John Maxwell

Dreams: Sam's Dream Blog Celebrates 100 Inspirations

This is a big week on Sam’s Dream Blog!  Here at SDB, it’s celebration time for 100 posts.  Whether you have read every post, several posts, or maybe you are making your first visit, thank you.    

Here are some highlights from the first 100 posts. Follow the underlined links for the full interviews.

1. Writer Will Leitch graciously helped to kickstart SDB. First and foremost on the journey toward your dreams, Leitch says, "You have to be willing to go down with the ship. You can’t look for an escape hatch."

2. Now that you’re committed to your dream journey, per Will’s advice, Dallas Mavericks owner and business mogul Mark Cuban has this to say: "You have to determine whether or not you are willing to commit to working 20 hours a day, 7 days a week?"

3. While you’re at it, "Learn whatever you can from whoever is going to offer it. Every day you should be learning something new," San Francisco sous chef Adam Nichol says.

4. Of course, maybe your dream pursuit cannot be at the forefront of your life right now, due to other limitations for the time being.  Take heart in what leadership expert John Maxwell says: "When it comes to being an authority on a subject, spend one hour a day, five days a week, for five years. Earl Nightingale says that by doing that, you can become an expert on any subject?"

5. If all that sounds daunting, think back to your childhood, Harvard Business Review contributor and TEDx speaker Whitney Johnson says: "Each experience that we have, the good and especially the things that happen to us that we don’t deserve, shapes our dreams.  For example, one of my biggest dreams, which is to encourage others, came, I think, [because I didn’t hear enough] encouraging words as a child.  I deserved that, and I long for that sometimes. Yet, without that, would I even have felt [compelled] to begin writing about dreams in the first place?"

6.  "Exhaust all opportunities for growth," including volunteering, career expert Alexandra Levit says.

7.  Speaking of opportunities, "It’s important to know you want to do things the right way, no matter if it takes longer to accomplish. I guess it’s just being patient," Hollywood manager and producer Trevor Kaufman says.

8. Drybar’s Alli Webb has this to say about your dream pursuits: "It’s key to identify your target consumer and to make sure the need for your business really exists on a scale large enough to sustain the business for the long haul. Then execution is the next hurdle. Be prepared to work tirelessly to really nurture your idea."

9. Candy connoisseur and Sugarfina co-founder Rosie O’Neill keeps her advice about dreams short and sweet: "Try new things as often as possible, stick with what you like, and don’t waste your time with the things you don’t like? Life’s too short."

10. Finally, remember this advice from Estella’s Brilliant Bus inspiration, Estella Pyfrom:.. "Don’t shy away from your dreams. Don’t listen to negative people that say it’s not going to happen.  If you have a dream and you are willing to work for that to make it happen, it can happen."

If any of these comments particularly resonated with you, let me know below, and share with a friend!

The Food Pantry: Community Harvest


The Food Pantry:

Stephanie Bertelson - Community Harvest
Stephanie Bertelson - Community Harvest

A little more than two weeks ago, Community Harvest opened its brand-new Community Life Center. Stephanie Bertelson is the administrative director of the food pantry based in my hometown, Morton, Ill. Stephanie shares with Sam’s Dream Blog readers how 'it takes teamwork to make the dream work,' as John Maxwell would say.

Sam's Deam Blog: What’s your dream for the food pantry?

Stephanie Bertelson: The dream for the food pantry was that it would be a place where the community would come together to provide help, sharing God’s love in a practical way, and be built on the foundations of dignity and respect for those in need. It started out small, and has grown to be the largest food pantry in Tazewell County, where people feel safe and welcome. Our move to the Community Life Center is taking us into the next phase, where we will have the space and ability to expand in our food ministry as well as involve more of the community to partner with us.

SDB: When did this type of work become a passion of yours and why?

Stephanie Bertelson: My passions have developed over the years with a curious mix of social and technical aspects. While I never saw myself as an administrator of a food pantry, I have definitely had a strong desire to make a difference in people’s lives. I worked full time as a chemist, then as a process improvement specialist in a large corporation for 13 years. I loved the technical parts of those jobs, but missed the social, so I volunteered at places like Big Brothers Big Sisters, where I was a Big Sister, and at Aid to Women, where I was a volunteer crisis pregnancy counselor. When I moved to Morton and began attending Trinity Church, I started volunteering for Community Harvest, and I loved it. Within a year, the need arose for an administrator. I was itching to use the technical skills that would be needed to administrate, so I applied for the job.

