Manifesting A Dream Is Key To Exemplary Leadership

When President John F. Kennedy shouted out to the nation, “We choose to go to the moon,” he was not, in that moment, concerned with the logistics. He gave voice to his dream and shared it with the community. His gift became our dream and a call to action to make it happen. Martin Luther King Jr. also had a dream. He too gave it a voice. He shouted it out. He too birthed his dream and, with courage, he also shared it with the community.

Anyone can be a leader. We each have a gift to give to our community, and it often comes to us as an idea, something we dream about doing, or achieving or creating. But dreaming about something is not enough. We have to be hungry for it to manifest. There are two formulas for manifesting your dream:

Idea + Desire = Action

Dream + Believe + Commit (sharing your dream) = Manifestation

Napolean Hill is often credited with saying, “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” Desire is hunger. It is passion. It is the emotion that propels us forward into taking action. Leaders who take action give the idea voice and share it with the community with such an unwavering belief in their dream that it will become a reality. These leaders move from the imaginal realm to reality.

Another component for success that both JFK and MLK shared was courage. It takes courage to have a dream and share it with the community. They did more than share; they shouted it out, igniting passion in the community. How many of us have that kind of courage as leaders to be willing to shout out our dream or idea into the community? What holds us back from stirring up the passion in others about our dream? Here are some common culprits:

• Fear

• Limiting beliefs or energy

• A lack of belief in yourself

• Limiting believers, otherwise known as the naysayers, dream squashers and dream-stealers

Let’s delve into these a bit deeper and examine them further. How come you might limit yourself and your dreams? Do you surround yourself with those who engage and support you in your dream or those who are negative and create an inner disbelief in yourself? As a leader, when formulating your team, you need to surround yourself with those who can hold the vision, those who can help create the map or the plan of making it happen and those who will be able to say, “We’re off track” or “We need to change course here.” Psychological safety is paramount in a team where members feel they can speak up and not be punished for doing so.

Another area to examine is your self-confidence. Do you lack faith in yourself? Or can you take the position of dare and do. What energy do you bring to your dream — excitement or doubt? Take a moment to reflect back on a dream you had, an idea, that did not manifest and ponder the questions above. To manifest your dream requires an unwavering belief in yourself, unbridled energy and trusted friends who can keep you moving in the direction of your dream. Enthusiasm is contagious and a vital component for making changes happen. Optimism is one of the competencies of emotional intelligence and when confronted with challenges, optimism carries you through these challenges to a greater end.

With that said, some dreams or ideas are mere folly, and you need those friends who can be honest with you without squashing your desire to continue to dream big. Often a mentor or executive coach can be a good sounding board to ferret out your idea and the feasibility of it manifesting. When considering whether or not your dream is a good one, there are other questions to ask. What do you have to let go of in order to manifest your dream? Are you too attached? Do you have to let go of your fears — fear of judgment, fear of failure, any fears that hold you back? Finally, during the creative process, the end result may be a bit different than what you originally dreamt of, which means sometimes letting go of the outcome as your dream unfolds into reality.

Now we can add to our formula for success of manifesting your dream:

Dream + Believe + Commit + A Strong Trusted Team = Manifestation

In the present day, a courageous woman and a budding leader comes to mind, who, like JFK and MLK, is shouting out her dream to the world with tremendous courage: Greta Thunberg. She has given voice to her dream with unwavering belief. She has surrounded herself with a team of scientists to support her position while offering a solution. Bringing her message to the world at the United Nations, she challenged the thinking behind where, as a world, we are heading. She demonstrates every component of the formula: She has a dream, she believes in her dream, she is committed to her dream and she is backed by a strong, trusted team. Like JFK, who needed an entire community behind him to manifest his dream of going to the moon, Thunberg is not giving up. Her dream is not folly. It is a realistic and doable dream.

Anyone can be a leader with the right attributes. As we can see in Thunberg, no one gives you the title. You have to have the courage to shout out your dream and know who to choose to back you up, the people who will hold the fire energy to ignite the birthing of your dream. Like Thunberg, when confronted with obstacles, you shouldn’t give up but rather use setbacks to fuel you into action.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Forbes and is featured here with Author permission.


Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.
Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.
Melinda Fouts, Ph. D., International Executive Coach, Psychotherapist is a select Columnist & Featured Contributor for BIZCATALYST 360° and a Member of the Forbes Coaches Council (comprised of Top coaches offering insights on leadership development & careers), and founder of Success Starts with You. She was recently chosen to receive the Empowered Woman of the Year Award for 2021 given by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). She also received the honor as the top international coach of the year in 2020 by the IAOTP. She provides visionary leadership in her field and her many credentials prove she has the ability to empower women worldwide. Her exemplary role as a female professional in a male-dominated industry displays her influence, capability, and proficiency. Inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is an honor in itself, only a few women are chosen for this distinction based on their years of experience, professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, and contributions to their communities. With innovation and compassion, these women empower others to reach their goals, while creating change for future generations. With over 2 decades of professional experience as a business coach and psychotherapist, Dr. Fouts has proven herself as an accomplished professional and expert in the field. As a dynamic, results-driven leader, Dr. Fouts has demonstrated success not only as an Executive Business Coach, but in every role she has held. Prior to executive coaching and leadership development, Melinda has been in private practice as a psychotherapist for over 20 years. She leverages her strengths and insights from her psychology background to help leaders and managers in transition through increased self-awareness. Owner and founder of Success Starts with You, is based upon the premise that you are already successful. Increasing self-awareness to increase emotional intelligence and unlocking blind spots are paramount to continued success. Dr. Fouts leverages her strengths and insights from her psychology background to help leaders and managers in transition through increased self-awareness and discovering their blind spots. It can be lonely at the top and as a thought partner, she makes sure you are not alone. Dr. Fouts’ unique approach from other business coaches is that she helps get rid of thinking and behavioral patterns that tend to keep executives stuck. Her key areas of expertise include but are not limited to: small business consulting, enhancing emotional intelligence, self-awareness, unlocking fullest potential, brainstorming, identifying limitations, challenges, obstacles and optimizing performance. In addition, her successful career as a Psychotherapist and International Executive Business Coach, Dr. Fouts is a sought-after speaker whose key-note address to Women’s Leadership Conferences is Channeling Feminine Power in the Face of Adversity. Her newly released book, Cognitive Enlightenment, was to be presented at the London Book Fair, March 2020, the NY Book Fair, May 2020, and the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2020 until COVID hit. Melinda received her Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology from Saybrook University and her Masters in Psychology from Pacifica University. Melinda has worked as a consultant with executives and businesses for over 20 years. As a result of her experience and studies, she has developed a unique craft to fine-tune leadership development for peak performance. She lives in Colorado with her big, beautiful dog, Stryder. For more information on Dr. Fouts please visit:

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  1. I believe that to realize a dream one must know one’s most important values ​​well, and be able to define what must concretely happen in one’s life so that each of these values ​​is fully realized.
    A dream, in order to keep us alive until its realization, must give us energy, vigor, security. We must feel that this is our own path, and that whatever happens, nothing can stop us.
    The dream must be ambitious. If one wishes to spend oneself on a mission of value, then he must set himself high, ambitious goals.
    Whatever the dream is, it must be transformed into a goal, and the goal will then require a path to be achieved. If we do not like this path, if we are not willing to bear the weight, if the motivation is not sufficient to generate resilience, then perhaps that goal does not belong to us at all. The sacrifice that one is willing to make is for a goal that you feel is really important. And then everything becomes relative, even the fatigue.
    If dream does not have all of these characteristics, then it is just a passing falling in love, and it will easily let go along the way.

    • Hi Aldo,

      As always, your added insights bring extra value to my article. I appreciate you taking the time to not only read it but share your thoughts as well. You are correct that our dreams need to invigorate us and have a high amount of energy with them.

  2. Melinda — I appreciate your piece. What occurred to me as I was reading it was how many organization leaders are all about action, but lack deep dreams and beliefs about what could be. Instead, the are locked in an endless stream of doing, but toward what? Quarterly profit goals? Graduating a certain number of students? Producing or selling a certain number of cars? There is little attention given to why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place.

    Kennedy’s dream of going to the moon was important because it was galvanizing; and it was galvanizing at a time when the nation desperately needed to come together. Today there is talk of returning to the moon, but the story is buried at the back of the newspaper because there is no higher purpose associated with it.