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The Dreamer. The Starter. The Maintainer.

“You are straight up ministering to me right now.”

I was explaining this concept of dreamers, starters, & maintainers to someone recently when that was their response. So, I thought I’d share it here with you.


A few years into this business I couldn’t figure out why I would get bored after working with a client for a year or so. My motivation decreased & I had to work harder at doing excellent work on projects that lasted longer than a year. I was quite frustrated by this until I discovered there are three different types of people: Dreamers, Starters, & Maintainers. I don’t even recall when or how the realization came about, but it was a game changer for me.


The Dreamer.

Harriet Tubman wrote “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” But what happens after that dream has been thought up?

Dreamers are those who have the unique gift of thinking about new ideas and changes they wish to see, yet do not know where to go from there. Ask them to create a plan of action & they might go into a panic. Even worse, ask them to stick with one dream for 1 year, 2 years, even longer & they will almost certainly want to shrivel up in a corner. Dreamers thrive on just that: dreaming.


The Starter.

Starters, then, are those who can begin the process of making dreams happen. They have the ability to create systems which allow for these new ideas to take place. Once they have reached this point, however, they are not always good at seeing it through and fail to reach the next steps of the process.

Ask a Starter to sit in endless brainstorming meetings just coming up with ideas & they will probably wonder what in the world the point of that is. But, ask them to keep maintaining a plan they created a year or more ago & they will also wonder what the point of that is. Starters thrive on just that: starting.


The Maintainer.

Without maintainers, nothing would have any sort of sustainability. Maintainers are those who are not best at coming up with new ideas or figuring out what needs to be done to make things happen, but are great at following directions. They continually maintain the systems and processes put in place before them & therefore are critical supporters of any dream.

Ask a Maintainer to develop a plan of action or come up with a brand new idea & they will likely stare at you blankly. But give them a series of steps to follow & they will carry them out with over-the-top excellence. Maintainers are often overlooked as they have one of the less “glorious” positions in an organization, but without the any organization would eventually fall apart for lack of follow-through & persistence.


Have you found these principles to be true in your work? Which category do you think you fall into?


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