Having a big dream, audacious vision or complicated plan can lead to paralysis. While well-intentioned, I have met people through the years who are high on passion and low on execution. Dreaming big can be productive, but it can also be seductive and allow you to drift through life if you don’t initiate progress. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” This statement from Mark Twain resonates with me.
Having a vision for how I want to live out my purpose of changing lives is important. But equally important is taking the time to break that vision and mission down into meaningful and manageable steps. In my journey, I had to start with changing my own life to be of any value to anyone else. College seemed like a reasonable means, but the thought of it was debilitating. I didn’t have the typical relationships to help me navigate the collegiate process, so I had to develop a plan with small steps. I made my plan simple, and ordinary people helped me do extraordinary things. They helped me, because they sensed that I was motivated and they could do one small task to help.
Our region is in a similar place. Many leaders are now championing an even bigger dream – helping more kids succeed. We want more kids who come from tough backgrounds to complete high school with the proficiency to then learn a trade and/or go to college. We want to make the option of graduating or dropping out to a dead-end existence more difficult.
We want young people to be positioned to succeed and become productive contributing members of our region. Many leaders are putting their shoulders to the wheel by helping think through the small steps that will ensure more children and youth realize the possibility of prosperity. To change the trajectory of a generation and our region, we have to dream big and take responsibility for providing thought leadership on how to get there. We need to risk more to give young people a better shot.