Dr. John Cranham dreamed of becoming a successful and respected dentist. Early in his career he sought out the best teachers and traveled to Florida to attend a class taught by an expert in his field. The only hitch – he didn’t have enough money to pay for a hotel room. He barely had enough income to register for the class. He spent the nights in his car.

Fast forward to today. I just heard Dr. Cranham present a lecture in Palm Springs on transformation to a venerable audience of experienced dentists. He is now the respected dentist that he once dreamed he would become. Dr. Cranham transformed himself.

Here are his seven principles on how we can orchestrate positive change in our lives as well.

Step 1 – Decide you want to make a change.
Step 2 – Set a B HAG. Jim Collins defined this concept in his book, Good to Great. B HAG stands for a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
Step 3 – Find needed information. Take classes, hire a coach, experiment via trial & error, look inward, look outward.
Step 4 – Share the vision. If you keep it a secret, it might always be a secret – to everyone else, and yourself.
Step 5 – Accept and expect obstacles with grace. These challenges come in two varieties: obstacles we can’t control such as illness or earthquakes; and obstacles we create. I’m sure we can all think of times we’ve had to dig out of negative situations of our own making.
Step 6 – Stay tenacious, persistent, and disciplined. Do the work.
Step 7 – Make the world a better place.

Dr. Cranham used vivid examples from his own life to support this seven-step method from adopting a sick and mentally challenged baby boy to completing an Iron Man competition. His adopted son, 15 year old Cornell, born to a woman addicted to crack, has surpassed all the medical predictions and inspires his entire family. And Dr. Cranham’s BHAG to get in great shape will insure he’s able to keep up with Cornell, his two daughters, his wife, and his illustrious career.

He closed his presentation by quoting Joel Barker, the first person to popularize the concept of paradigm shifts for the corporate world. “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes time. Vision with action can change the world.”

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