Nov 15, 2017
Tricia Halsey, Founder & Executive Director of the Big
Idea Project, discusses with Jan and Jim how she learned the value
of coaching. She was coached as a swimmer to step out of her
comfort zone and learned that extending your reach you extend your
potential. The Big Idea Project, fueled by Generous Leadership®, is
a scholastic project to help students develop leadership skills.
Students are mentored to perform meaningful service that creates
positive change. For Tricia, leadership is not a set of skills for
accomplishment, but a mindset of generosity directed toward
building the potential of others.
[2:38] Michelangelo said,
“I saw the angel in the
marble and carved until I set him free.” Tricia sees opportunities the same way, and
her most important aspiration is building up people.
[4:38] Tricia’s favorite
building story is one of her first successes, as a high school swim
coach. She wanted the team to become better people first and better
swimmers second. She sees the potential in people and calls it
forth. She coached an awkward JV team into breaking 12 school
records and winning in the league for the first time in school
history. They all moved to Varsity in one year.
[8:36] Tricia credits her high
school swimming coach for calling out leadership within her at a
young age. Tricia saw a leadership gap and said something has to
change. Bosses that think of themselves a lot are not the leaders
that people want to follow.
[11:52] Tricia elaborates on the
courage of forgetting yourself and your fears and looking at
building up the people around you and on your team into better
people who do better work. The paradigm of generous leadership
consists of deeply held beliefs that affect what we think, feel,
and do. Generous leadership has a core of empathy. It involves how
you see yourself, others, and your place in the world.
[13:55] Tricia quotes a post by
Simon Sinek, from Leaders Eat Last: “Leaders are the ones who run headfirst into
the unknown. They rush toward the danger. They put their own
interests aside to protect us or to pull us into the future.
Leaders would sooner sacrifice what is theirs to save what is ours.
And they would never sacrifice what is ours to save what is theirs.
This is what it means to be a leader.”
[15:30] Generous leadership is
soul care — mind, heart, and doing (will). You change that level of
being by working. Tricia teaches generous leadership through The
Big Idea Project in a semester of service learning, moving from
knowledge to behavior change. Students go through an experience
that is so challenging that it rocks them and makes them redefine
themselves, serving others with real needs.
[19:02] Tricia introduces
business leaders into the classroom as mentors and resources for
the teachers. The students have a presentation night, using
real-life business skills in their projects. The projects involve
real service, such as working with a homeless family to see what
they need, rather than researching homelessness online. Business
leaders help the students execute the project.
[24:29] Coaching is helping
people develop their potential. Coaching is learned from other
coaches. The Big Idea Project forces students to take up their
responsibility. Coaches do not do the work for the students. They
see, guide, and help where there’s a lack of skills, but the best
coaches let the students flounder a bit to become stronger. The
student presentation is the moment of truth.
[32:19] Tricia shares a recent
story of what she learned in starting The Big Idea Project and the
busyness that was involved. Busyness keeps you from who you need to
be. She got physically sick and had to pull back and unplug for a
few months in another country. Give yourself some rest. Be a good
person, and you’ll be an influencer. Lead from being good in a
Facebook: Big Idea Project
LinkedIn: Big Idea Project
LinkedIn: Tricia Halsey
“I see potential; I see
opportunity; I see destiny almost as destiny’s calling.”
“When you care about people and
you call them forth, they will rise, if they know that you care
Leadership is not about you. It
is fundamentally other-centered. It takes courage to set self aside
and look at others.
Generous leadership is
abundantly giving of yourself so that others can be better people
who do better work.
You can’t give out of a place of
abundance if you’re constantly looking inward.
Generous leadership has three
facets: how you see yourself, how you see others, and how you see
your place in the world.
Service learning is going out
and solving a problem that affects somebody else.
Deep beliefs can foster behavior
change if a change is desired. Our goal in life should be always to
grow and do better.
We need to look at what our
actions are saying about our head and our heart.
“In all social spheres, we need
new leaders. I’m calling leaders to stand up for a new brand of
“What wake are you leaving
behind in your life? We need the wake of generous
Tricia Halsey is Founder & Executive Director of Big Idea
Project. First and foremost, Tricia is a builder. She has worked
with nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies to build
organizational capacity, identity, culture, strategy, programs,
product, and teams.
Tricia, along with her husband
Bryan, created the Big Idea Project in 2009 for Columbine High
School. The success of the Project led to the launch of the Big
Idea Project organization in 2014 to provide hands-on
transformational leadership experiences to youth through a
train-the-trainer program with high schools.
Tricia is the thought leader of
the Generous Leadership® paradigm, a leadership approach that
requires empathy and the courage to move past self for the sake of
Big Idea Project utilizes
Tricia’s Generous Leadership® paradigm to prepare our next
generation of generous leaders who lead lifelong impact on their
families, communities, and careers.
Books mentioned in this episode
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some
Teams Pull Together and Others Don't, by Simon Sinek