How big can you dream? I dare you to dream beyond what seems possible. Dream beyond your own lifetime. Dream a dream that is so enticing that it is caught and continued on by others. Seem impossible? It’s been done before.
Dreams That Seem Impossible
In 1963 there was a man who saw acres upon acres of muddy, alligator-filled sloughs and palmetto-tangled flatlands and knew this was where he wanted to build his magical kingdom. And that’s what he did. Walt Disney laid out the dream for Walt Disney World.
At the time his dream took shape the census of Orlando, FL recorded a population of 86,880 – not the most obvious site for an entertainment destination. But as Walt was fond of saying, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”.
Lessons from Disney
As a business leader I am rightly impressed and inspired by Disney’s vision and legacy. He knew how to cast a vision. His vision was clearly embraced by others and carried on, outliving Walt Disney, the man.
The vision of Disney was and is so tangible that it has succeeded him in a tremendous way. The vast majority of the Disney enterprise was built after his death in 1966. In fact, he died before the first shovel of dirt was lifted to create Disney World.
Today as you walk through Disney World you see videos of Walt, sharing his dream with the millions of people that pass through every year. His quotes are scattered throughout the parks, to remind everyone of his vision for pushing the limits of imagination and innovation.
Walt Disney’s legacy is clearly seen as it continues to grow today without losing its potency. Walt didn’t limit his legacy to a 5 or 10-year plan. He established his legacy to last in perpetuity. He knew he wouldn’t last forever, so he wisely established a succession plan. He passed his dream and company to someone who valued it as much as he did, his brother Roy.
Although Walt did not draw up the plans for all that we know Disney to be today, everyone recognizes him as the creator. He was the pioneer, the “imagineer” and the dreamer. His predecessors knew, and continue to know, what was important to him. They know that success requires a continued dedication to the culture, legacy and vision Disney laid out. That is why Disney continues to grow; constantly innovating. It is clearly a continuation of his dream.
What about you?
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney
Walt Disney is a giant in the entertainment space, but when it comes down to it, he was just a man with a dream. What is your dream? What do you want to be remembered for?
All these questions are a result of considering my own legacy and vision. Taking time to dream is a great exercise for evaluating my direction and projection. What questions have you found helpful when you consider the legacy you want to leave behind?