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“Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

May 27, 2015

“This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way… Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

― William H. Murray

William H. Murray, a famous Scottish Mountaineer was right. Making a commitment changes the world around us.

A number of years ago, I was co-chairing a team of health care and social service professionals who wanted to plan and launch a local large capital project. As a team, we had come together because we deemed this project as vital to those we all served.

Our team members were very successful professionals in our own fields, but in this situation, we went meeting after meeting with the same pattern of discussion. We discussed the different ways the facility would be valuable when it was built. We had even been successful in proving it was needed with a well-designed needs assessment.

With no apparent funders, we would quickly move to how difficult it would be to move forward. There was no end to the list of difficulties and challenges we had to overcome.  We spent many of these meetings detailing these challenges. In what seemed like the worst meeting, we had invited a strategic planning consultant to a present on how to get us “unstuck”. We were informed of how inept we were in strategic and operational planning; but with his help, a sizable fee and many more hours on our part, he would rectify the problem by providing us with a plan on how to move forward. Fortunately, we all agreed that another plan was not the answer.

As the co-chair and fairly new in my career, I could not see a way out of the cycle.  My worst fear was that others were becoming equally or more frustrated with the process. My nearly perfect worst outcome was that they would say it was a waste of time and that we should just accept that this project was never going to happen.

After one of the meetings, I went into my favourite camera store.  Bill, the owner said “you don’t look your usual happy self”. With that opener, Bill heard my woes about this project. Bill was silent for a moment. Then he said, “You are planning and planning and planning. In my business, I plan and act.” To which, I lamented how much I wished this was the case with our team. Bill then asked “Wayne, what worked well in your other successful projects?” I replied, “the right people!”   Then he had another question: “what would you do to get this project started if you had all the freedom in the world, with no barriers at all?” I replied that I would make it happen with people who knew way more about business and buildings than anyone on our team now. He asked, “Specifically who would you call? “  I named three people who we both knew had had a strong understanding of real estate, construction, and law.

As I left the store, Bill’s only comment was, “Wayne, just go do it! Go home and phone each of them right away.” With a whole new attitude, I went home that night and started my calls. I telephoned a different person each night and the next meeting was entirely different.  Indeed, a whole stream of wonderful events came from that decision. Our new guests became team members. Each week we targeted and invited the new expertise that was needed.

We began to appreciate our individual and combined strengths. Instead of defining our problems we focussed on using our strengths to achieve our ideal vision. We planned, acted, and evaluated taking small steps to get there.

Hundreds of incredible volunteers, 1.3 Million dollars in fund raised money and eighteen months later; we cut the ribbon to open the new facility.

Whether you are leading a large community project or wanting to make a transition in your life: appreciate your strengths; vision your ideal scenario; ask for the help you need; make a plan and act on it — even if it is just one small step.

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