The Candidate's Journey

The Candidate’s Journey is our comprehensive approach to guiding servant leaders through the experience of running for office.  It has been designed to integrate a deep understanding of the theory of leadership development with extensive experience in supporting servant leaders in running effective campaigns.

We understand that every candidate’s journey unfolds in different stages.  For many individuals, the journey begins years before a campaign, with a recognition that one feels called to public service and an aspiration to run several years down the road.  Eventually, you get clear on exactly which office you want to pursue, and then you are set to start mobilizing your network, cultivating allies, raising funds, and doing all the other tactical work that goes into laying the groundwork for an effective and strategic campaign.  Eventually, you formally announce your candidacy and dive into the intensity of active campaign mode.  All this leads up to election day, when you either win or lose; in either case, you are faced with the challenge of bringing the journey to a meaningful close and harvesting the hard-won gifts of your struggles as a candidate.

This Candidate’s Journey curriculum is designed to guide you through every step of this experience in a thoughtful and deliberate way.  Recognizing that different types of work must happen at each distinct stage of the journey, we’ve broken up the curriculum into six modules; to access each module, click on the appropriate link.

Here’s an overview of the scope and sequence of what you’ll find in the journey ahead:

Module #1:  Overview of the Candidate’s Journey
Introductory text to be read first before moving on to other modules
The New Politics Leadership Academy’s approach is grounded in some clear conceptual frameworks that are informed by our experience in supporting candidates through this experience.  In this module, you’ll encounter our Flame model of leadership development, our understanding of the three-stage journey every candidate undergoes over the course of a campaign, and our New Politics Campaign Strategy framework.  Engaging with this material is an essential pre-requisite for undertaking the journey ahead.  

Module #2:  Reflecting on the BE
To be completed anywhere from one to five years before you run for office
As explained in Module #1, the BE is the innermost level of the Flame leadership development model, and it is about who you are as a human being.  In our experience, we have learned that it is vitally important that candidates are clear about who they are, and are deeply connected to their own sense of purpose and mission.  Voters can sense this inner clarity and connection—or the lack thereof—in every interaction, and we know that this inner work is an essential prerequisite for becoming a powerful and effective candidate.  This module invites you to reflect on some simple yet profound questions:  What is your mission?  What are your core values?  What is your personal story that compels you to seek elected office?  This is deep inner work that can be done anywhere from one to five years before you run for office.  

Module #3:  Preparing for the Journey
To be completed one to five years before you run for office
Once you have done the inner work in module #2, you are ready to start thinking in very concrete and strategic ways about your political career.  Through our work with many servant leaders, we’ve learned that there are some key questions that individuals frequently grapple with when they start to think seriously about which office they want to seek.  This brief module presents those questions along with some guidance and advice for how to think about matters like where to run, what office to seek, how to handle finances, and more.  Hopefully, this content helps you arrive at clarity about the specific office you aspire to run for, and it ends with a chance for you to get clear about what you need to do to get your name on the ballot for that particular race.

Module #4:  The Departure
To be completed six months to two years before you run for office
You’ve done the vital inner work, and you know what office you’ll be running for.  Now it’s time to start to formally lay the groundwork for your campaign.  We think of this section as the Departure stage of the journey, and it includes a series of exercise and activities to be done within a year to six months before you kick off your campaign.  You’ll be asked to map your network, identify key allies, learn how to understand voter data, identify your voter universe and win number, and more.  This module walks you through all you need to know to complete these tactical matters that set you up to run a powerful and effective political campaign.

Module #5:  The Road of Trials
To be completed during the active months of your campaign
Once you’ve formally announced your candidacy, it’s time to dive into the intense adventure that is a political campaign.  Because each campaign is unique and requires responding in real time to events that cannot be predicted, you won’t have much time to engage in reflection.  We understand that, and this module includes just a couple key exercises intended to help you stay grounded, centered, and focused on the inner work in some sustainable way over the course of an intense, active campaign.

Module #6:  The RETURN
To be completed after election day
Every campaign ends with an election.  Whether you win or lose, the journey is not quite over when the polls close and the winners are announced.  A campaign is a challenging and transformational journey, and your final task is to identify the gifts you gained from your struggles, think through how to end this journey well, and get clear on how you will use all you’ve learned to be of service to others, whether you are in or out of office in the months ahead.  Ending well is a key element of every journey, and this final module invites to you to reflect on some key questions designed to help you harvest the deepest lessons of your journey before you accept your next call to adventure. 


The Journey Begins
Are you ready to begin?  If so, you are invited to click on Module #1, and begin by learning about our approach to leadership development and effective campaigning.  If you have any questions along the way, feel free to reach out to Chief Program Officer Max Klau at  Good luck, and know that we stand ready to be of service in any way that might be helpful over the course of the journey ahead!

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