The Dream is Alive, but the Ladder is Broken
NEW BOOK GIVEAWAY!!
20 copies available!!
Leave a comment on this guest post by John Hope Bryant to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of his new book, “Up From Nothing: The Untold Story of How We (All) Succeed.”
(Deadline for eligibility is 10/10/2020. International winners will receive electronic versions.)
We are in unprecedented times. Leadership of all levels is under fire. Our way of looking at things has changed, and we stand on the edge of this change with uncertainty and trepidation.
Is all hope lost? Or is the American Dream still alive?
The answer to that is two-fold. Yes, the Land of Opportunity still exists, but it does not exist for everyone. The ladder is broken, but it’s not unfixable. Each of us has the power inside to rise up, to mend the rungs of a long-broken system, and ensure we bring others up with us.
We all must do our part to live up to America’s promise—the promise that where you come from doesn’t matter nearly as much as where you’re going.
3 Ways to Do Your Part to Fix the Ladder
#1 Be a Role Model
Leaders have a special call to action to model behavior that others look up to. If you’re opening doors and including members of the team proactively, others will do the same.
#2 Drive Opportunity
Look for opportunities to include individuals who might be left out of the conversation. Ask their opinions, even if it’s outside their scope of work. This opens up the door for diversity in communication and opposing perspectives.
#3 Build Confidence
Sometimes you don’t know you can do something until you’re told you can do something.
Show others they have the skills and talent to do hard things and be sure to offer constructive feedback so they can grow in their self-esteem and confidence.
Leadership is a powerful tool. It serves as a starting point for hope.
How will you use your leadership to keep the American Dream alive?
John Hope Bryant is an American entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and prominent thought leader on financial inclusion, economic empowerment and financial dignity. Mr. Bryant is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc. His recent book, Up from Nothing: The Untold Story of How We (All) Succeed, launches October 2020.
Love this, sometimes we take it all on and deny others the chance to try, do it a little different and make it a win for everyone
Awesome and insightful information!! A great recommended read!!
This is an interesting perspective. There is no British equivalent of the “American Dream”.
This is timely for me. Looking forward to reading this!
I can especially relate to #3. When I first had an opportunity in a management role, no one really ever told me what I “can do”. I was mostly left to my own devices and I am certain I missed many opportunities simply because I didn’t know, and no one told me what was “ok” to do.
Being a role model is so critical today and especially in Leaders. Much seems to be broken where it’s hard to question if the ladder is on the right wall if its broken. An interesting read and great reflection.
Great Connection to ladders! Ladders enable. We climb them to get a better view. When we climb a ladder, we reach to adjust or fix something. Ladders can raise us up with each step up.
I love the confidence quote. I’m looking forward to reading this book.
Right on. Inclusive leaders are marathoners, not sprinters. They’re effective at going further than even their team members imagine is possible.
Be a role model and drive opportunity! What better ways are there? None I can think of. Thanks for sharing such a timely lesson.
The book’s description really appears to hit home for me right now. As we continue to lead through difficult times, the message continues that we can continue to grow and we can all do hard things, even when uncomfortable.
Never give up. Always hope. Keep moving forward. Trust in God. He will make the path straight.
This seems like such a critical subject for such a time as this!
What I love about this is that those are the three things that have inspired me and given me the drive to lead and succeed in my position. Someone has been/done these things for me so I want to give back and be/do these things for others. Helping others succeed is more rewarding to me than my own success.
“Leadership is a powerful tool. It serves as a starting point for hope.” What a great statement!
I’ve lost respect for many of the so- called leaders in this world over the past 7 months.
But… I can not control what they do, only what I can do.
As Napoleon said it… Leaders are dealers in hope.
I will continue to instill hope in my friends and loved ones.
I would love to read this! With all of the chaos and discord (both political and other) surrounding everyone right now, a reminder of hope and empowerment is a welcome gift. Thanks for sharing.
This came at the perfect time as do most of the posts that you do that I stop to read. Looking at employees from a different lens to see what hidden potential there is speaks to me. Thank you for sharing.
