrated would later select as the No. 1 sports moment of the 20th century.

Aside from the unbelievable outcome, this event was especially personal to me. My Dad grew up in North Dakota, so in my childhood, he taught me a lot about hockey before I learned about any other sport and we watched every game. (By the way, I bet my Dad still has every one of those Olympic games on Betamax somewhere in his basement). 

These Olympics became the “Miracle on Ice” moment when a bunch of amateur college players, mostly from schools in Massachusetts and Minnesota, knocked off a professional Red Army team representing the U.S.S.R. by a score of 4-3 in the semifinals (The U.S.S.R. team would not lose another gave for five more years).  It was a magical pipe dream that united an entire country amidst the world turmoil at the time of the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 

It is important to note, the “Miracle” of beating the Soviets was not a “pie in the sky” roll-the-dice and see-what-happens moment. U.S. head coach Herb Brooks was absolutely savage in his year-long training regimen. I wonder though, if during that grueling gauntlet, he (or any of the players) ever stopped for even a second to actually think about whether they could legitimately pull it off.  

Their dream seemed even more far-fetched when the Soviet team, which had dominated the world hockey landscape, demolished the U.S. team, 10-3, in an exhibition just before the Olympics began. But Brooks, unlike anyone following the global hockey landscape, visualized his dream not only in the way he put his team together but also in how he galvanized the team by giving them a common enemy—himself. He served as the brutal dictator, and his players became united in their common hate for his personality and tactics.  

Visualization is a technique, but the U.S. Hockey Team’s goal of winning a gold medal was so seemingly impossible it’s hard to imagine they allowed themselves even for a second to believe that a miracle could actually happen. In the business world, this point can be made with entrepreneurs who oftentimes safeguard against thinking about what their dreams would actually be like in the future if they were achieved. 

We are taught to be stoic and restrained to be able to adeptly navigate the ups and downs of the business day. We don’t want to get too excited, especially when running a company, because there is always so much more work to be done. But don’t forget why you got into business, to begin with. And remember that dreaming is what got you started in business in the first place. 

So go ahead and give yourself permission to dare to dream once in a while. You never know when a miracle might be around the corner.