I had lunch with a guy who pitched me on a plan to build 54 orphanages in Africa, one for each country. It was an exciting vision and I loved his passion. But from what I can tell, he hasn’t done any of it. His problem? He was wedded to a massive vision for impact and struggled with the idea of small change over time.
People often make the mistake of trying to do way too much, way too fast. This is your surest road to burnout.
Here’s a tip you’ve already heard before:
Focus on one thing. Do it really well. Then be completely satisfied with small change over time.
When I founded These Numbers Have Faces in 2008, I was fortunate enough to follow this advice. We told ourselves early on that our goal was going to be a simple one: College education and leadership training for students in Africa. Period. People often ask us, “What about elementary school kids? What about high school kids preparing for college? What about clean water, HIV/AIDS, and human trafficking?”
It’s been hard to resist at times but our strength has been in the simplicity of our mission. Now, we are one of only a few organizations solely focused on college age students in Africa. This laser focus has helped us grow and scale in ways we never dreamed possible.
Here’s the truth:
True impact comes from a repeated motion toward a simple goal, over and over.
While it’s not sexy, incremental change lays the foundation for future success. You’ll grow your vision organically and practically. You’ll invite others in and you’ll see your gifts evolve in powerful ways.
And while you focus on the small things, celebrate them as well. Celebrate each tiny step. Don’t get lost in the chasm of “bigger, better, faster, stronger.” Those days will come soon enough.
Our dear friend Justin Zoradi released a new book today. If you enjoy his writing on this blog, we recommend you download a FREE copy of Doing Work That Matters: A Small Guide To Making Big Change In The World.