ManageBasics.com

Christmas

On the first Dream Survey, someone had written, “a proper Christmas.” The survey had been submitted anonymously, but ever since Sean had read it, he had wondered who had written it.

“What a simple dream,” he had thought to himself.

About six weeks before Christmas, Bob Baker came in for his first Dream Session with Sean. He was the one who had written this simple dream on the original survey, and he had written it again on the Dream List he handed to Sean at the beginning of their discussion.

Bob was twenty-three years old and had been abandoned by his family when he was fifteen. He was married with two children — Joshua, who was five, and Lisa, who was two.

It had taken him a long time to send in a request to see a Dream Manager. He was among the last of the original employees to sign up for the program, but he was here now.

Sean looked down the list of dreams and was stunned by the simplicity of the dreams Bob had written. After all his time as a Dream Manager, he had realized that there is an evolution to the way we dream. In the beginning, we choose small dreams, realize them, and then move on to bigger dreams. Sean could tell from Bob's list that he had never had much of a chance to pursue dreams, and he suspected that this was not out of laziness, but rather because he had spent all of his time and energy just trying to survive.

Any of the dreams would have sufficed as a first step, but as it was six weeks before Christmas, Sean immediately focused on that simple phrase — a proper Christmas.

“What does this proper Christmas look like?” he asked casually.

Bob began to describe it in detail. It became clear that as a child this had been Bob's dream for himself, but now it was a dream he held in his heart for his children.

As Bob described his dream, Sean wrote it down in as much detail as possible, and then they set to work writing up a plan. They did a quick assessment of Bob's financial situation and then designed a savings plan for the next six weeks.

“Three paychecks between now and Christmas. It might not be exactly what you have dreamt of for you and your family, but I am certain we can make this the best Christmas you have ever had,” Sean said to Bob as he left his office.

He had set Bob to work on one plan. Sean had another plan in mind also, though he knew both were necessary to help Bob grow.

Later that day, Sean sent a memo to each of the managers and department heads, explaining the dream that had crossed his path that day. He gave the ages and interests of Bob's wife and children and invited anyone who was able to contribute to the fulfillment of this dream to send their contribution in food, gifts, or cash to Sean or Michelle's office by December 21.

December 22 was Bob's second Dream Session. It had been scheduled for December 12, but Sean had purposefully canceled and rescheduled. When Bob arrived, Sean sat him down and asked him how the plan they had put together had worked out. Bob had stuck to the plan conscientiously and had saved diligently.

“It's like you said, Sean, it won't be all I dream of and I won't be able to make my entire credit card payment this month, but it will be the best Christmas we've ever had.”

Sean smiled and stood up. “I'm so proud of you, Bob. Let's take a walk.”

They walked down to a spare office where the administrative staff had been piling the gifts for six weeks. Just before they reached the office, Sean told Bob that he had shared his dream with some of the other employees and they wanted to help out.

At that moment, Sean opened the door and Bob could not believe what he saw. It was a mountain of generosity. Basketballs and baseball bats, a dollhouse, running shoes and a bicycle, clothes and an iPod, and food and candy enough for a Christmas feast.

He turned to Sean and said, “Ah, man. You are so good.”

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