Dare To Serve

Are you ready to Dare To Serve? Is Your Garden?


"A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them" - Liberty Hyde Bailey




Photo courtesy of Barrett Discovery via Compfight.com
Spring is almost here which means that my weak winterized body is going to be mighty sore once I get outside working in my garden. All the pulling, cutting beds, and spreading mulch is like a landscape triathlon. If you don't believe  me just pop over and see. Springtime literally means that I'm out there serving my gardens and preparing my plants for growth. My legs will be like jelly and I'm hoping that there's some weight loss involved!

Whenever I have visitors to my garden the first thing that they always state is "Wow! This is a lot of work! How do you do it?". It is work this time of year, but I LOVE it! I know what my work will bring and it's well worth it. Once spring cleaning is done there is little labor in the garden other than some weeding and deadheading of my flowers. Gardening has never been a chore because I love it and I become completely immersed in what I'm doing. I bet that anyone who has a hobby gets a bit obsessed at times and really understands where I'm coming from. It's a labor of love and I'm happy to serve my plants to "plant the seeds" for growth.

I can't repeat myself enough in my blog. I love finding the special gifts in people and bringing them out to help with personal growth and impacting others. Like gardening, it's one of the most rewarding experiences that I am privileged to experience. I've done this as a manager and continue to have an impact even without a supervisory title. We should all be committed to serving others and bringing out the best in those that we work with. Think of the changes that we could collectively bring about.

For the past few years I've really focused on my leadership style and through some soul searching,  I've  been able to define who I am, what I stand for,  my values, and how I can help others. Serving others as a leader is like serving my gardens this time of year. Preparing for growth and seeing how I can serve to do so. I have found some powerful books and articles on the "new" leadership style  which has really impacted me - Servant Leadership.


"There's nothing fundamentally wrong with our country except that the leaders of all our major organizations are operating on the wrong assumptions" - Robert Townsend



I couldn't agree more with this quote. I just finished an incredible new book that has really impacted my leadership growth. The book is Dare To Serve: How To Drive Superior Results By Serving Others by Cheryl Bachelder the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. Cheryl enthusiastically shares how serving others as a leader ultimately impacts the bottom line but most importantly, serving influences people. People are the key to a company's success and servant leadership is rewarding for everyone. I've finally been able to define my own leadership style and Cheryl offers some sound advice on how to Dare To Serve. 


Dare To Serve is divided into 3 parts. Cheryl explains the Popeye story of rising from the ashes to financial success AND how her people grew as well through the transformation. She shows how to drive superior results. She shares how to become a Dare To Serve leader. Lastly, she offers a strong call to action. Throughout the book she shares 40 Dare To Serve reflections for the reader to think about or share with teams. They are guaranteed to get you thinking! I really enjoyed Cheryl's journey of clearly defining the issues at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and in particular, the relationships between franchisees and Popeyes employees. She doesn't hold back and is very transparent. Moreover, she is very quick to admit that they still have a lot of work to accomplish as a company and they still experience rocky times. Also? This book is written for you and me - not leaders of major high profile companies. We can make a difference.

Cheryl begins our journey by pointing out that most people (including most leaders) expect leaders to be in the spotlight. Too many  leaders work for, live, crave, and love the spotlight. To them it means that they have "made it". Wrong! Servant leaders willingly step out of the spotlight and shift the light from themselves to their people. They focus on their people. They listen. They involve others in decisions and continually empower. They are humble and courageous. They aspire and serve over self interest. They help others pursue dreams. They serve others and bring superior results. So, move that spotlight. 

There are clear benefits to becoming a Dare To Serve Leader and you will want to dig in deep within this book to learn. They include "gold" that every leader wants.


  • People will tell you the truth and what you need to know.
  • Your bold vision is more likely to have followers.
  • Teams will perform without being reminded or pushed.
  • People perform at a superior level.
  • People are more likely to have your back and will even protect you from yourself.

A key to being a true servant leader is bringing the best out of your people. It's fun. It's challenging. You find gifts and skill gaps. You learn and respect different team talents. You grow people and the bottom line. You bring purpose and let people know that they their work has meaning. Getting to know what drives people and motivates them goes a long way towards success. Cheryl shares her "Journey to Personal Purpose". This is a plan to help people determine their purpose because no one  can do it for them. The keys to the plan include: 

  • What are an individuals life experiences?
  • Establish your personal values. Live them.
  • Strength identification. Grow them and use them to serve.
  • Personal purpose for leadership.
  • Asking "My purpose can serve the organization for ______"

After we live Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen's 6 year journey from  financial and franchise troubles to average restaurant sales increases up 25%, market share increases from 14 to 21 percent, and an impressive improvement of 40% profitability, we get to learn how to become a Dare To Serve leader . This is where the magic really happens because this is your chance to learn what is takes to be a servant leader and how you can make a real difference. 

What does it take to become a Dare To Serve Leader? Are you ready?
  • Choose to serve. Be a servant leader and avoid these traps - Power, achievement for yourself, too much personal ambition. Know any of these leaders stuck in the trap?  Don't be a self centered leader.
  • Be bold and brave. Have the courage to serve and be willing to accept failure. I love how Cheryl compares servant leadership to extreme sports. You need to "go big or go home". Stretch yourself and others. 
  • Have clarity of purpose. You need to find your purpose before you can help others do the same. Sit down and do it today. Examine your life. Choose your key 3 values. Know your gifts and use them. Write your purpose. Test your purpose and ask are you true to it?
  • Avoid the spotlight. Remember. Jump out of the spotlight and move it onto others. Do this while following these core beliefs: Practice the golden rule, have personal responsibility, and be humble every day.
  • Call to action.  As a leader you have influence and are a steward to others. Stand up with a call to action and find a way to spread the Dare To Serve word.
Perhaps your leadership style has become outdated. Maybe you are realizing that you are acting like a leader back in the 1980s or 1990s. New leaders need guidance and role models. We really are all leaders in some form or another and we need to be authentic - not a copy cat. Becoming a servant leader will transform your life and your career. Dare To Serve: How To Drive Superior Results By Serving Others by Cheryl Bachelder really has influenced my leadership growth. I feel like I have a clearer plan to guide my walk down the path to success. I want to continually personally grow and really positively impact others. I am a servant leader and I Dare To Serve. How about you?

I sincerely encourage you to pick up Cheryl's book today to begin your journey in becoming  a servant leader. If you are interested,  you can learn more about the book “Dare to Serve” and download a free sample chapter  here Dare To Serve