Blueprint for Life and Leadership

Successful people, model themselves after successful people. You want to be a good leader? Find a leader that exemplifies what you believe are key characteristics, qualities, skills and abilities that you need and write them down. That is only the beginning. Watch them, the way they handle situations, people, projects and as much as you can see, their very life. “Take the meat and spit out the bones.” Take from them what will help you, and include in your developing blueprint for your life… as a leader.

What in the world is a blueprint? And why is it so important for you to have one? A blueprint is a design plan, or a model. Builders use them to ensure that what they are building is exactly what the “economic buyer”, that’s you – wants as a finished project. That’s a simple definition. No rocket science needed. Do you have one for yourself? For your team? For your organization? A blueprint for life and leadership is what each one of us needs if we plan to be successful. I know you remember the old adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It applies here too, for your life and leadership!

Imagine you want to build your dream oceanfront home in San Diego, California. You own two acres of a lot free and clear right on the ocean. Money is no object. You have it in the bank. You’ve selected an excellent architect and excellent contractor. And they are ready to meet with you and discuss the project. At your first development team meeting, you get asked the critical questions: “What do you want? What would make this oceanfront home perfect for you and your family?” You don’t have an answer for these questions.


You can’t see the finished house at this early stage. You figure you’ll get started and see where the project goes. Wrong answer! Without some input from you, the architect can’t put pen to paper and see what you see and the contractor shouldn’t begin building. Much like my scenario we need to have a blueprint for our life as a leader and we should ensure that every person on our team has a blueprint, at least as it pertains to what they do in the organization and where they are trying to go. Especially high-performance people. It is critical that you are clear about what they need to continue to develop and they should understand that they can’t make it to the next level without a clear plan.

Let me say it differently. You need a map. You need a destination that you can compare with your starting point. What is it that you must develop in order to be a strong, respected and credible leader in your organization? What does that person look like? What are your strengths? What do you need to continue to do? What do you need to stop doing? What are your gaps? Areas of growth opportunity? All of this can be included in your blueprint.

Last week, I introduced a series I will be writing called “Under Construction”. For some reason, that phrase has provoked much thought on why we don’t accomplish what we think we should accomplish. Why aren’t we always successful as leaders? What gets in the way of success? Sometimes we fall short of the finished line and we beat ourselves up for not getting the promotion. We beat ourselves up for getting a demotion or we lose a good opportunity – we get fired. How does that happen to someone that came in with guns blazing? No plan for success. No plan to grow. No plan for succession. No plan for our people. No plan… you finish the sentence.

Ultimately our blueprint for life and leadership comes down to us making a commitment “to write the vision and make it plain that men might run with it.” I will write more on this topic as I continue to develop this series on “Under Construction“. Remember to “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are like children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napolean Hill



On A Personal Note: Step by Step by Step

In response to the Writing Challenge – A Room with a View – Where Would I Go? San Diego, California is my preferred destination! I chose a very unique way to get there! You begin your journey to join me from where ever you live to my ultimate destination – Ocean Beach, San Diego! I am in Baltimore, MD and I will begin from here! Where are you?

Our mode of transportation is our feet! We shall walk to San Diego, California and ultimately to the beach! You already said, “yes”. No backing out now! You are committed to the journey! Though, I know when I said we were walking you got this overwhelming feeling that you have bit off more than you can chew! But you gave your word…Let’s go! I can still sense you being overwhelmed by the magnitude of our journey, but let’s roll! All you have with you are your walking shoes and a journal and pen to document this phenomenal journey you are about to begin….step, by step, by step.

You have moved out your front door! Heading down the drive way and onto your street. You pause for a moment trying to figure out which direction to move in. But does it really matter you think? C’mon, get moving….you are having an internal war with the commitment, but you gave your word that you would meet me at Ocean Beach! Think about what that will look like when you arrive…. You ponder which direction is the shortest direction if you go left or right? But does it really matter? Given the sheer magnitude of the journey, you shrug and begin your journey down your street – you chose right. Step by step by step….

And you continue on, past familiar homes, stores and streets. You hear people chatting, laughing and is that a baby crying in the distance? But you don’t let that deter you, step by step by step. You’re moving, you’re walking to San Diego! Did that car almost hit you as it was speeding by, mocking you for this insane journey you said “yes” to…Who would know if you got a ride? They have room in their car, but where are they headed? Probably not to Ocean Beach in San Diego, step by step by step, you continue.

You made a commitment to walk using the feet God gave you! You’re feet feel like lead as you pick them up one at a time and put them down, one after the other, step by step by step….Who will you meet along this journey? What will you see? You push away the thoughts screaming at you, to convince you, you won’t make it…You don’t want to consider that thought, though it is screaming for attention in your mind. You only think about the next step and you hope you don’t wimp out and quit! Nope! Step by step by step – “San Diego, here I come!”

Where are you now? Step by step, you look around and you still recognize your surroundings. Buildings, and people moving about their day off to their various destinations! Why haven’t you gotten further yet? If only you could get to the highway, you would feel like you have made some progress. That there was hope that you really Ocean-Beach-Pierwould finish this journey….step by step, into the unknown. What’s between here and San Diego?

All of a sudden you can see it…there is the sign that says, “Welcome to San Diego”! You are getting closer to your destination. You smell the salt water and you can almost feel the warm sand between your toes as you head for the sparkling water, dancing with the waves and beckoning you to come explore the deep recesses of its mystery! You can see people shouting at you and cheering for you to finish the final leg of your journey!

You begin to tell yourself, “I can do this”…”I will do this”…”I will finish my journey, I will keep my word and finish what I started!” You can see yourself stepping into the cool water of Ocean Beach…the waves welcoming you as you begin to dodge them and play…deeper you go into the water, your tired feet and muscles applauding your gift – cool water…you’re laughing as you enjoy your accomplishment – You did it! You made it to San Diego! Step by step by step….you shake yourself, and the water disappears as you re-focus, you cross the street in your home town, the magnetic pull of Ocean Beach draws you as you’re heading west, step by step by step!