Whitney Johnson dared to dream when she began her Wall Street career as a secretary. With courage and persistence, by her forties she had risen to become an Institutional Investor-ranked sell-side analyst at Merrill Lynch. Whitney is the president and co-founder of the investment firm Rose Park Advisors, a regular blog contributor for the Harvard Business Review, and her blog, Dare to Dream, is ranked #6 in Marcus Buckingham’s “Top 10 Management and Leadership Blogs.” Whitney is a frequent panelist and speaker and often appears in print media, such as the New York Times and the Boston Globe, as well as broadcast media. Whitney invests in people while she invests in the market. Having invested in her own dreams, Whitney is passionate about encouraging others to take stock in theirs.
Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dreamby Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson, popular Harvard Business Review blogger, has a goal: to help us identify and achieve our dreams. Her belief is that we can each achieve greater happiness when focusing both on our dreams and on other people in our lives. In this inspiring book, Johnson directs her attention to teaching women, in particular, a three-step model for personal advancement and happiness. She first encourages us to DARE to boldly step out, to consider disrupting life as we know it. Then she teaches us how to DREAM, to give life to the many possibilities available, whether to start a business, run a marathon, or travel the world. She shows us how to "date" our dreams (no need to commit!) and how to make space for dreams. Finally, Whitney's model brings out the businesswoman in her; she teaches us to DO, to execute our dreams. She showcases the importance of sharing dreams with others to give them life, creating your own "dream team." Rich with real stories of women who have dared to dream, Dare, Dream, Do offers a practical framework for making remarkable things happen.
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I think humans are innately creators and dreamers. Somewhere along the way, for most of us, we were taught, encouraged, required to push those inherent capabilities to the back and obey the status quo (e.g., public education). Who says? Where is this written? Nowhere! Whitney asks us to stop listening to what the world tells us to conform to – especially us women. We have the right, even the imperative to dream. If we don’t, who will? So many studies show that kids pay more attention to what their parents do than what they say – doesn’t that mean we need to free ourselves up to dream? And then to try to make those dreams reality? If we don’t, how will the next generation learn to? Given our economic and social situation today, we must (re-) learn to dream - to dream big, unconventionally, intentionally and based on integrity. Three quotes had the biggest impact on me in Dare, Dream, Do: • “The only safe harbor is our convictions…because it ensures we are honest to our core values.”: at a fundamental level, all we have, the only thing that cannot be taken away, is our core set of values. We can lose our ‘stuff’, we can even lose those we love – but no one, unless we let them, can take away our convictions – and that is what we must build our dreams upon; it is the only way to assure our dreams are authentic and valuable; • “Sometimes we set out to be competent. At other times our competence is simply the unintended consequence of doing what needs to be done…”: how many times do we undermine our dreams by thinking we don't have the required skills, talents, experiences? Think about it – how many entrepreneurs were experts in their fields when they started? Not many – but they had a burning passion they needed to fulfill – and that’s a critical competency – unswerving passion; • “Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.” T. S. Eliot commenting on Dante’s “Inferno”: for me, this is the definition of hell. Our dreams bring people, real needs and solutions together – our dreams can connect dots that many thought could never be connected. Whitney’s book is divided into three parts: 1) Dare – go for it, suspend disbelief and dare to dream – and dream big; 2) Dream – find your dream – perhaps it’s been suppressed, perhaps it needs to be discovered, but find it; and 3) Do it – stop rationalizing why you can’t and start telling yourself why you can. For many, none of this is easy and for some it can be quite scary. That’s why Whitney provides the framework for making dreams come true – no matter how big, how small, how complex, how simple, but all impactful. Read the book, take notes, start a plan….and Dream.
A few weeks ago when my friend suggested that I read Whitney Johnson's new book Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When you Dare to Dream I had no idea what I was signing up for. I thought reading this book was little more than a simple favor for a friend. I assumed that it would be an easy, quick read. I assumed that I could write a nice, safe, blog review and then move forward with my life. I was wrong. Dare, Dream, Do has proven to be anything but a quick, easy favor for a friend. Dare, Dream, Do has invaded my life and messed with my head. Instead of just inspiring a nice, safe blog review, this book and its ideas have engaged my mind and my heart. Suddenly I'm dreaming about my future. I'm dreaming about a career and not just a job. But what's more terrifying is that I'm sharing those dreams with other people. I'm talking about them. Out loud. And just like Whitney promised, remarkable things are happening. This book and I met at just the right time in my life and I couldn't be happier about it.