Dream No Small Dreams

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Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash


“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I am a huge fan of dreaming – of visioning – of defining the future you want to make for yourself.

In “South Pacific”, Bloody Mary tells us that “You’ve got to have a dream.  If you don’t have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true?”

I don’t care how young or how old you are – you’ve got to have a dream.

And – if you are going to have a dream, you might as well make it a good one!

Goethe lived from 1749 – 1832 – but was far ahead of his time in the area of dreaming.

Too many of us are afraid of big dreams – afraid that we might not achieve our dreams and that we will be disappointed.

My experience is just the opposite.  Once we take the time to create and give realness to the dream, it is much more likely to happen.

Your action assignment:  Spend 10-20 minutes each day for the next week exploring your dreams.  Write them all down.  And then pick the most powerful of them and give them the energy to give them some strong definition.  Make them tangible, visible, crystal-clear, and even “hefty”.  Be able to taste, see, and feel what that dream really is.  And then keep it visible.

Dream big dreams – for they will have the power to move your heart to action.

If you don’t have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true?


The Goal is NOT to Live Forever …

sailboat sunset

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
Chuck Palahniuk – Diary


You will not live forever.

But – you can create something that will.

What is it that you will create that will last forever?

Finding that thing for you – and making it happen – is a worthy ideal – something worth dedicating a life to creating.

The following are a few ideas of possibilities that will last forever to spur your thinking:

 – values that live forever in a family
 – a safer world
 – the habit of creating memories that last a lifetime that will be passed on through generations
 – a more accepting world
 – the story of your life – written down for future generations to know who you were and what you valued
 – a small (or large) family foundation or money given to a larger foundation that will last forever
 – a family retreat (a place)
 – a more joyful world
 – every person that you care about knows that they are loved
 – children who will make their positive impact on the world
 – a more generous world
 – an educational fund for your heirs


You will not live forever.

What is YOUR idea for creating something that will?


Please share it with me at Steve@purposefulfinancialplanning.com




Here’s to Being “Good Tired”

watercolor jlkj

Harry Chapin is one of my favorite performers – primarily because of his meaningful lyrics and the emotion he put behind every song and every performance.  Most people remember him for his iconic song “Cat’s in the Cradle”.

He told this story about his grandfather.

My grandfather was a painter. He died at age eighty-eight. 

He illustrated Robert Frost’s first two books of poetry, 

He was looking at me and he said, “Harry, there’s two kinds of tired. There’s good tired and there’s bad tired.”

He said, “Ironically enough, bad tired can be a day that you won. But you won other people’s battles; you lived other people’s days, other people’s agendas, other people’s dreams. And when it’s all over, there was very little you in there. And when you hit the hay at night, somehow you toss and turn; you don’t settle easy.

Good tired, ironically enough, can be a day that you lost, but you don’t even have to tell yourself because you knew you fought your battles, you chased your dreams, you lived your days and when you hit the hay at night, you settle easy, you sleep the sleep of the just and you say ‘take me away’”.

He said, “Harry, all my life I wanted to be a painter and I painted; God, I would have loved to have been more successful, but I painted and I painted and I’m good tired and they can take me away.”

You can hear it in Harry’s own words here ( Harry Chapin – My Grandfather (only sound)

This story has always moved me.  It is inspirational and poignant.

It reminds me that we need to have something in our life that is meaningful and fulfilling to us and that we should be spending our time pursuing the dreams and fighting the battles associated with that “thing” that is really important to us.

It’s the effort, not the result that matters the most.  It is all about the process. It is all about giving it our best shot every day.

Here’s to being “good tired” this week!

A Purposeful Life – The Big Question

colorful cutouts of the word purpose

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  Mary Oliver


A hammer is a tool – not an end in itself.
Financial planning is a tool – not an end in itself.
Investing is a tool – not an end in itself.
Wealth is a tool – not an end in itself.

None of the items listed above are useful by themselves.  They are only useful if they support a purpose – your purpose.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “pur­poseful” as “Aimed at achieving something; determined”. It also states that “Purposeful also means intentional”.

I believe we each are here for a purpose – and each of us should be living a life that is in support of that purpose.

I also believe that if you are simply living your life to make money, you’re probably on the wrong track. I’ve found, no matter how much money you have, if you aren’t living a life you love, you will feel like you’re missing something.

Our company exists to help people lead richer lives – lives with purpose – today and for the rest of their lives.

There are three aspects to your life – body, mind, spirit – and we believe that your Purposeful Financial Life Plan must involve all three of these areas.

