Are you a Goal Setter or a Dreamer?

In 2008, I met one of the biggest dreamers to date.  Although, I didn’t know it at the time, he was going to teach me the difference between a goal setter and a dream chaser. Goals vs Dreams.

Eric Knopf  is the leader of a Young Adult Ministry called Epic Life. Eric was just a few years older than me but his dreams were so big they were almost childlike.

Achieve the Goal and Move On

Oh those dreamers! Always daydreaming and never accomplishing anything.  My philosophhy, at the time: Set a goal, achieve the goal and move on. I set goals and reached them. What I failed to realize was that the goals I set weren’t big enough.

Eric Knopf is a dreamer and a successful entrepeneur. There wasn’t a challenge too great, a dream too big, or a bucket list too long. He dreamt big. His goals might have seemed too hard to accomplish and maybe even likely to fail. Eric was going to teach me how fear had been limiting my dreams and my belief in my own potential.

When Eric asked a group of us, what our dreams were, of course I had a list of goals that I was working towards. Wasn’t a dream the same as a goal?

What I came to realize, is that I wasn’t thinking big enough. If your goal doesn’t scare you, you aren’t dreaming big enough. Don’t get me wrong, setting goals is a good thing. It’s laying stepping stones and reaching milestones that will pave the way for you. Setting goals will help you reach your goals. But dreaming is so much more than that.

Dream Bigger

Eric challenged me to think and dream bigger.  In my mind, a dream wasn’t anything more than a goal that had yet been realized. I wasn’t full of big dreams. Dreaming big wasn’t something that I did. I had goals. Goals I was working towards. My goals required time, dedication, and hard work but were achievable.

For some, owning a condo or a house is a goal. But if you could pick the perfect location, sit down with Joanna and Chip Gaines and build that baby from the ground up with an unlimited budget, now that’s a dream!

Dreaming didn’t come natural to me. It still doesn’t. I had to learn to give my dreams a voice. Not silence it. What good does it do to never aim so high that you could fall? Don’t get me wrong, we must be wise, but being smart about the dreams we have, should encourage us to dream big.

Goals and Dreams Change

We must allow room for change in our goals and dreams. Just be cautious about this. The change shouldn’t come from a place of fear. Are you bringing your dreams to a more achievable level so you don’t have to climb as high? Are you afraid you won’t be able to climb that mountain in front of you? So you aim for the hill instead?

Set Goals

Every year, Eric and a group of Epic Lifers, traveled to El Salvador to help a particularly impoverished community in El Salvador. One year we built dozens of fresh water filters, another year we donated a school with sports equipment and school supplies. We visited an all-girl orphanage and stocked the pantry and fridge with food.

Time to Dream Big

It was that time of year to begin planning our next mission in El Salvador. Eric announces we are going to rebuild an entire school! Say what?! How? All of these questions, doubt and a bit of anxiety overwhelmed me because that year I would be in charge of the logistics. But our brave, fearless and dreamer of a leader had proclaimed it so we… I had to make it happen.

Eric’s dream was great but wasn’t it a tad unrealistic? After all we most of Epic Life was made up of college students. Why not a classroom? That seemed like a great goal! But no, his vision, his dream was to build a school. Eric wasn’t afraid of dreaming, in fact he wasn’t even afraid of failing. His heart was to give this community and its students something more than corrugated tin walls and roofs. These children deserve to have a decent place to learn.

In 2011, the Epic Life team traveled to El Salvador and we began building the school, we started with one classroom, and then another. The school wasn’t completed in a single trip or even in a single year. But in the end, the small village of La Herradura, has a brand new school!

For so long, I avoided failing at the cost of not dreaming.

This is just one of many crazy ideas Eric had, that left an impact on people. His crazy dreams impacted me forever. He isn’t afraid to dream. I’ve never asked him, but I think he dreams big because he isn’t afraid to fail. For me, failure is something I wanted to avoid. For so long, I avoided failing at the cost of not dreaming.

Are you a Big Dreamer?

Being labeled a “big dreamer” can have a negative connotation. They can be thought of as simply wishful thinkers. That their thoughts are not backed by actions. This may be true in certain circumstances but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Whether you call yourself a dreamer or a goal setter, try not to put limits on yourself. Whatever goal you wish to reach or dream you want to come to fruition come up with a plan. Those of us with a plan will be able to take the steps from where we are to where we want to be.

Creating a plan for your financial goals will allow you to reach that financial dream!

What are your dreams?

  • What do you want your life to look like?
  • Who do you want to spend more time with?
  • What were you doing the last time your heart felt full?
  • What are the causes you would like to be more involved with?
  • If you could do anything in the future, what would it be?
  • If you could be doing anything right now, what would it be?
  • What parts of your life do you value most?
  • Where do you wish you lived today? In the future?
  • What do you enjoy doing to keep yourself healthy, fit, active and alert?

Dreams don’t just happen. It takes hard work, dedication, planning, and adjustments along the way to see them through.  But I encourage you, don’t just be a goal setter, be a dream chaser.

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  1. Windy pierre | 31st Jul 19

    Hi Miller, I love this blog post. I know-how Eric feels. I’m a dreamer myself. Sometimes my dreams are some BIG my family thinks. I’m Crazy! However, when I make it happen, everyone is happy. I’ll never stop dreaming big and chasing them.

    • Mrs Miller | 20th Aug 19

      That’s awesome. I am not a natural dreamer, I like to keep things safe. The problem is I am sure I’ve missed out on some cool opportunities.

  2. Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early | 18th Aug 19

    This is an intriguing concept. I definitely think I’m more of a goal setter than a dreamer.

    • Mrs Miller | 20th Aug 19

      Me too! But I’m trying to be more of a dreamer. Dreaming big in some areas has allowed for serious growth.

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