Doers and Dreamers

I came across this on my twitter feed from Inc.Com. The article is titled “One Brilliantly Simple Hiring Question That Will Tell You Instantly If Someone Is A Dreamer Or A Doer” so of course I was intrigued. I am always on the hunt to find out more about myself and my level of drive. I get to the meat of things rather quickly and figured I’d answer that question. I mean, hell, I’m not really in an interview right?

“What are three things that you have not yet accomplished and would never forgive yourself for not having accomplished during the remainder of your life?”

Before you read on stop and make a mental list of those three things for yourself. Got them? Now read on.

That’s the question! It was a simple one for me. The answer is: Buy a house, travel the country in an RV, and get married again. I have three years left in my five year home buying plan and shortly after that (when I am able) I will travel the country with the man I plan to marry 🙂

Here’s the twist. It’s a follow up question. Ok, I know I said one question, but I wanted to set you up in the same exact way I’d set this up in an interview. I don’t want the candidate to know that I’m going to ask a follow up because it’s the answer to the follow up that I care most about.

Oh course there’s a twist! There’s always a twist!

Frankly, within this context, the three things they’ve listed are interesting but meaningless to me. Not because they’re unimportant, but because we’re all entitled to have whatever dreams of grandeur we want.  It’s the intentional strategies and tactics to achieve them that I want to hear about–that’s what tells me who someone really is, how well they deal with uncertainty, how sincere they are about their ambitions, and ultimately how innovative they are.

We can all dream; coming up with new ideas is simple. The world does not lack in dreamers, but some of us actually do something about those dreams. And, by the way, doing something isn’t just about making a decision, those are easy too; anyone can decide, but just because you’ve decided to start a business, become rich, get married, or have kids doesn’t make you an entrepreneur, a millionaire, a good spouse, or a good parent. It’s what you do after the decision that counts.

So here’s the follow-up question:

“Specifically, what have you done in the last 30 days to realize each of those three ambitions?”

Specifically…. I have been in the process of bringing by credit back to home buying status. Simultaneously I have been constantly working on myself as a person so that I am ready to be in an RV with someone for an extended period of time without ending up in handcuffs with a hefty sentence hanging over my head. As far as the male in this picture.. There is no planning to do there.. That will be when it will be.

What I’m looking for are specifics. If you respond immediately with actual tasks, projects, and measurable tangible efforts then I’m impressed. I want to see the numbers! How much are you doing? How often? If you have to think about it then I’m worried, because, after all, you just told me that these were the three most important things in your life and you’re not doing anything specific to realize them!! Really?

“Entitled people simply expect to be right, are regularly frustrated and blame others for their shortcomings, rarely take ownership of their actions, anger, temper, and reactions to others, have a short fuse and get exasperated easily, and are not transparent–in short they make lousy partners because they’re usually too busy arguing about who’s right rather than what’s right.”

Anything less than direct quantifiable and tangible effort to achieve these three ambitions tells me that the person I’m talking to lacks adequate discipline and self-direction. Most importantly it tells me that this is someone who isn’t accustomed to doing the hard work it takes to realize their dreams. Instead, they expect that just deciding on having the dream is sufficient. By the way, there’s a name for that, it’s called entitlement, and it’s the last thing I want from someone on my team, especially a senior level hire! I want them to know what it means to earn success rather than expecting it to be handed to them!

Did I make the cut as a doer or am I merely a dreamer?


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