I recently had the privilege of speaking at a Tedx event in Hoboken NJ.My workshop was called “think small to make a big difference in the world.” As a business owner, I know what it’s like to have a big idea or a big dream, and I also know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed or at a loss about how to get there. Most people believe that big goals and big problems require big, complicated plans in order to solve them. But I have discovered that the key to achieving your big vision can be simple and twofold:
1. Identify the purpose behind your vision. What drives you? What is the big idea, the mission that you and others can get behind?
2.Once you know your big vision and your purpose, think small. Small and specific.
Debbie Tenzer, the founder of DoOneNiceThing.com is someone who has made a big difference in the world by thinking small. She wanted to make the world a nicer place, a worthy idea but a daunting task. So she started very small, by doing one nice thing for someone else, once per week. Today, she has a website with followers in more than 90 countries. Each week, she gives her subscribers a suggestion of one nice thing they can do for someone else. This small act each week has had a huge impact on the world. Thanks to her organization, since 2005 more than 100 tons of school supplies have been sent to children in Iraq and Afghanistan, tens of thousands of books have been donated to schools and libraries, and tens of thousands of cans of food have been donated to food banks who badly need them.
As a small business owner, you can apply the same principle to any goal or change that you want to achieve. Knowing the purpose behind your goal is crucial to both getting started and maintaining momentum. Both you and your employees are more likely to work hard and tackle the obstacles that come up along the way if you understand the “why” behind your goal, and can also get excited about it.
But even if you are completely committed to achieving your goal or creating change, the more complicated your plan, the less likely you are to achieve it. Instead, look for the smallest, simplest step that will have a big impact on your result. Below is a great tool for identifying that small simple step. Create a chart with the following columns:
Start by brainstorming all of the actions you could take that would create the results you want, and list in the Action column
List your actions in order, from the most simple to the most complicated
Rate from 1 – 10 the degree of impact that this action would have on your results
Rate from 1 – 10 the degree of control you have over this action. For example, you might have a high degree of control over which suppliers you use, but a low degree of control over the prices they charge you.
When you’re done with your chart, choose the simplest action which also has high rankings for both degree of impact and degree of control, and you have your first step towards achieving your big awesome goal!