2018 How to Tap a New Source for Leading

I have one question that I think might make your 2018 dramatically better and also more fun.

First I begin with a question, then a quick story, then the might be mighty part of the story.

The Question:  “What could happen in 2018 for which you would say a year from now, ‘Wow, that was awesome,’ but which right now you would say, ‘I doubt that could ever happen, so why even think about it?'”

That’s the question.  Dare you scribble a one-sentence answer?  Go ‘head!  Not a traditional goal; not something you can control. Something out of the blue. Some person, idea, project, or partner who could, if you free your imagination, come to you by sheer and wonderful luck and plop itself right in front of you? So you could . . . what?


The Story: The question came to me unbidden, so that when I asked it at a dinner party last week, I didn’t even know my own answer.   One person said she would love to run an organization that was dedicated to helping those born into poverty find a way up. One guy said that it was wildly fantastic, but he would love to have enough money to quit work and just sing because he loved to perform. For my part, I said I’d love for a great mission-driven organization to “discover” me and say, “We’ve heard about how you help people ‘Lead by 2’ and we’d love for you to build that for us inside our organization.”

The Might be Mighty:  Okay, so, these are mighty dreamy.  And what might be wonderful if it fell in place for you?  Use your imagination.  It costs less than a widow’s mite (couldn’t resist the rule of three) to risk saying it.  Now of course it might not happen. So an anti-poverty organization is probably not on the verge of discovering my PhD writer-friend; a record company is not ready to knock on my shower-singing friend’s door, and a great learning organization probably won’t read this email and call me in to talk. There’s a mighty slim chance of any of these mighty awesome things happening.

But here’s the cool thing . . . If you let yourself imagine it, it might start to take you somewhere. My writer friend might let some board members know that she has a personal vision of ending poverty, or she might increase the pro bono work in her consulting firm. The middle-aged breadwinner in a white collar job might very well start voice lessons, look for a band or just a music night, sing karaoke, or take an online lyrics-writing class . . . because he has some mighty vision of entertaining and of the joy of singing.  And I just did write today’s “Reading for Leading” by publicly talking about my dream and I’m now wondering, “Well, where might I find some rich soil where my dream could nestle like a mustard seed ready to sprout?”

In short, imagination might spur a little action.  And as Goethe has been translated:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.*

Dream and do to lead with your best self!

  • Hi Dan! Great Article! It’s like you wrote it for me. I always appreciate your insight.
    Thank you for challenging me to think about the next 15 years of my career life.
    Have a great day and thanks for your creative mind. Sheri

  • I’d been delaying pushing the send button on an announcement of a workshop i created and have planned for a long time. Your post gave me the last little push in needed. One person already said they’re excited about it. THANKS!
    And i shared this week’s post with another friend who has been conflicted about what’s next for him. He’d never read your work. He said as soon as he read it he was clear about his priority.

  • You and the Dalai Lama ought to get together sometime. Invite him to speak to leadership classes. There must be a grant to pay for that.

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