Transforming Your Great Idea Into A Rewarding Career: “Dream Year” by Ben Arment

You hate your job.

It’s OK, we’ve all been there. I definitely have, several times over.

What if we were no longer satisfied with the status quo? If we actually found something we enjoyed doing and wrapped our lives around that?

What if there was a resource that helped us teleport from our frustrating routine of mind-numbing jobs to significant, fulfilling careers? What if our dreams became a reality?

Allow me to introduce: Dream Year: Make The Leap From A Job You Hate To A Life You Love.

When I Met The Idea Guy

I met the book’s author, Ben Arment, last summer. I was in Virginia Beach for a family vacation and sent Ben a message letting him know I’d be in town. He responded the next day and we arranged a time to connect over coffee.

From following his work online (STORY conference and Dream Year coaching), it was apparent Ben was a hard-working guy. And throughout our conversation, it was crystal clear his passion was helping others make theirs happen.

As we spoke, I saw how he thrived on new ideas. Rather than abandon frustrating careers, Ben advocated people adapt their skills and repackage the work they’ve already been doing. Dreamers can accomplish what they want and make a living doing it by becoming a rising breed of niche artisan-entrepreneurs who offer solutions to unmet needs in ways no one else has.

“Align what you do with who you are.”

To help people grow into their role of self-sustaining owners of their dreams, Ben coaches them over the course of a year. And now he offers what he’s learned to the rest of us with the recent release of his book, Dream Year.

What Are You Good At?

“I believe that every person can be the best in the world at one thing.”

Maybe you’ll find that answer is closer to the things you’ve done for fun or what you did as a child. Hobbies can pass the time, but the greatest excitement you feel is when you’re creating something out of who you are. You can’t help but dream about it and imagine how your life could be if you were a __________ (business owner, event producer, artist, author, or anything else).

“Discovering your dream is about finding your sweet spot. It’s where these four components – passion, demand, platform, and giftedness – come together in one coordinated expression.”

For many of us, it takes a whole lot of digging just to find what the core of our dream really is. We’ve gotten sidetracked by interests and obligations, growing up and having families and commitments. Life happened, but there’s still the dull aching, in the back of our minds, that we’re meant for more. We can be good at a lot of things, but we know there’s something missing that we can bring to the table.

“Dream Year is about doing what you love and making a unique contribution to the world.”

Because we see the world just a little bit differently, our perspective drives us to do what no one else has done or has even thought to do.

Getting From Here To There

“A system keeps you going when the inspiration is gone (and believe me – it will leave you).”

I cruised through the first three chapters of Dream Year, loving every bit of the inspiration and quotes from other dream-oriented creatives. Then it hit me, right there in the fourth chapter.

Dreaming requires doing.

“Dream Year is about pursuing your passion. But it’s also about creating a financially sustainable idea. The goal is not merely to do something audacious but to create revenue that will provide income for you, generate a profit, and allow you to benefit others if you’d like.”

I wondered if Ben really meant to put the talk of financial plans, strategies, and practical steps so early in the book. I thought action points were only for the last couple pages. But then I realized he’s right.

“Great ideas have no value unless they’re executed.”

There’s no way around hard work.

To bring something new into the world isn’t just about the mental capacity to invent it. That’s only the first part of the battle. The real substance of an idea shows up in reality when we get busy — not busy on tasks and activity, but on the actual dream itself. Doing work is like creating a body for the soul of the dream. The soul can move people inspirationally or emotionally, but it won’t actually change someone’s life if there’s no real world application.

It’s got to mean something to people.

No Dream Happens Without A Team

People are why ideas are great and why ideas matter.

“Your idea won’t succeed if it doesn’t solve people’s problems.”

People are the foundation of how your dream shows itself, and people are the means by which your dream comes to life. It’s not that they’re the means to an end; all good work is really about how something benefits people. In every stage of making a new career and a new life for yourself, you’ll have to provide something meaningful.

“Building a platform is not about becoming famous. It’s about building a distribution channel for your dream.”

Ben is a masterful networker. He seems to know everybody, have a story about every kind of person, and have contacts in every industry. He proposes that anyone who wants to offer a product or experience or service must be willing to connect with other people and be confident about his or her own work.

By asking for something from someone else, you can also offer something valuable. People want to be included in noteworthy projects. Social movements gain momentum because people crave community, belonging, and a tribe to call their own. They want to be needed and to make a difference. And your dream can do that for them. You just need to ask something of them.

“Making asks if the only way to bring your dream to life.”

A System For Successful Ideas

Turns out there’s a lot of planning required to make a system that functions efficiently. To bring a product to market or engage people in your community or capture them with something brilliant, you need to build each part of the support structure it will be carried on.

Hard work alone won’t do the trick; we need to plan strategically, too.

“A great idea is a spreadsheet with skin on.”

No plan is ever truly complete, because every day is a clean slate. Schedules get interrupted, emergencies or shifts in culture or popular opinion occur. Most of it is out of our control. We can’t fix it, but we can adapt. We can adjust the plan as we go, agile and mobile, but always trained on the dead center of our dreams. Never surrender the vision.

That’s what it takes to bring an intangible spark of an idea to 3D, real life existence. Dreaming and doing helps society progress by doing what no one’s done before. We’re shaping culture and forging new frontiers in art, science, business, sociology, education, and more.

“The reward of being a dreamer is that you get to create an unseen future.”

Work is a huge part of our lives, and one of the primary ways we can contribute to the world. It’s important enough to dream big and do bigger. And it’s not just about doing; it’s about becoming. Through our work, we let go of parts of ourselves that we no longer need and step into more of who we really want to be.

“Dream Year is less about who you are than who you need to become.”


What about you? What’s your dream? Share it in the comments below and check out Ben Arment’s book, Dream Year.


Read more book reviews:
Cutting Through Distractions and Living in the Moment: “Framing Faith” by Matt Knisely
An Honest Christian Look At Depression: Perry Noble’s Book, “Overwhelmed”
How Waiting Makes You A Better Person – “The In-Between” by Jeff Goins

4 responses to “Transforming Your Great Idea Into A Rewarding Career: “Dream Year” by Ben Arment

  1. Thanks for this, John! Your blog post is aptly timed, as I’ve been reflecting on the same topic recently ( Well, since I’m a career counselor, I guess I’m reflecting on career and calling more often than not. 🙂 Keep up the good work, and I’ll look into Ben’s book.

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