Assume the Permission

I once worked in an agency helping kids in foster care. One day, I mentioned to my main constituent that we should have the youth in foster care from Nevada travel to Colorado to camp. He replied ‘that’s a great idea!’ I thanked him and left his office. I knew what would follow would be a conversation about the challenges of taking these youth across state lines. The next exchange I had with him was from the airport in Denver just after the campers arrived. ‘The kids are here,’ I said. He replied, ‘Where?’ I excitedly shared, ‘in Colorado!  You said it was a great idea!’

the-biggest-risk-is-not-taking-any-risk-in-a-world-that-is-changing-really-quickly-the-onlHave courage and confidence to take a risk.  In your mind, your vision is common sense. You begin to share your vision with others who agree, pause, then provide a string of reasons to come to your senses.  You can sit in silence while they ponder, then listen to the doubts  – or you can excuse yourself after your audience says, “That’s a great idea!” and before the ‘but’ comes in. Then say “Yes!” to the idea that lives within you.

There is good reason in any business to have rules, safeguards and limits in place. However, what must happen within our organizations to move the proverbial needle to bend, stretch, and test what is possible? We often offer up justifications like, ‘If it could have been done, it would have been done already.’  Or, ‘Didn’t think to think about that.’ Or, ‘I know nothing, but go try it, and tell me about it later.’  Instead, what could happen if we jump in with, ‘Let’s do it!’?

While, of course more safeguards, processes and limits had to be put in place after the risky but successful ‘trial run’ of campers in Colorado, the leap of faith provided enlightenment into what should and could be done to bring a sense of normalcy into the lives of these children.  At one time, with Colorado as the training ground for Camp To Belong Member Camps, the organization had 80 brothers and sisters fly into Colorado from 8 states and Canada – to join 29 other youth from Colorado.    Now, CampToBelong has camps across the US and Australia, serving siblings placed in separate foster homes and allowing travel far and wide and across borders to be with one another.

Silence is indeed golden – especially when you hang up the phone or walk out of the room!  Then, confidently say yes.

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