The story Harold shared is not mine to tell. Suffice it to say it involves new life, a miracle (although neither of us could really decide what constitutes a miracle) and a new way of looking at things. It was a wonderful story to hear.
Harold is a fearless entrepreneur. I am not. Harold moves forward with a vision, but without the compulsion for a complete plan, and ‘fills in behind’. I colour my roadmap before leaving the driveway. Harold has no patience to wait for data that might give an additional tidbit of proof of a project’s viability. I am always on the lookout for that one extra piece of data that will guide me. Don’t get me wrong. Harold is not careless; he is methodical and he has an incredible trust in the ability of his team and of himself to manage any challenge that might come along. And I do not have analysis paralysis; I do love to minimize the chance of me committing a ‘false-start’. But one thing that Harold and I do have in common is that we have both had some of our greatest successes when we were brave enough to take the first step.
I shared with Harold that when I founded the charity, the Building Hope Society, I did not have ONE clue as to how to do this. (This organization, www.buildinghopesociety.com, raises money to build schools for children in Kenya). What I did have was a belief that this project was important, and if not me, then who? So I took a step, and looked around. And sure enough people appeared who wanted to help, doors opened that I did not even know existed, and success followed like I have never seen. To date we have built 8 classrooms, we have sent 33 students to high school, one boy has graduated university and I cannot tell you the number of girls who have been spared marriage at a very early age because they are attending school. In fact, just this week, on Thursday, I found out that two of the students that were first sponsored to go to high school through the Building Hope Society, have just received their final high school exam marks. The marks were remarkable. Both are eligible to go to university once funding is secured. If they get the chance to go, the girl will be the first girl from the village to attend university. The absolute most remarkable thing for me in all of this is not that all of the above accomplishments have happened, but rather that they happened because I was willing to take one step forward. And then another.
Harold’s business grew from his love of piloting hot air balloons. Dynamic Air Shelters (www.dynamicairshelters.com) has now become a premier solutions-based provider of protective structures around the world. It includes structures that can be used in harsh environments for everything from field hospitals to crime scenes to fabrication facilities. Harold’s successes can certainly be attributed to his willingness to fearlessly walk forward, even when there was no sign of a path. He is a living model of choosing a life both of saying yes, and of being willing to take a step in a direction where he wants to leave a path.
In coaching, I often work with clients who know what they want, or at least they have a sense of what they want in their life. Often, however, they are stuck. They can’t seem to figure out how to change things. They even have very good reasons why things are the way they are. A great question that I can ask them is, “What is the one step you are willing to take that will most significantly move you toward your goal?” Most clients soon realize that one step, leads to another and before long they have embarked on their journey. A key factor here is that the goal aligns with a strong value that they hold. For me with the Building Hope Project, it would be the value of believing that education is a door opener and with it, great change can be realized in the world. In Harold’s business he tapped into his values of adventure, inventiveness, pioneering and hard work.
My coffee date with Harold this week reminded me of why I love coaching. I simply love being in awe of the power that each of us has when we are willing to take the first step. I love being a witness to people who discover that the unknown opportunities that await them, when they are willing to take a step forward, are so much better than they could ever have ‘carefully planned’.
My challenge for you this week is to choose a meaningful, values-aligned goal and then take the time to answer the question “What is the one step you are willing to take that will most significantly move you toward your goal?” . And after that, of course, take the first step! I’d love to hear the story of your success.
Feel free to contact Elizabeth for personal, leadership or business coaching.