Lessons from a Power-Walking Octo

I spent last weekend in San Diego with some friends. We were meeting with local church leaders who shared their ideas on leadership, organization, and mission. They presented so many big ideas that it became a bit overwhelming. I started thinking to myself, how can I possibly implement any of this? I realized that too many good ideas can become a bit paralyzing without a clear action strategy.

Too many good ideas can become paralyzing.

I was considering this while walking down the mission beach boardwalk when, behind me, I heard a shuffling of feet. Before I could turn my head, a short grandmother scooted past me dressed in full power-walking attire: matching sweat suit, thick soled walking shoes, giant sun glasses, and head phones. She had the steely look of determination on her face as she forced her way past me on the paved path. She was cute, she was funny looking, she was determined.

Grandma was exerting a great amount of effort and focus to pass me at a snails pace.

Suddenly, Grandma was gone.
Suddenly, Grandma was gone.

I continued to consider how I might apply the ideas of the week to revolutionize the work that I do. Suddenly, I looked up and grandma was gone. I squinted into the distance and could barely make out an Adidas clad, fist pumping, octogenarian. She had passed me by at least a quarter of a mile. I took out my phone to take a picture, and if you look closely, you can still see her blue jumper.

Little improvements make a big difference over time. Don’t let big ideas scare you away from making small changes. I realized that I didn’t have to implement everything I had been learning in order to become a better leader. I just had to do something.

Little improvements make a big difference over time.
CSI look for Grandma's Jumper
CSI look for Grandma’s Jumper

Great leaders find ways improve over time. They do this by finding small ways to increase their capacity as influences, servants, and team players. The grandma on the boardwalk was moving slightly faster than me. After a short period of time she had left me in the dust. Her ability to move a little faster put hundreds of yards between us.

What incremental changes have you made this last month? How are you moving slightly faster than before? Don’t let big ideas lead to indecision. Always implement something and see yourself grow slowly over time.