Do you have grown up goals and toddler leadership?

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Yesterday, I had a wonderful series of coaching calls with clients that are all making huge leaps and bounds.

They made plans, worked hard, got great results, and now are totally on track to  see their big visions realized.

After some cheering and virtual high-fiving, they got kind of quiet. And each of them expressed in their own way that they felt a little funny stepping into bigger shoes.

It is one thing to have a big dream of doing something like launching a business, or getting a book deal, or stepping out on a much bigger stage with a powerful message.

It is another thing to have that dream become a reality, and realize that you alone have to step up and execute it.

”Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it.” – James Baldwin

Bigger goals require a different set of leadership skills

We often think of leaders as heads of state, or CEOs of large corporations, or activists in large social causes.

When, in fact, we are all leaders. Of our lives, our businesses, and our careers.

And our leadership can and will change over time, based on our focus and priorities.

 A leader is as a leader does

Leaders of any stripe know four important things:

  1. What they believe in
  2. What their goal is
  3. What they need to do to reach their goal
  4. How they need to behave to reach their goal

Your leadership recipe

To align your leadership behaviors with your big goals, create a specific recipe.

For example:

I am (fill in the blank with the goal you are aiming for):

  • an award-winning documentary filmmaker
  • a best-selling author
  • a six-figure professional speaker
  • a debt-free individual
  • a grounded and present parent

If this is true, what do you need to do, and how do you need to act?

To be a successful documentary maker

  • I will  work on my storytelling skills every day.
  • I will choose powerful topics that have great personal meaning and broad interest and appeal.
  • I will study the work of great filmmakers and master the technical side of film-making.
  • I will research the top film festivals and submit my films on a regular basis.
  • I will be open to feedback from mentors while maintaining a clear sense of my own vision and style.
  • I will get comfortable asking for money from individuals, organizations and companies.
  • I will not take my failures personally.
  • I will not rush technical production, I will pay attention to details.
  • I will manage my budget and my crew.

To be a best-selling author:

  • I will write every day, regardless of rain, shine, cramps, grumpiness or angst.
  • I will expand my social media platform on a daily basis.
  • I will work on my writing craft every day.
  • I will build key relationships with journalists, connectors, organizations and associations that could promote my books.
  • I will deconstruct bestselling book launches and assimilate the best practices into my own plan.
  • I will be generous and responsive with my community.
  • I will put the time, money and effort into my book promotion plan, even if it means saying no to things I love to do.

To be a six-figure professional speaker

  • I will speak on a regular basis to all kinds of groups in ever-larger locations.
  • I will actively seek feedback and coaching from the very best mentors.
  • I will spend time and energy on shaping powerful stories and presentations.
  • I will take high quality video of my presentations.
  • I will build a beautiful and effective speaking site, with powerful video clips of me in action.
  • I will study other professional speakers who have developed successful practices.
  • I will say no to any gig that is not in alignment with my goal, even if I want to be of service.
  • When demand for my speaking begins to build, I will stand strong and clear with my prices, and not offer deep discounts that will tarnish my brand.
  • I will set up clear and effective systems to support my speaking business

To be a debt-free individual

  • I will look at every aspect of my personal finances
  • I will  cut down on expenses
  • I will not avoid phone calls, paper bills or uncomfortable conversations with creditors
  • I will make paying down debt the first priority before any treats or extra expenses
  • I will tune into the feelings and behaviors that caused the debt in the first place
  • I will be compassionate with myself
  • I will solicit help from professionals that can help me understand and manage my personal finance
  • I will look for ways to make more money

To be a grounded and present parent

  • I will turn off electronic devices when I spend time with my family.
  • I will take time for self-care, meditation and personal interests.
  • I will design a healthy and creative home environment where love and art is welcome.
  • I will think before I talk, or yell.
  • I will really listen to my kids when they talk, by getting eye level with them, maintaining eye contact and nodding
  • I will be thoughtful about what I talk about in front of my children.
  • I will set up clear boundaries and consequences for my children’s behavior, and follow through.

When you demonstrate these new leadership behaviors, you may find that not everyone likes the change.

“You are not the same person I used to know,” they may say.

At which point you look them in the eye and say:


Wear your crown proudly.

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6 Responses to “Do you have grown up goals and toddler leadership?”

  1. Julie says:

    I never wanted to be a leader. I just wanted to license my product and move on. But I ended up having to run an international manufacturing business with about 20 distributors. Being forced to rise to the occasion can be a scary thing. Especially when you realize that single moms are feeding their kids with the money they make selling your products. It’s a lot of responsibility and you can’t let them down.

  2. Being a leader is calling and therefore everyone who heed the call will be given wisdom to lead and excel in his chosen field.

  3. Hi Pam,

    Great post. I especially like the “I will” statements. They are very powerful and inspire action. Thanks!

  4. I think a lot of people have the tools, skills and talents to create success in a new area or endeavor, but it’s easy to lack confidence when it comes to being able to picture yourself at the center of that success. I really like the model of breaking down the higher vision into smaller bite size actions that make it seem easier and more manageable to get there. Thanks!

  5. Carmelo says:

    Hi Pam,

    When I first read over the list, about half way through I said to myself; this isn’t a leadership list it’s a success list. Then it dawned on me that leadership is about successfully leading and directing yourself first.

    I see that the point you’re making is that when you strongly perform, people follow. People who “fake it” trying to get people to follow are not leaders. And unqualified people who are placed into positions where people are forced to follow are not necessarily leaders.

    Thanks for your perspective.

  6. faisal says:

    Those are a lot of things to look into, that is where the issue arrives with lack of experience.