in Leadership

Elf_movieThe zany 2003 movie Elf featured Will Ferrill as Buddy, a befuddled human-who-thinks-he’s-an-elf. Buddy’s friend Jovie is afraid to sing in front of others even though she has a beautiful voice. Buddy advises her, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

Regardless of the season, it seems to me that “singing loud for all to hear” may be a an effective way to spread ideas of all kinds. It combines the authenticity of your natural voice with vulnerability in a way that demands acknowledgement and respect.


When engaging your whole person in song, it’s difficult to hide. Who you are is readily displayed for all to see. Some will reject you; some will accept you. If you believe in an idea, cause, or innovation, and you advocate for it passionately, you will not be able to hide. You will be authentic. Open to criticism. And open to connection.


Singing loudly doesn’t require perfection. However, it does take a wholehearted commitment. Once you take a stand and open your mouth, you can’t take anything back. It’s all out there. Commit to your beliefs. Own your ideas. Share.


Taking the stage to perform your art, or to speak publicly, is frightening. My instinct is to hide, to be anywhere else, and I’m not alone. Americans would rather do anything than speaking (and perhaps singing) publicly, except for encountering snakes. Effecting change, convincing others, forming honest relationships, these all require that we overcome our fears, open our mouths, make ourselves vulnerable, and speak.

Acknowledgement and respect

Everyone is afraid of something. The act of overcoming fear earns respect. This gives you a platform to share your message, to propose your change. When you set out to do something daring, there is no guarantee that you will succeed. If you are trying to change hearts and minds or create a successful product, you may not reach your goal this time. But the people who count will acknowledge your effort and give you the respect you deserve. You will have the experience to increase your chance of success next time.

For now, this blog is my attempt at “singing loud for all to hear” and encouraging others to do the same. What makes a business successful is money and market share. What makes a human successful is meaning and connection along with enough resources to make a life. It’s easy to focus exclusively on the money, but as Zig Ziglar says, this is inverting the order of things.

You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.

What we want is relationship with real people who care about us — people who create products and services based on our real needs, dreams, and passions. If you want to create something that will connect, it will require your unique song.

How are you “singing loud for all to hear?”

At the end of the movie Jovie, the reluctant singer, leads a revolution in Christmas Spirit by taking a stand and leading a crowd in song. If she could do it, so can you. You’re more powerful than a fictional store clerk aren’t you? Here’s a clip from the movie to inspire you:

You can also watch the video on YouTube.

Find your voice. Start singing.