Two Hard Truths of Dreaming Big

I want to be where the people are
I want to see
want to see ’em dancin’
Walkin’ around on those
(Whad’ya call ’em?) oh – feet

These are the lyrics from the song Part Of Your World sung by Ariel in the classic Disney story The Little Mermaid. It is a song of dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It is a song from a young girl’s heart who sees a life beyond what is familiar. It is a soaring song with heights reaching far above anything Ariel understands. It’s a song that most Next Level Leaders are familiar with. Your song has different lyrics, but the sentiment is exactly the same.

I heard the song recently while attending a school play my son was part of. This hearing brought a new appreciation for the story as I saw it through the eyes of a leader. There’s much to learn from what seems to be a simple story.

Here are two major takeaways every leader can use:

The only thing known about the unknown is that there will be a price to pay.


1. You can’t know the true cost of being above the surface while living under the sea.

As a Next Level Leader you dream of life above the surface of your experience. You craft a vision of what could be. Ariel stumbled over the word “feet” and you don’t know all the basics of what it takes to make your dream work. Still you develop songs and story lines around your vision of what might be.

The song becomes so catchy it pushes you into the unknown. The only thing known about the unknown is that there will be a price to pay.

  • Ariel experienced fundamental structural changes as she transitioned from fin to feet. In her world it was a magical moment. In your world it will be a painful process.
  • Ariel left behind people she loved. In her world a flounder somehow attended her wedding. In your world entering a new atmosphere could harm others unequipped for the transition. Leave them behind…for their sake.

2. Every negative said about your dream isn’t wrong.

Ariel’s father warned her that those above the surface ate those below the surface. Ariel would cry, “They are not all like that father!” But her first experience at the dinner table proved to be a seafood platter.

Passion blinds you to certain realities. It maximizes the things you wish to see and minimizes those you want to ignore. Passion lies.

Your passion may mask certain realities, but it can’t erase them. Those around you are seeing elements of your plan you can’t see. The reality is there are negatives in every situation.

These are two truths I which I’d recognized years ago. Only experience can teach some lessons. Experienced leaders are nodding their heads with me right now. Less experienced people are wondering why they bothered to read this blog at all. Don’t stop reading yet!

Next Level Leaders will accept these realities. It may not stop you from moving forward, but it should cause you to spend more time in preparation. To lead through transition you must survive yourself.