The world around us tells us to Dream Big! Go for it! Reach for the stars! Be fast! Be bold, be brave. “Go big or go home!”
If you ever hear someone say “dream small” that sounds terrible, right? Totally counter-cultural.
The first time I heard it, I certainly thought so. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I thought.
At first, the idea of dreaming small made no sense. For sure, it ran totally against all my coaching fibers.
Then it happened. The friend who was sharing this spent 45 minutes helping me understand the concept. Along the way I found myself aligning numerous principles I’ve always believed, yet never considered them as “dreaming small.”
Big Business Mindset
Even though I often work with entrepreneurs and smaller companies hoping to go big, my roots are in large global enterprises. Starting with the U.S. Army and moving into banking at JP Morgan Chase, I’ve spent many years walking the halls of some pretty big corporate giants.
Clients today include some of the largest global brands you can imagine.
Ironically, as I coach key executives and top-of-house leaders within these giants, I routinely get the individuals to focus on the smaller moments in their day.
Despite budgets that start in “Bs” (as in $ billions), we spend most of our time talking about the finer points of influencing teams, motivating individuals, and leading culture changes; dreaming small.
The opportunities for the biggest impact come down to small moments. You could argue it truly is dreaming small.
As my friend put it in perspective, I was reminded of many ways that leaders can and should dream small rather than focus on the big picture so much.
Remember the Bible story of David and Goliath. It was a small smooth stone that knocked out Goliath. David could have asked for a big sword. Instead he focused on finding the small stone. He dreamed small to accomplish great things.
Leaders Start Here
Dreaming small is really about taking advantage of key moments; not long term master plans, but simple moments. The moments you spend with your staff, your peers, and the key people elsewhere in your life.
You may have three minutes before a meeting, standing in the hallway as others gather. If an employee or peer is present, use the moment to connect. Whether officially or personally, you can make great strides in building trusted relationships by leveraging the short moments that are all around, every day.
In sports, we see this all the time. Baseball is particularly keen on key moments. Each time a batter stands up to bat, the whole game is simplified down to the duel between the pitcher and the batter. It even comes down to one pitch.
The right pitch, perfectly thrown can confuse and bewilder a batter. Yet a batter with focus and determination, plus a little discipline in the moment can avoid being fooled by a pitch. Instead, when the right pitch comes, he can clobber the ball out of the park.
These are small moment things that turn into big results. Dream small my friends.