Transparency. Leadership is about bringing out the best in others. For me, it’s great that I know a lot about self-publishing and running my business, but if my assistant for example leaves the business within the next few years, she should leave better.

We are living in the Renaissance of Work. Just like great artists know that an empty canvas can become anything, great leaders know that an entire organization — and the people inside it — can become anything, too. Master Artists and Mastering the Art of Leadership draw from the same source: creation. In this series, we’ll meet masters who are creating the future of work and painting a portrait of lasting leadership. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Octoryia Robinson.

Octoryia Robinson is the Founder and CEO of Dream That Big Publishing, the author of Unraveled Potential, and the host of the podcast 7-Figure Authorpreneur. She serves as a consultant, success coach, philanthropist, motivational speaker, and nurturer of dreams. Octoryia is fully committed to helping people start up or start over, by realizing their worthiness and following their dreams. Octoryia’s goal is to help those who follow her to live, build, and value themselves both personally and professionally.

Thank you for joining us. Our readers would enjoy discovering something interesting about you. What are you in the middle of right now that you’re excited about personally or professionally?

I am currently in the middle of a company relaunch for my self-publishing business, Dream That Big Publishing. I started my company with a big heart to help authors, but through the process of serving, struggling, failing, and evaluating, we have truly clarified and redeveloped a process to support the type of success that authors deserve. I am extremely proud of and excited about re-launching this to our community.

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Who is the leader that has influenced you the most, and how?

The truth is my life has been a compilation of patient, wise friends and business acquaintances that have help push me towards the kind of success I always dreamed up. I must admit, it sometimes takes me multiple times to hear something before I actually do it, and I am often motivated by struggle and failure. All of my life experiences and the people I’ve surrounded myself with that has created the person I am today. From my kids to the women and men I’ve worked with, friends, etc. all these people have all helped me grow.

One of my favorite quotes is: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I had people in my life and in my circle who wanted to help me, but I wasn’t ready to accept what they were able to teach me. I put it on a shelf and saved it for when I was ready. After failing and struggling, I was ready to hear and implement in the mind of a student.

Sometimes our biggest mistakes lead to our biggest discoveries. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a leader, and what did you discover as a result?

One of the bigger mistakes that I learned through my leadership journey was the realization that what I want for people, people must want for themselves. I was developing products and services solely off what I wanted for people, without taking into true consideration where people are in life, and whether they are willing and capable of learning and growing through this process. Instead, I was sharing my energy the way I wanted it. I wanted to help others, but I had a subconscious agenda that affected the energy that I was bringing to people which ultimately impacted the sales that was happening in my business. I realized my business must be about value that others want to be served, and through learning and adapting, that is what turned my business around.

How has your definition of leadership changed or evolved over time? What does it mean to be a leader now?

Yes, without question, the definition of leadership has evolved for me. When I started in leadership at a young age in my 20s, in the beginning, leadership was about me, serving me, helping me, building me. Now, I have grown through failure and struggle, and I understand that leadership is not about me, but it’s about service to others. If you’re not serving others well, that is equivalent to not leading well. I have shifted from building a business with a leadership philosophy that was about me, to building and growing as a leader and running a business that’s about others. I run every objective, goal, idea, through my “others” check: What value is this bringing to others?

Success is as often as much about what we stop as what we start. What is one legacy leadership behavior you stopped because you discovered it was no longer valuable or relevant?

I had to stop being arrogant, because if you are an arrogant leader, you are an irrelevant leader. That was a personal growth journey that I had to take myself on. I had a revelation that I was operating too arrogantly and disconnectedly from others in my leadership style. I had to adopt a humbler approach in leadership in order to reconnect and truly serve people.

What is one lasting leadership behavior you started or are cultivating because you believe it is valuable or relevant?

Personal development. A mentor told me once “The more freedom you experience, the more freedom you allow others to experience.” I am committed to never stop working on myself. The more I am sensitive to my own personal need for development, the more I will be gracious and patient with other people’s process. If I think I have arrived because I am not working on me, the more I will have that mindset.

What advice would you offer to other leaders who are stuck in past playbooks and patterns and may be having a hard time letting go of what made them successful in the past?

