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Here’s the thing about aiming higher. It’s always time. Why not? And why not now?
Over the holidays I was watching the grandkids running on a Florida beach while I was reading and listening to the waves. It dawned on me that I needed to aim higher. The question I asked myself was, “Why not?”
With those waves crashing in the background I worked on answering that question as I sat alone, a safe distance from the noise of beach play.
I played through all the usual excuses. Being realistic. Being practical. Trying to avoid delusion. And wrestling with the ever-present question, “Who do you think you are?”
After some minutes I had to admit I was without excuse to aim higher. Not to dream bigger, or wish harder. Those aren’t nearly responsible enough to suit me. They’re too passive to boot. They seem too vague. Aiming has a sense of application. More purpose and intention than merely dreaming or wishing. It also seems much more practical to me. Taking aim means it’s up to me because I’m the one doing the aiming. It also signifies that I’m only likely to hit whatever I’m aiming at. Sure, I may miss it. But I may hit it. It sure beats some willy-nilly shooting from the hip hoping you hit something. I’d much rather pretend to be a sniper taking careful aim at a target of my choosing.
Over the holidays I watched for the umpteenth time that episode of Parks & Rec where the group when hunting and Ron got shot in the back of the head. Somebody commented about people who may present a threat to the group with the admonition, “Shoot above their head.” Tom, hollered out how he was planning to shot below their head. It always makes me laugh. It also made me think of the value of aiming higher. It’s all in where you aim, right?
Late last year I begin to stir up some interest in forming just one (possibly two) professional peer groups aimed at serving small business owners. I define small not by the employee headcount or the annual revenue, but mostly by the flatness of the organization. Namely, how close ownership is with the work. I’m mostly interested in working with small business owners who are close enough to the work to impact it. Owners committed to making a meaningful difference for their employees and customers.
That’s still the aim, but now I’m aiming higher. I want to build this first group, but I’ve reconsidered what I thought I wanted. I figured two groups would be great, allowing me to deliver high service (and a life-changing experience) for 14 small business owners. There on the beach, I started thinking about that number. Fourteen. Why do you want to limit it to 14? Again, I had no good answer. Why not more? No good answer to that either.
I started thinking of my coaching practice and what I most wanted to do. The answer was always the same – positively impact as many lives of small business owners as possible. Fourteen owners represent lots of other people. They each will have employees, customers, suppliers and other partners. Each of these will have families impacted by the owners’ business. That’s multiple ripples in the ocean of influence. A big impact.
What if I double it? I asked. That’d be 28 owners, four groups.
What if I double it again? I asked. That’d be 56, eight groups.
Why can’t you do that? I asked. As with all the other question, I didn’t have a good answer against it. Rather, there was every answer to go for it. That’s when the aiming higher demon spoke up.
What if you fail?
I looked out over the ocean, taking in scenes not common to my everyday life in north central Texas. I looked at the horizon, scanning it closely. Watching the birds hover closely to the surface looking for fish to pluck and eat.
What if you fail?
I might, I thought. So what if I do. So what if it’s even probable?
I smiled at the thought that raced to the front of my mind. Who do you think you are? What makes you think anybody anywhere cares if you make it, or if you fail? You don’t honestly think people are paying any attention do you?
I knew the answer. Truth is the people who are paying attention to you, or to me don’t represent anything that really matters much. We’ve all got friends and foes. Friends may want us to succeed. Or fail. Foes, too. So what? We both know how long it’ll last. Not long at all. Whatever happens in our life will be over so fast nobody will remember what we were even trying to do.
All the more reason to aim higher. If I’m going to fail I may as well fail at trying to do something bigger than I first intended. Besides, it’s much easier to get stoked to aim higher. It elevates energy, marshalls more positive emotion and engages more wisdom. There just is no downside to aiming higher.
So I’m pushing hard now to get 7 owners compiled into the first group of The Peer Advantage by Bula Network. Then I’m going to push to form the second group. Then the third, Then the fourth. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, or how I’m going to do it. But I now want to work my way toward having 8 groups of seven owners. That’s 56 business owners from around the United States who see what I see, who want what I want and are determined as I’m determined to grow as owners, leaders, and people. It’s a big goal, a much higher aim.
But how can I do anything else as the guy who produces a podcast titled GROW GREAT? We’d better get busy aiming higher or we’ll have to start a new podcast GROW MEDIOCRE, or GROW AVERAGE. See? It doesn’t quite have the ring, does it? So find some place of your choosing to do your own thinking and questioning. Ponder what you can do – what you know you should do – to aim higher. Let me know how it goes.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!