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“First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.” Walt Disney

Walt Disney’s quote encapsulates a leadership model that originates with the seed of an idea, inspires a dream, embraces belief, and ultimately dares action despite risk.

Think – What is the best course of action during turbulent times such as these? You may be asking yourself – do I have sufficient data to know with confidence which path to take? Do I sift through alternatives until I feel certain my thoughts are wise and sound? How does our brain engage with our senses to help us make decisions, plan a life course, sift through alternatives for team cohesiveness, and lead organizations most effectively? How do we think?

Nobel Prize winner Roger W. Sperry researched how the two hemipheres of the brain sustain designated functions. The left brain, referred to as the digital brain handles logic, sequencing, verbal skills, and FACTS. Visualization, holistic thinking, intuition, and ARTS are centered in the right brain. Scientists have proved that both sides of the brain work together; so as we search for a new idea or ponder a problem, we are receiving input from both sides of your brain.

To stimulate your thought processes, an article in HealthLine.com suggested reading and exchanging creative ideas with others as well as engaging in new endeavors such as a sport, artistic outlet, hobby or relaxation practice Tony Hsieh, entrepreneur and CEO of Zappos advocates ‘Do Thought Experiments’ as one of his Top Ten Rules for Success. Tony’s process is to think outlandishly – for example, what if ALL the possible outcomes already existed or you had multiple paths to your goal? Backtrack your thinking from the Finish Line to where you are now.

Dream – Embracing a dream can act as a Northstar to excite and inspire us towards our goals. Tony Hsieh, entrepreneur and CEO of Zappos inpires others to dream BIG! His Top Ten Rules for Success include ‘Chase the Vision, Not the Money.” Tony envisioned designing a refurbished community for artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives of myriad stripes in the downtown Las Vegas area. The project, revitalizing a long forgotten part of the formerly hot Las Vegas action, sought to meld a community of diverse talent and inspire novel thought and ideas providing a space for audacious art, has morphed into A

Believe – Entrepreneurs and leaders across all industries anchor their dreams with confidence and a true can-do attitude. As Ayn Rand stated, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” Entrepreneurs and leaders from diverse backgrounds such as Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, and Oprah all held a strong belief and will to anchor their dreams into reality. Persistence and hard work refueled their spirits when adverstity struck.

Dare – Kat Cole, COO and President of Focus Brands; owner of Cinnabon, exemplifies taking risks and harnessing challenges with confidence. Kat was offered the opportunity to start a Hooters franchise there in Australia, after having success with franchise operations in the US. At the age of 19, she secured a Passport overnight, and hopped an International flight to embark on this new adventure.

In turbulent times and seismic change, based on previous acts; use spiritual guides; step forward in faith; use affirmations; surround yourself with other believers; seek out support and mentors; Amy Sherman-Palladino pitched the idea for a show about a mother and daughter that was enthusiastically accepted by executives after other show ideas were rejected. The “Gilmore Girls” 

Leaders who Think, Dream, Believe, and Dare change culture of dignity and service to others. Leading our families, our communities, our businesses, and our schools challenges us to adopt values that instill confidence and courage in those we lead. Contact me to start the conversation regarding what qualities you admire in leaders and the values you adopt in your leadership style. Start your leadership journey NOW! karen@haleyallenassociates.com    


Karen Haley Allen, M.A., is an international leadership coach and retreat facilitator. A former leadership and global business instructor at UC Berkeley, Dominican University and ITU, she founded HALEY ALLEN ASSOCIATES – “Our mission is to challenge and empower leaders and their teams to align their deepest values with business results.”