The desire to move forward must precede any type of guidance. Otherwise, they may disregard any advice you give because they are not ready. The change that leadership wants to see in their organization has to first begin with themselves. They must ask themselves: Are you ready, prepared, and open to do the personal and professional work? They must be open minded internally and be open to really addressing their own leadership style so they can receive this advice. We are all unable to sustainably resolve the ongoing issues of our organizations if we are unable to resolve the issues in our leadership. We are the mirror of what we want to see in our business, and we must surround ourselves with people that move things forward — so we can be open to people who will give advice, tell the truth, and push us to be better.

Many of our readers can relate to the challenge of leading people for the first time. What advice would you offer to new and emerging leaders?

A lot of people discount the fact that the most important leadership growth we all have is leading ourselves. Rather than looking at leading others as a disadvantage, evaluate the qualities and strengths that you have in your personal life leadership. Many of those are transferable. For example, I am nurturing, I have 5 kids and I take care of so many other kids too, and by nature that is a personal leadership quality that I transfer into my business. Instead of looking at the official title of leadership, I evaluate and assess the qualities and strengths of my own personal leadership and determine which one of those will be transferable into this new endeavor.

Based on your experience or research, what are the top five traits effective leaders exemplify now? Please share a story or an example for each.

1 — Transparency. Leadership is about bringing out the best in others. For me, it’s great that I know a lot about self-publishing and running my business, but if my assistant for example leaves the business within the next few years, she should leave better.

If people are going to trust you to lead them into the unknown, they want to know who’s leading them. As a leader, we have to command a lot of trust through our influence, the casting of visions, and the articulations of goals and plans, but if we really want people to connect to that from the heart level, then we must be willing and open to letting them know us. People follow who they know, like, and trust. Allow people to see who you are beyond what you do, because people follow people not projects. Mental friction is what separates people in their head, it blocks them from comprehending and processing when a speaker is speaking. Transparency reduces mental friction; it lowers the wall.

2 — Authenticity. If you want real results, you better plan to be real with your leadership. It’s not something I strive for, it’s something I yield to. You may think you have to yield because there are fears, concerns, and valid reasons about why you shouldn’t tell someone about your life experiences. But if you build relationships, business or personal, off the premise about something that is factitious, what results can you expect? If you build it off something that is real, you’ll have more success.

3 — Nurturing. People say yes to ideas, but they don’t often say yes to the process of manifestation of the idea. That is where nurturing comes into play. As a leader, we will have a lot of people that say yes to our big ideas, big dreams, big vision, but they may not understand what it’s going to take to execute and manifest the results, which is where the nurturing quality comes into play. How do you help your team bounce back when they experience failure? Are you helping them grow and become stronger? When we reach the goal of 7-Figures, if I’m the only one in my business thriving, then I failed. Nurturing is about squeezing the opportunities along this journey, because people often say yes to the goals, but they don’t say yes to the process.

4 — Integrity. This is experienced consistently. As leaders, we must understand that we don’t have great integrity, but the reality is, integrity is something we experience through others. Integrity is important, because if people don’t have that confidence in your leadership, if you break trust in any way, the quality of what they produce and how they produce and how long they stay with you strongly diminishes. Integrity is a silent motivator for those that lead. People that experience this will light a fire under them. It’s the lasting effect of your leadership and impression on the minds and the hearts of people you lead.

5 — Patience. Success is a process. Processes require people and people require patience. A lot of us hire for potential, and we see it in a person, but what we don’t often commit to in our leadership is patiently cultivating them to grow with us. That’s why patience is so important as a leader.

“What’s the use of getting to the finish line if everyone you started the race with didn’t make it?” As leaders we often run so fast, so resiliently, but we don’t stop and pause. I had to adopt a slow it down mindset in my leadership. I am high paced, but I am working on slowing down and think if my team has what they need to approach new targets.

American Basketball Coach John Wooden said, “Make each day your masterpiece.” How do you embody that quote? We welcome a story or example.

Living in the present. As leaders we are often so future focused, that sometimes we minimize and overlook the value of what today has to offer. We must become intentional in creating greatness every day.

What is the legacy you aspire to leave as a leader?

I always pray that even in a momentary interaction with someone, I want them to know that no matter where they come from, they can succeed and fulfill their desires. I hope the work we do through authors at Dream That Big Publishing, as well as podcasts, speaking presentations, etc. enable people to walk away knowing that wherever they came from, they can still create the life they desire and dream of.

How can our readers connect with you to continue the conversation?

Octoryia Robinson on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

Visit our website at

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!