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:
• 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.