Decisive Leap Logo - Black

When Dreams Become Reality

On this week’s episode of Ignition Point, we’re taking a moment to share the overlooked link between last month’s focus on Tenacity with the upcoming month’s theme of Gratitude and Giving Back. To best illustrate this, Steven invokes Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture on achieving your childhood dreams to discuss why how whenever you act with tenacity, you actually create what you should be grateful for.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share the show with someone you think it would help and if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, it would make my day if you’d take a second to leave a review for the show. Otherwise, you’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing

New episodes of Ignition Point are available every Monday, so be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Between now and April, Ignition Point will be featuring 20 Amazing Guests, covering topics that relate to one central theme each month. So, throughout the month of November, we’re all in on Gratitude & Giving Back.

To catch up on all the Guest Features from Season 1, you can click here to check out the Season 1 Recap.


Welcome to Ignition Point – the show that’s here to get you fired up and ready to win the week.

If you’re looking to amplify your mindset with a fresh perspective – you’re in the right place.

Hey! What’s going on? I’m Steven Miller, and this is Ignition Point – the show that gets you fired up and ready to win the week.

Today, I want to connect a few dots for you. As I mentioned during the Season 2 Premiere, every episode through this season will follow a monthly theme. Case in point – last month, I sat down to talk with Jesse Randall and Rene Johnson about Marathon Mindset and the Power Zone. Both of those topics tied back to the monthly theme of Tenacity.

So, now that we’re in November, you’ll be hearing from guests who will be sharing perspectives on Gratitude and Giving Back, but don’t be too quick to judge. This isn’t just because Thanksgiving is coming up.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely convenient that I get the holiday tie in, but I’ve got a pretty good reason for wanting to pivot from tenacity to gratitude and giving back.

Whenever you’re tenacious, and you really apply that skill effectively, you create what you should be grateful for. Think about this for a sec.

Your dreams inspire your passion. Your passion – in conjunction with your “why” – ignites tenacity. Tenacity is the fuel that creates success. Success is where your dreams become reality.

Take one factor out and you’re back to just being a dreamer. Period.

This doesn’t have to be so linear, but I think it’s a pretty easy way to understand it.

But to crystalize this connection for you, I want to do something a little bit different with today’s show. For those who don’t know, back in the early days of Season 1, I wanted to split my time between covering motivational speeches and featuring local leaders.

I planned on covering 16 speeches and featuring 8 guests, but by the end of it I had covered 13 speeches and featured 11 guests. Not so different on the surface, but to be honest, when I originally set my goals and envisioned where I wanted the podcast to go, I considered 8 guests a pipe dream. It was ambitious when you consider the quality of the guests I wanted to have on and how new the show was, but because I applied myself and I got relentless about the goals I set, I finished the season with 13 covers and 11 guests.

Looking at the big picture, it validated why I was doing the podcast. I’m grateful for that validation and have thanked all those who’ve been with me along the way, but believe it or not, that’s not why I’m telling you the story.

There was a consequence of moving away from covering speeches. That was having to abandon some speeches I really wanted to feature on the show.

When I look at the plans I had, I actually lined up six other speeches that either got cut in favor of guests or that got cut because they weren’t good enough. Of those six, one has constantly been on my mind, and I think its message illustrates the connection between tenacity and gratitude.

That speech was given by Randy Pausch, and it was called the Last Lecture.

There’s a chance you might know the story – after all it was made into a New York Times best seller – but let’s start with that title. Why the Last Lecture?

Well, it was meant to be a part of a series of lectures that posed a question to the speaker, “if you had the opportunity to give one last lecture before you died, what would it be?” And while I’m sure there were some great speeches in the bunch, Randy’s Last Lecture resonated globally.

No bull, literally millions of people traveled from around the world to see him give this lecture in person. His Last Lecture was all about achieving your childhood dreams, and it’s a damn good speech, but the topic on its own doesn’t explain why all those people went out to Pittsburgh to hear him speak.