What a great statement! “Leadership is a powerful tool. It serves as a starting point for hope.”
We can ALL do something(s). Looking forward to the read.
The ladder is a good analogy. Thank you for sharing.
Agreed! Doing your part, making and seizing opportunities is so critical to continued growth and achievement. Thank you!
One of the favorite parts of my jobs is mentoring. I love the broken ladder metaphor.
“Show others they have the skills and talent to do hard things and be sure to offer constructive feedback so they can grow in their self-esteem and confidence.” I see this and think of my Father and Grandfathers and how they all in different ways impacted me early on. Maybe to some extent we have lost that impact.
You never know when you may be the one who helps someone something in themselves they knew dreamed existed.
Many are looking for the way and few are finding it. This will give great perspective to that search.
Thanks for your convicting and encouraging post, John! I have the privilege of serving as a tutor for The Victory Project in Dayton, OH. VP is an after school program that emphasizes 3 “E”s: Education, Enlightenment, and Entrepenuerialship. The founder, Monnie Bush, emphasizes it’s more about what we undo than what we do! By transforming despair into hope and can’t into can, we’re changing our community for the better — one life and one family at a time. You’re so right — as leaders, we can and should lift others up in all of our spheres of influence!
With so many people suddenly working from home it takes some creativity to motivate the team. This is when great leaders can really shine.
Trying to keep the Canadian Dream alive! Thanks for the great read!
I see the stagnation of the “American Dream” or that ideal in many of our young people, my own children included. They don’t seem to know what it is or even that it is. The dream is to work for something that is not already in ones possession, to have expections of oneself, and to aspire to something greater regardless of the background one comes from. I came from a very poor background and have worked hard throughout my life to give my children what I couldn’t have. But did I destroy their “American Dream” in giving too much and making things a bit easier for them?
This is such a great and important message at this point in time! Thanks for sharing.
Each one of us can likely contribute something, maybe a lot, maybe only a little. Yes, how much we can contribute will depend upon our experience and our passions.
But that experience and passion can also create issues: We might be blinded to the subtle differences from our experience. We might think that we should be in control, generating friction.
Or, as quite often has happened, and can easily happen again, we might not have much experience at all; but we are dedicated to determining if we can add a thought or question (a catalyst) to the open minded person sharing her / his work that might trigger great strides toward a greatly improved outcome.
We all need to strive to have a positive impact.
Perfect timing. Building confidence is key to building a healthy inclusive team. Thanks for the post.
“Be a role model”. This can’t be stressed enough. Our entire country is suffering from a lack of true leadership, we need leaders who will talk the talk, and walk the walk.
It’s easy to lose hope when ladders are broken. I’m looking forward to the encouragement I may receive from your thoughts on this and hopefully it will inspire me to be an encourager as well.
Being a role model is so critical today and especially in Leaders. Leaders must hold the ladder up sometimes. When we climb a ladder, we reach to adjust or fix something. Ladders can raise us up with each step up and assist others to climb the ladder.
#2 has been a struggle for me. With the change of everyone working from home, my one on one time has increased, but the whole team being together has gone way down, so I’m not bringing others into problems/discussions as much. Great post and I’ll work on getting others into my virtual meetings.
I love this! Such a great lesson that so many people need to learn. We all have it within us to be successful and to thrive, but some people have never been told they have it within them and some people have never known their strength and abilities before. I added this to my amazon wishlist because this is definitely a book I will want to buy someday!
I love these steps. Driving opportunity is so often forgotten, yet sometimes I get my best feedback and ideas are when I stop to ask those who see it from a different perspective and don’t live it daily. I also love the idea of building others confidence in what they can accomplish. As someone who is responsible for a team of people of all different ages and backgrounds, often not more than a high school degree, it is enjoyable to remind them what they are capable of! Thanks for another great reminder.
#2 Drive Opportunity really resonates with me as a leader. It especially resonates with me during this time of working remotely, opportunities to be engaged in conversations and grow are not as readily available when we are working from home. As a leader we have additional responsibility as we work independently on our buys schedules, to insure we reach out to and include others in conversation, promote development and growth.
