Iliyana's Blog

Winners Dream: Have Goals & Do The Hard Work

[fa icon="calendar"] 18-Apr-2024 17:41:15 / by Iliyana Stareva

winners dream

In the realm of business literature, few books possess the power to inspire and impart invaluable wisdom quite like "Winners Dream" by Bill McDermott. I am not saying this because he is technically my boss given that I work at ServiceNow but because I read the signed copy I got directly from Bill almost in one go. 

Not only was it very engaging, but it was full of interesting stories about Bill's humble beginnings all the way to the top of corporate success. These stories is what made the book such a captivating read, making you want to find out what happens next quickly. I especially resonated with Bill's determination to go after what he wants - determined is definitely one of my key traits as well.

As I was reading the book, I thought there were so many helpful nuggets and learnings that I wanted to share these with you, alongside my favourite quotes. 

In essence, my biggest takeaway is that to be successful in life and to lead a fulfilling life, you need to be crystal clear on the goals and priorities that really matter to you and pour your soul and hard work into achieving them. The journey is the dream rather than the outcome itself. 

Top Learnings from Winners Dream

  1. The Power of Resilience: Bill's life story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. From overcoming childhood struggles to navigating the complexities of the corporate world, he demonstrates how setbacks can be transformed into stepping stones for growth. Embracing challenges with resilience is key to achieving long-term success.

  2. Leadership is About Empathy: One of Bill's defining leadership traits is his unwavering commitment to empathy. He emphasises the importance of understanding and connecting with people on a personal level, whether they are employees, customers, or any other stakeholder. True leadership is not just about making tough decisions; it's about genuinely caring for the people you lead.

  3. The Value of Authenticity: In a world where authenticity is often undervalued, Bill's authenticity shines through in every chapter. He advocates for being true to oneself and maintaining integrity in all dealings. Authentic leaders inspire trust and loyalty, fostering a culture of openness and transparency within their organisations.

  4. Embrace Change as an Opportunity: Change is inevitable in business, but Bill teaches us to embrace it as an opportunity rather than a threat. He shares how he navigated through various industry shifts and technological advancements by staying agile and adaptable. By embracing change, individuals and organisations can stay ahead of the curve and thrive in dynamic environments.

  5. The Importance of Vision: Bill emphasises the significance of having a clear vision and purpose. Whether it's leading a multinational corporation or pursuing personal goals, having a compelling vision provides direction and motivation. He encourages readers to dream big and set audacious goals, driving themselves and others towards a brighter future.

  6. Never Stop Learning: Despite his remarkable success, Bill remains a lifelong learner. He advocates for continuous self-improvement and a thirst for knowledge. Whether it's seeking mentorship, reading voraciously, or learning from failures, he highlights the importance of humility and curiosity in the journey towards success.

  7. Success is a Team Sport: Bill attributes much of his success to the teams he has been a part of throughout his career. He emphasises the value of collaboration, diversity, and inclusivity in achieving collective goals. By fostering a culture of teamwork and empowerment, organisations can unleash the full potential of their talent pool.

  8. Lead with Passion and Purpose: Above all, Bill encourages aspiring leaders to lead with passion and purpose. He believes that true fulfilment comes from aligning one's personal values with their professional endeavours. Leaders who are driven by a genuine passion for their work inspire others to follow suit, creating a ripple effect of positive change.

My Favourite Quotes from Winners Dream

"Driving back into Manhattan, I feel as if I've accomplished something much greater than if I had actually gotten the promotion: I had stood up for myself. No one would ever care about my career as much as I did. Careers had to be nurtured and protected, and that was how I would go after my dreams. As long as I acted with integrity - I wouldn't badmouth or offend others - I felt comfortable, and unapologetic, being my bold self."

"Experience, exposure, and maturity - as well as a Greek poem - were revealing a truth that I'd probably always known: winning was not about a specific end but about how an end was met, moment after moment. Winning was the process, not the destination. A journey of striving to be better - to be kinder, more compassionate, hungrier, more humble, more audacious, more inspiring, more rigorous - that was what turned me on, what inspired me. The quest was the best."

"I am a dreamer, but I am also a fighter."

"By 2002, I had come to understand the difference between a goal and a dream - and my definition of winning also had evolved. A goal was a number. An outcome. A dream was something grander. More ongoing. Lasting, True winning was not about a specific end but about how that end was met. The journey was the dream."

"Because your winner's dream is the essence of who you are. It is your power; it is your strength. Your winner's dream represents your hunger, your inner magic, your capacity for empathy and for execution. The purity of your winner's dream is what emboldens you to triumph over thunderbolts and be a crusader on behalf of yourself and those around you. So imagine it, be ever loyal to it, and be forever inspired by it. Ultimately, your winner's dream is your journey as you strive to be true to yourself and create a life of authenticity." 


Have you read the book? If yes, curious to hear your thoughts on what you took out of it.


Topics: Brands and Business, Career

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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