Leadership Lessons From a 4 Year Old

All Blog Posts, Coaching, Motivation / 05.03.20140 comments

We all need a little inspiration sometimes, and my inspiration today came from  the story of an amazing 4 year old in Minnesota who started an outreach that has raised almost $20,000.

To kick off my monthly Vistage Executive Peer Group meetings, I often start by having members mention a business and personal highlight for the month.  This serves to reconnect everyone and helps members transition to a day of working “ON’ the business rather than working “IN” the business.  Last week Jim Glomstad, General Manager of SporTech, mentioned that Valentines day was a pretty big deal for his family because of his daughter Carly.

When Carly was four, she read a book about a girl that loved Valentine’s day so much she spent days making Valentine cards and goody bags and delivered them to everyone in town via her little red wagon.  Carly loved the idea of doing something that would make many people feel special, and she decided to imitate her storybook hero in real life.

Carly raised $450 in her first year which allowed her to distribute 125 goody bags to kids at a crisis nursery and seniors at assisted living residences – people who she thought might need to feel special. That was 6 years ago, and she has expanded her outreach every year. This year she raised nearly $5,000 and delivered 500 goodie bags and cards while also funding a kids connection scholarship and donating to the crisis nursery.

She has her own website, (carlyvalentine.com) and last year she was featured on Kare11. She has raised almost $20,000 over the last 6 years.

 Here are some leadership lessons I think we can all learn from this 4 year old:

1.  Communicate a compelling vision – Carly wasn’t content to deliver a few goodie bags on her own street.  She wanted to cheer up kids who were sick and seniors who may not get any visitors.

2.  Go all in. Carly was willing to invest her life savings ($48.76 from her piggy bank) to make her vision a reality.

3.  Create a vision larger than yourself. Carly inspired her parents, her family, her kindergarten class, and her girl scout troop to join her in her mission.

4.  Follow your passion.  Carly truly loves making people feel special, which fuels her willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done and grow her outreach every year.

5.  Have great mentors and a strong support system.  Carly couldn’t have done this without the support and coaching of her parents, Jim and Tina Glomstad.

Thank you to the Glomstad family for being great role models and an inspiration to us all!

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