Looking forward to have the opportunity to read more on this important topic.
“Each of us has the power inside to rise up”, wow i really need more hope. Thanks for sharing!
Great insights into ways of elevating the whole team..
This sounds like a great book!
I am a member of our Board of Education. These are all good advice for our board to hear as we lead in such uncertain times.
Looks like an interesting read, for sure. Thank you for the recommendation.
Love this quote: “Leadership is a powerful tool. It serves as a starting point for hope.”
Looks like an interesting and timely read. Thank you for the recommendation.
Love this quote: “Leadership is a powerful tool. It serves as a starting point for hope.”
I really like those conversations about leadership. I love thinking about what I can do better to help others thrive!
Great advice from John. I think “build confidence” is best positioned as #1 because our actions and behaviors are shaped by the level of belief in our abilities.
Great perspective, true leaders are the example for others to build on
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Leaders succeed when their teams succeed. It’s a shift from me to we in all aspects of the work. Lead through service, humility, and compassion toward others. It’s not the easiest route, but the rewards are far greater than individual success at the expense of others.
Sounds very interesting
Sounds like something I should read. 🤔
After our last board meeting it feels as if the ladder isn’t only broken, it was taken away completely! And yet, the dream remains.
Hi Dan, I have a book that is about to be published. Would it be possible to share a blog post and provide some books to your members as a give away?
* Dave Razo * * Dave.Razo@gmail.com *
* (478) 320-5967*
Good introduction…on point! Agree, leadership is a powerful tool applied correctly we can begin to fix the broken ladder. Thanks for sharing.
This is a great book to start the conversation about a new better Normal working on solutions not blame. I just reviewed this book on Amazon here are my first few thoughts; Have you ever started reading a book and found yourself saying,” This is so true” over and over again? I found this to be the case for me as I read Up From Nothing; The Untold Story of How We(All) Succeed by John Hope Bryant. Bryant shares a simple yet dramatically profound thought “America is not a country; it is an idea. If we don’t like the idea, we can reimagine it” The idea he proposes is for America to change its mindset toward succeeding.to include everyone.
Excellent point – great leaders help with building their direct reports’ confidence to dream bigger and to achieve greater things.
Congratulations! 💯 Looking forward to another great read and spring board. Continued blessings brother.
I love your posts! Very informative and useful. Hoping to get an opportunity to read the book.
I am an avid reader of business, leadership and self improvement books and this is right up my alley!
As I move up the ladder of leadership I have been told to dream big and take others with me on my journey. I have met some amazing mentors who keep me honest and inspire me daily. I try to share the many articles I find with our team. This one will be the lead article tomorrow.
Most every leader knows the right things to say, not ever leader follows up by doing the right thing.
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We live in San Diego and are a fairly young company I would love to send 3 of our key managers to a hands on dealing with people workshop do you have suggestions
Great message! I like the idea that leadership drives hope.
The Great American Dream is still alive!!
I’m striving to believe in others until they can believe in themselves as a leader!
John Hope Bryant is an social economic genius and his work is results driven. Looking forward to getting a copy of his new book. THE DREAM IS STILL ALIVE ’cause i’m living it in every color that i can.
If all leaders would use these strategies to “Fix” the ladder it would improve school culture and climate!
I would love to read this book.
Was this post supposed to have a political undertone?
I would love to read the book, definitely need encouragement to keep being strong.
Never lose faith.
This sounds like a great read and just at the right time.
“Each of us has the power inside to rise up, to mend the rungs of a long-broken system, and ensure we bring others up with us.” I agree with this statement, especially in bringing others along on the way up. You never know when you may need their hand to reach new heights.
Thank you for the thought. I have always thought about the gap between what some team members “think” they can achieve and what I think they can. Performance management and meeting with members of the team gives you the opportunity to discuss with them what you think they can do. Team members will more often strive for higher when they hear what you think they can achieve it.
That’s good stuff right there, timing is perfect!
