We’re all leaders in some aspect of our lives, whether it’s at work, at home, or in our local church groups, schools and communities. As leaders it’s important to look for sources of leadership inspiration, and we can find this in many places. We hold an annual event here in Ohio, The Symposium: A Community of Leaders, and one of our goals is to inspire the leader in all of us.
A Valuable Approach to Consider
Inspiration can come from many sources, and from all walks of life, including teachers, mentors, pastors, authors, businesspeople…the list goes on. The key is to maintain awareness and an open mind toward the lessons we can take from the world around us.
One source of personal inspiration for me comes from the movie Forrest Gump. As many agree, this film is rich with insights that are useful for both life and leadership. I’m personally drawn to the idea of “maybe it’s both”—a conclusion that Forrest comes to in the final scene of the movie, while pondering two seemingly contrasting ideas. Forrest surmises that “maybe it’s both,” and the value of each idea can be pursued together, which provides a useful approach for us to consider.
At this year’s Symposium, two of our presenters offered what, at first glance, might seem to be opposing viewpoints on moving forward through the journey of life. I think making use of both concepts can provide significant value.
Dream Small: Paving the Way for Progress
One of the speakers was Liz Forkin Bohannon, the founder of Sseko Designs, a socially conscious fashion brand that works to educate and empower women across the globe. She shared the story of trying to get her personal dream underway by traveling to Uganda, where she planned to work toward providing employment and educational opportunities to women in East Africa.
As she was taking her first steps, she realized her plan was a bit ambitious, given that she did not know even one single person in Uganda. So, she broke down her larger goal into a small one: to just make one friend there. She explained how “dreaming small” in this way was powerful because small dreams are more achievable, and pursuing them gives us permission to get out of the mode of “waiting for something to happen,” into “creating something to happen.” Her encouragement to dream small is very freeing and empowering, and it’s easy to see how this can pave the way for progress.
Dream Big: An Action-Inspiring Approach
Best-selling author Bob Goff was the keynote speaker for this year’s event, and his presentation was energetic and full of thought-provoking ideas. His book Dream Big provides insights about how to know what you want, why you want it, and what you’re going to do about it. According to his bio, Bob is a sought-after speaker for leadership, church, and university events, inspiring current and future influencers to get to the ”do” part of life. His action-inspiring messages encourage reaching for our biggest dreams.
Dream Big or Dream Small?
Dream big? Yes. Dream small? Yes. Maybe the answer to both is yes.
I think the most important thing is to follow your dream and see where it takes you. And remember that sometimes, in life and in business, it’s good to realize, “maybe it’s both.”
President and CEO