Randy Pausch gave this talk throughout the back half of 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University, shortly after having been diagnosed with Stage 4 Liver Cancer and being told he only had months to live.

Most recordings of his speech begin with Randy joking about how he wished that they hadn’t changed the name of the series, because he thought he really nailed the topic.

But after a couple more jokes to lighten the mood, Randy’s Last Lecture turned away from his diagnosis, redirecting to talking about his childhood dreams, enabling others to achieve their dreams, and how you can do these things.

Now, I don’t plan on covering his speech the way that I covered speeches last season, but there were some pieces I wanted to share that bring together our episodes on tenacity and the upcoming episodes on gratitude.

There’s no better place to start than laying out what Randy’s dreams were, but you’ve got to understand that Randy Pausch was a child of the 1960s. He was eight or nine when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, so he gave himself full creative license to dream, and dream big.

So, thinking that anything was possible, he dreamt of being in zero gravity, authoring an article in the “World Book” Encyclopedia, becoming one of the guys who won the big stuffed animals at the amusement park, and being an imagineer with Disney. He explains how he went on to accomplish each of these dreams in his lecture, but I want to focus on the one he saw as the hardest – becoming an imagineer.

When he first applied, he had already earned his doctorate from Carnegie Mellon and gotten into the World Encyclopedia for some pioneering work on early Virtual Reality systems, so you’ve got to think that he carried some real credibility, but he was turned down.

If you couldn’t guess – Randy isn’t the type of guy who takes a resounding “no” to heart. Instead, as he says in his speech, “the brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something, because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

I couldn’t agree with him more.

It was in the years following this setback that imagineering was working on a top secret virtual reality project. It was what became the Aladdin attraction where you fly a magic carpet.

At that time, Randy had just been asked to brief the Secretary of Defense on the state of virtual reality, so he decided to called up the Imagineering team. He said, “Look, I’m briefing the Secretary of Defense. I’d like some materials on what you have, because it’s one of the best VR systems in the world.” Of course, they pushed back, but Randy was ready to play the patriotism card, which led him to connecting with a guy named Jon Snoddy who was running the team.

Then came the kicker. After exchanging notes, he made a door in with Jon and sat down with him for lunch. By the end of that lunch, Randy boldly asked about working with him and was given the green light.

This is the lesson, in Randy’s words, “some brick walls are made of flesh.”

By not accepting the answer of no, Randy got to live his dream, and even after Jon Snoddy’s departure from the program, he had made such a mark that the leadership told him he could have his cake and eat it too. So, Randy became a day-a-week consultant for Imagineering for about 10 years.

When you tenaciously create your opportunities and cultivate the right relationships, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Randy goes on to remind how brick walls are an opportunity. They let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don’t really want to achieve their childhood dreams.

He said, “Don’t bail. The best of the gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap. Just work harder.”

There’s so much more to Randy’s speech, and I hope you’ll take the time to go watch it all the way through sometime this week, but the big picture is this. When you follow your dreams and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way, appreciation plays a big role.

You have to learn to take the time to appreciate the dream while you’re living it and after. Otherwise, you just keep pushing without valuing your place in life.

You have to show gratitude to the people who helped you to achieve the dream and to those who supported you along the way. If you don’t, you may not find their support on the next dream.

So, how will you blend your tenacity with an attitude of gratitude? There’s no one way, but I hope you tune in next week to hear from the first of our November guests to start answering that question.

If you’d like to check out the full video of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture or his book by the same title, I’ll put links to both in this episode’s Show Notes at

If you enjoyed this episode, please share the show with someone you think it would help and if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, it would make my day if you’d take a second to leave a review for the show. Otherwise, you’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing

New episodes of Ignition Point are available every Monday, so be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts.

That’s going to do it for this episode!

So, stay motivated and keep moving forward.

If you put in the hard work right now – one day – you could be the one motivating the world with your story.

I’ll look forward to speaking with you next time on another Ignition Point.

Now get on out there and win the week!