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Think Big or Go Home
Thinking big enough doesn’t sound like a difficult thing to do, but most leaders fail at it. Instead they allow a short-term focus and industry expectations to keep them from seeing what is possible. Their small-time thinking keeps them in a prison of their own making and doesn’t allow the team to reach its highest potential.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Expanding the imagination and seeing beyond what others tell us to see requires a courage shared by every visionary who has ever lived. You can be that visionary, too.
Throw off the shackles of expectations and begin to think in possibilities. Craft a vision 10-years out that excites the team and gives everyone a higher purpose. Of course, the critics will remind us our feet are not firmly on the ground. “It can be done,” is a common refrain. In fact, If some of the smartest people you know don’t call your grandiose vision crazy, you’re probably not thinking big enough. Don’t listen to the critics. Give your imagination the fuel to fly.
The lesson every generation of leaders must re-learn is how limiting the current thinking can be. Expectations about what is possible keeps people, teams and businesses from achieving what they are capable of.
Remember that for decades modern-day runners could not break the 4-minute mile. But once Roger Bannister defeated that record, runners stopped allowing their minds to set the limit. Bannister’s record lasted just 46 days. Today, nearly 1500 runners have completed the mile in under 4 minutes. The record has been lowered by a full 17 seconds since Bannister shocked the world in 1954. Such are the constraints of expectations.
If Rainer Maria Rilke is right and “the purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things,” then the challenge is to find a grand idea to wrap your head around it. Leaders who expand their mindset to see what is possible excite others and compel them forward toward an uplifting future. In the words of philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”