Including others intentionally not only drives opportunity for them or is a way to model leadership, but is an invaluable way to continuing growing as leadership by creating more relationships and avenues to learn from others.
Love the three main points! Good stuff!
This give me hope that someone out there believes the “American Dream” is not just for those born into privilege. That there is an opportunity for us to help each other rise up and become something greater, together.
I believe the American Dream is for everyone, but especially those that work hard and didn’t have life named to them.
Great thoughts on this very changing time. look forward to reading more!!
What powerful and inspirational wisdom!
Don’t wait for “someone else” to provide opportunities: –
take them; create them; unlock them in others; give them away to those who just need someone to believe in them;
BE the leader and build the ladder by providing direction; giving a voice to the quiet and the unsure; build passion for positive change and be a beacon of Hope…it is a living organism!
I very much resonate with this. If everyone stepped up and modeled healthier leadership, imagine what a beautiful world we can build. The one thing I would add to repair the ladder is a need for vulnerability. We all make mistakes. It’s what you do after you’ve made the mistake that repairs or hinders the ladder.
I love this notion of the “American Dream!” I also like the idea that some may feel the rungs of the ladder are broken for them. I had a deep conversation with my college age daughter on this exact subject. She told me that not everyone has an equal chance to go to college and I firmly disagreed. I went to college and worked, took out loans, worked even harder to get grants, until I accomplished my goal of a master’s degree. When I was there, people of all ages were in my classes. Some dropped out and came back, some never came back as far as I know. But, we all had one thing in common… We couldn’t do the work that we dreamed of doing without completing a specific college degree. This work we were paying for stood in the way of the dream that we sought to accomplish… Becoming a Speech Therapist.
If I can do one thing in my career, it is to show students that they have to set goals and seemingly unattainable dreams in order to move forward. It’s my job to support those dreams and not break the rungs along the way.
I can’t wait to read this book and see how it can enhance my work.
“She told me that not everyone has an equal chance to go to college and I firmly disagreed.” Traci, I believe that a good majority of the young are getting messages during their education (college the main driver) and the media like this message your daughter believes. Hard work as you noted just does not seem to come up unless like you, someone explains there journey. It was good you could have this discussion.
Great reminder that gets at the heart of leadership; it’s about others. What can I do as a role model so that others in my organization can be successful? How can I help build confidence for others in my organization so they are recognized. It’s amazing that when as a leader, you focus on others and building them up, that slowly the ladder becomes climbable for everyone.
I agree with “Show others they have the skills and talent to do hard things and be sure to offer constructive feedback so they can grow in their self-esteem and confidence.: A great leader looks for opportunities to help others up the ladder.
I love this, it’s the top 3 things I think separates great leaders from the crowd. Not everyone grows up being praised with high expectations and buoyed with support. Great leaders look for potential where it may not be expected and provide opportunity. I was just reading an article that mentioned labeling kids as at-risk. It’s a “I can’t” label when kids most need a “I can” label to develop confidence.
3 inspiring and though provoking ideas! thank you both for sharing them. I sure look forward to learning more! Love #’s 2 & 3!
I love this quote, “Sometimes you don’t know you can do something until you’re told you can do something,” because it works in more ways than the obvious – empowering someone can come in many forms. This isn’t just an invitation to be successful, BUT ALSO an invitation to someone to FAIL and know it’s ok to FAIL and they won’t be punished or reprimanded. I always coach my managers to tell their direct reports that “we expect them to fail many times in their first 6 months.” This approval to fail puts new hires at ease and provides them a safe space to learn the role and be more comfortable in learning and taking risks. So until you tell someone that “it’s ok to fail” they won’t know that “it’s ok to fail until they’re told they can fail” safely.
So, true. We don’t know what we don’t know – especially as kids. If we haven’t seen it or heard about it, we don’t even know it’s within our reach.
Every expert was a rookie once. The ARK was built by an amateur and the Titanic by experts. Encourage everyone to try.
My simple point is to aim for #AtmaNirbar and encourage more and more local industries to come up than being a large scale importer of everything