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Good Leaders: How are you planning your dreams?

An African Safari was the #1 item on my Bucket List, after starting my own firm. The giraffes were breathtaking.

What we concentrate on grows. Ten years ago this month, I started concentrating on the idea that I needed to start my own firm. It took me 18 months, with the help of a good friend, to take action. If you read The Bucket List Book, you know that after starting my own firm, the #1 item on my list was an African Safari. It was #1 because I knew the firm had to be successful for me to take a month off to make the Safari happen.

Carpe diem – a big family trip

The Batz Family, loaded up and ready for adventure in our Land Cruiser. It felt like Jurassic Park!

The dream came true this past March when our friend Debbie Rigby invited the whole Batz family to participate in her wedding – hosted in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A wonderful travel planner, Remarkable Journeys, helped us find the Kichaka Luxury Game Reserve inland from the Eastern coast. The setting was the most enchanting place I’ve ever been, and the safari was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Here’s why:

As an urbanite, I’m accustomed to freeways, sidewalks, and office buildings framing my daily routine. The South African Savannah provided a totally uninhibited, 360-degree skyline over mountains, valleys, forest, and endless grassland. The three-hour Land Cruiser rides at sunrise and sunset provided a technicolor backdrop for the main event.

Within 30 minutes, we found a pair of adult lions. Wow. That’s when my Bucket List moment became real.

“What animal do you want to find first?” our guide (and protector) David asked? “Lions!” we sang in chorus. Less than 20-minutes later we found a pair of fully grown, black-maned brothers who were resting after a mid-day kill. Game on! After that we found every animal we expected, except the elusive leopard which is only seen by 5% of safari-goers. With David’s artful navigation we encountered thousands of antelope and zebra, and dozens of elephants and giraffes. We tracked a rare rhinoceros pair with a newborn (under the watchful eye of professional anti-poaching patrol.) We marveled at water buffalo, and laughed at the playful hippopotamus, who teased one another in a muddy watering hole.

Aspirational thinking: the currency for good leaders

By happenstance, our first day on safari was also my 55th birthday. The Kichaka staff sang and danced the traditional Xhosa birthday greeting, followed by a scrumptious homemade chocolate birthday cake.

What does a Bucket List Safari have to do with good leadership? It’s a reasonable question. The simple act of making a Bucket List is an exercise in aspirational thinking. Good leaders do that. And when we concentrate on achieving those aspirations, our leadership grows.

Good leaders have bold aspirations tied to personal goals. And they concentrate on making all of the changes in their lives to make those aspirations come true.

Back at the office, I immediately began setting new goals and sharpened our business plans, because new adventures await. Please share with me: How are you planning your dreams?



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