What does “Being Purposeful” mean to you?

And – the big question is – “What is your purpose”?

Life really is wild and precious.  What is it you plan to do with yours?

The quote at the top of this page comes from a short poem by Mary Oliver.  You can read the complete poem here:


What is Wealth?

golden umbrella

“He is the richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.”  Socrates


Growing up, I always thought of wealth as being “rich” – having a new car, a nice house, and going to the finest restaurants.

But I’ve come to realize that ‘wealth’ is something entirely dif­ferent.

I like this definition from the One-Min­ute Millionaire by Mark Hansen & Robert Allen:  “Wealth is Freedom: Money freedom. Time free­dom. Relationship freedom. Spiritual freedom. Physical freedom. Ultimate freedom = the 5 free­doms + ability to pursue your genius.”

I also love what Socrates had to say about wealth:  “He is the richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.”

Or, as the Buddhists say, contentment is the greatest wealth.

Wealth can involve many things, including money, happiness, time, health, attitude, relationships, lifestyle, peace of mind, and any other thing you feel are important.

Task:  Spend some time thinking about what TRUE WEALTH means to you.  The effort you put into doing this will be invaluable and will help in defining your purpose in life – which I will address in tomorrow’s blog.

Visions and Cathedrals


“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The most important step in building a financial plan is the defining of your vision and goals.  These are the foundation of every good financial plan and what every technical step in the planning process will support.

This is where you get to decide what your life is all about.

One of my favorite stories is about a traveler who meets some stone cutters:

A traveler came upon three individuals working with stone. Curious as to what they were doing, the traveler asked the first worker “What are you doing?”  Without hesitation, the worker replied, “I am cutting stones.”

Still unclear of the workers’ task, the traveler approached the second worker and asked the same question. The second worker thought for a moment, and then explained, “I am cutting stones to earn money to support my family.”

Perplexed by the two different responses, the sojourner approached the third worker and asked, “What are you doing?”   Stopping for a moment, the worker stared at the stone in his hand, slowly turned to the traveler, and said, “I AM BUILDING A CATHEDRAL!”

Three men – all working at the same site, performing the same task – each had three very different perspectives of what they were working toward.

This part of the planning process is where YOU decide whether you are cutting stones or building a cathedral.  This is YOUR great opportunity to set big, bold, far-reaching goals.

Like a great architect, take the time and opportunity to clearly define EXACTLY what YOUR cathedral will look like and what purpose it will serve.  How long will it last?  How will it serve your family, your community and the world?  What values will it convey?  How beautiful will it be?


I hope that you are using your life, and your financial planning process, to build cathedrals.


The Art of Unpredictability

waves running on rocky coast against blue sky

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

We are in the midst of the “great pause”.  Every one of us has been thrown into a new reality – a new world – a new opportunity.

We should have known that SOMETHING was coming.

Remy, the chef in Disney’s movie “Ratatouille” tells us that “The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.”

This is a big one alright – but, if you think through your life, you have been thrown a lot of curveballs – steps in life that you didn’t see coming and that you probably didn’t want.  You got fired.  You got divorced.  The house you really wanted ended up being sold to someone else.  You didn’t get into the college you wanted.  You didn’t get the job you “really” wanted.  You lost a game of Monopoly to your little brother.  You broke your leg skiing.

No matter how hard you wish it were not true, the world IS different that you had hoped.

OK- now what?  How are YOU going to take advantage of this opportunity?  Can you figure out how to make this the best thing that ever happened to you?

Writer and counselor Craig Lounsbrough has said “Sometimes chaos is the very thing that deliberately shakes up our neatly ordered world’s in order to get us out of the neatly ordered ruts that have kept us stuck.”

Are you shaken up yet?  Are there any neatly-ordered ruts that you want to get out of?  This may be the time to make those changes.

Is it time to:

  • Take up a new hobby
  • Get life simplified (as you have been talking about for a decade)
  • Write the book you have been dreaming of writing
  • Read the Great Books
  • Write the letters that you have been meaning to write
  • Learn a new language
  • Explore your creativity
  • Turn off the TV
  • Learn to meditate


The good news is that technology allows us to learn just about anything from the best in that field.


In her book, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem, Suzy Kassem says: “The journey of the sun and moon is predictable. But yours is your ultimate art.”


Take a few steps in this unpredictability!


A Prayer for the Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors, remember the most vulnerable.

May we have the luxury of working from home, remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for children when their schools close, remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips, remember those that have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market, remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for quarantine at home, remember those Who have no home.

As fear grips our country, let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.