Category Archives: Vision

Dreaming a big dream Nike-style

Recently I completed Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, the autobiography of the founder of Nike. It was completely different to most CEO biographies you’ll read, and most of it because of his raw honesty.

Most books on CEOs hide the true pain of starting – and being – in business. Not too many people will tell the whole story of just how rough it had been, the price they have paid, and the sacrifices they have had to make. But not Phil Knight.

He is open on how he had to plead with bankers to keep getting credit to bring in more stock. How his business was effectively on life support for many years. And how he had to learn to live with high levels of debt to see his dream through.

For me, it was refreshing to not read another book showing the 5 simple ways to be an overnight success, or how a CEO so easily pulled an incredible team together to make it all work. Phil Knight bolted together a bunch of misfits who had one key ingredient: passion.

The truth is that doing something really worthwhile is seriously hard work. But how satisfying it is to dream a big dream, and then pull it off. And at the end of the book, with all of the pain he had been through, he said he’d love to be able to do it all over again. Seriously, he’d go through all that again? Yes, simply because he dared to dream a big dream, and he was able to achieve it.

As I wrote in a recent blog post, will your life be one of ‘I wish I had, or I’m glad I did?’ we all get that chance to be ultra-safe and have nothing go wrong. Or we can roll the dice and give it a shot.

Your dream doesn’t have to be a sink or swim one like Phil Knight’s. Simply doing something different this year might just unlock something new in your world.


Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media. He also blogs at

The Importance of Setting Your Imagination Free

Let’s face it. You live a hectic life. Work, family, emails, SMS’, social media, television, Netflix … there’s more than enough attention-grabbing stuff out there to fill your day 24/7 and then some. So … when do you allow your imagination to roam free? When do you turn your heart and your mind to things that inspire you? When do you get the creative juices flowing and dream big dreams?
Sadly, the answer for most people, is never.

I was interviewed recently on Radio Rhema in New Zealand, by broadcasting legend John Peachy. The man has a passion for letting people tell their stories.

After the interview, he and I were chatting in the studio about the stories behind the stories. He was telling me about a well-known personality who he’d interviewed recently. The man is a public figure with a law degree … but in his younger years, he’d studied philosophy.

Now the moment John started heading down the philosophy rabbit hole, apparently the man’s eyes lit up. He became animated and passionate. This was something that inspired him. This was something that he truly cared about.

And yet, somehow it lay forgotten in his heart … after all, being a politician is a hard grind. It takes every ounce of the man’s time and energy. And hey, being you, being me … that’s a hard grind too.

So hard, that the humdrum that fills 95% of our lives seems to have rusted on to us; immobilised us; made us slaves to the here and now, to the stuff that just has to get done. (Are you getting this?)

And that … that’s a recipe for disaster.

Because as your imagination goes into hibernation, the passion, the excitement, the awe, the wonder, the excitement of conjuring up something new out of your God-given creative heart and mind … all just drain out of you.

That’s why so many people live out their lives as empty shells.

A Startling Fact About God … and About You

Imagine that you know nothing else about God, except what you can read about Him in Genesis chapter 1.

If that were the case, and you were asked, based on the evidence in that one chapter, to come up with one adjective to describe God, then the one that would probably top the list, is … creative.

God is an immensely creative God. And in that very same chapter, we’re told that we – you and I – are made in His image.

Which, unless He’s lying, means that you are an immensely creative person.

And just like that politician with a passion for philosophy, there are things in your DNA that cause you to light up, to be inspired, to get excited and passionate again. But if you’re like most people … that thing is hidden away up in the attic somewhere, in a dusty old box … long forgotten.

It’s Time to Set Your Imagination Free

So … maybe it’s time to disconnect, switch off, get alone or with some other creative people and dream crazy dreams. Dream about the things that you’re really passionate about.

I just had someone wander past my desk (I’m visiting with this radio network in Kiwi Land as I peck away here at the keyboard – just grabbed a desk in the open plan office) and without any prompting, this radio producer told me that his life is so operational.

Today’s program, tomorrow’s program … churn them out. See?! Even the creative guys have this problem. And this guy is particularly creative and talented. It’s not that he doesn’t love what he’s doing – he absolutely does. It’s just … that there’s no time to imagine new things (his words, not mine).

Come on … it’s time to set your imagination free. It’s time to give your imagination a license to roam over hill and dale; to go to crazy places it hasn’t been to before; to think up things so outrageous, so big, so out of the box, that unless God were in them, they’d have no chance of succeeding.

One of the great joys of my job, is that I get to give young, creative people the license to do that in our ministry.

TV producers, web developers, social media experts.

A case in point. A week before I published this blog, we had just completely redeveloped our ministry website –

And as all the creative types – the designers, developers, SM experts – sat around in that first meeting, I painted them a crazy, outrageous picture of what I had in my mind. But it was their job to apply their creativity to make it happen; to turn my crazy ideas into something amazing.
What they came up with was stunning. But on top of that, they all enjoyed themselves because here was a chance to let their imaginations run wild.

And that’s what creativity is … it’s setting your imagination free.

That’s what you were made to do … as God created you in his image.

So, what are you waiting for?


Berni Dymet is the CEO of ChristianityWorks