Today I want to talk a little bit about dreaming big. This is an area that’s a strength for me and I want to share a little bit with you and see if it resonates with you.
If you've never taken the strengths Finder test from Gallup developed by Don Clifton, it’s a very cool test to test what sort of leadership strengths you might have. It's a test I’ve done a couple of times during my role as a board member of the young professional of Stillwater board. This book explains in detail the themes in that test. But it’s a very cool thing to just help you realize a little bit where are your strengths are, a little bit of where your weaknesses are, and where you can really pour into the things that you do best.
For me, three of the five top strengths fall into strategic leadership. These are things like analytical, futuristic, and learner. And today I want to talk a little bit about how that applies to me, how that helped me realize a few of my strengths and how I lead, and how that might enlighten anything in you. If you have the opportunity to get this book, it comes with a free opportunity to take the test as well. It’s an in-depth test of your preference is to identify what might be your strengths. It’s really cool to see in a team dynamic–to see on a board or a workgroup or something like that– to see how the team fits together and how the different strengths might go together to complement one another.
So, my strengths are in the area of strategy. And after hearing that, after seeing that on paper, it made complete sense to me. I love to dream. I love to think bigger. I like to think better. And this is a question that comes to mind again and again, "what if everything goes right?" I think it’s easy to look at a situation, to look at a community, look at a company, and look for the negative things. It's easy to see what’s going wrong. It’s easy to see the roads that need to be fixed, the ways the folks are not living up to what we would do if we were in that position, etc.
But it’s just as easy, with a change of mindset, to think what if everything goes right? How great will it be if everything falls into place perfectly? That’s the kind of thinking that pushes me to dream bigger. Bigger than I probably should sometimes.
I was blessed to be part of EntreCon recently and we got to hear from Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns, and he gave a talk on why entrepreneurs are the MVPs in recruiting folks to town over big companies. His definition of an entrepreneur during that talk is someone who doesn’t know they can fail. I love this definition. We want these crazy people to come to town and to do great things. And it’s this type of dreamer that stretches the bounds of what we think is possible.
For a long time, we thought it was impossible that human people could run a mile in under four minutes. But once one person did it, then the record was broken again and again and again. Once people knew in their mind that it could happen then they could train to make it happen.
This is how I want to challenge you. When you find yourself thinking, "what can go wrong if we take on this project; if we try out this new idea; if we envision brighter more sustainable community; envision a more vibrant community. Think of all the things that can go wrong, and think of all the people that will say no. Think of all the things that will upset those who have always liked it the way it is."
But, what if everything goes right? What if everything falls into place? What if everyone comes to the table with fresh ideas? What if everyone is cheering us on? What if everything works out? Wouldn't that be great?
On your next project as an exercise make a list. Instead of what can go wrong–you’re gonna have plenty of people figuring out what could go wrong–make a list of everything that could go right. And if one thing goes right, what if the next thing goes right? What if there’s a cascade of things that go right? Try it out.
Let me know what you think. But this type of thinking is what allows me to try a project, have it fail completely, and wake up just as excited to try the next project. Because there’s always the thought that this time, everything might go right.