SDB: Tell readers what a typical week looks like for you.

Stephanie Bertelson: As we transition into using the new building for the food pantry, we are working toward a new 'typical' or standard, but every week involves deliveries from the various food sources and teams of volunteers that will unload, sort, and put away the food, put together the bags of food in preparation for Saturday distribution, and often repackage bulk items. Coordinating volunteers and food deliveries, ordering, obtaining supplies, communicating with our contributors, and maintaining the financials are other weekly activities that I do as the administrator.

SDB: What are some of the rewards and challenges of working with different volunteers all the time?

Stephanie Bertelson: Our volunteers are wonderful! We have probably 70 volunteers each week that help in some way. I am very rewarded when I see the gold in people come out in so many wonderful, unique ways; some of the ideas and passions that come up when you work with a diverse group of people are amazing and show me over and over that none of us are meant to do this alone.

We need each other and all of our diversity, because we all have something special to add to the mix that makes the outcome better.

It is my desire to have Community Harvest be a good experience for all who come to help. The challenge in that is creating good, solid, standard processes that are easy to understand and follow, as well as finding the right fit for each volunteer so that they are using their skills and talents and find joy in their giving.

SDB: Do you have a favorite story about the pantry that you would like to share?

Stephanie Bertelson: One of my favorite stories is about our walk-in refrigerator/freezer. The building budget included $15,000 to purchase a walk-in freezer for the food pantry warehouse. Through word of mouth we found out about one was being stored, unused, on a local farm. The farmer had purchased it from a fast food restaurant that wasn’t going to use it anymore, with the intention to use it on his farm, but he could not hook it up because it required 3-phase electricity, which the farmer didn’t have. When he learned of our need, he offered to give it to us but warned us of the electric requirement. The church contacted the electric company and found out that it would cost $10,000 to get 3-phase service, but then was surprised to find out that we already had it! In the late 1970’s when the church was originally built, the electric company included 3-phase service to the church at no additional cost, even though they originally declined, saying they had no need of it. God provided the right type of electrical service in the 1970’s for the freezer that we would use at Community Harvest 40 years later!

Learn more about the food pantry here

John Maxwell Quick Hits

John Maxwell is the world’s foremost authority on leadership and has authored more than 60 books. Maxwell gives Sam’s Dream Blog readers his advice on going further than you ever thought you could on your dream journey.

Sam’s Dream Blog: Talk about how, by being diligent in pursuit of a dream, you will not only achieve that dream, but will go way beyond it. How have your dreams exceeded your original dream?

John Maxwell: When I started EQUIP, I had a strong sense that I wanted to train leaders internationally. But I didn’t have a strong sense of specific goals. Only by starting and doing the training were we able to discover the goal -- of training a million leaders worldwide. Once we focused on that, we not only reached it but exceeded it. Today we’ve trained over five million leaders in more than 150 countries.

SDB: On "Minute with Maxwell," you made the point that authority is earned rather than a title. How does someone become an authority on a subject, like you have with leadership?

John Maxwell: When I said that, I was speaking in the context of influence, not expertise. One gains authority in that context by progressing up the five levels of leadership. Position is just the starting point. To increase your influence, you go to level two and develop relationships. Once you’ve done that, you move up to level three, production, to help the team succeed. Once you’ve accomplished that, you focus on developing people, which is level four. If you continue to do that, you have the chance of someday reaching level five [the pinnacle of respect.]

Now when it comes to being an authority on a subject, spend one hour a day, five days a week, for five years. Earl Nightingale says that by doing that, you can become an expert on any subject, and I’ve found that to be true.

SDB: What’s a big lesson you have learned in regard to pursuing dreams?

John Maxwell: Don’t sell yourself too short. Coming out of college, my "lifetime" goals really were the goals for the next five years, but I didn’t know it. You have to dream big, based on the reality of your strengths and situation.

John Maxwell is hosting a special webinar about dreams on Thursday, March 1.  Don’t miss it!