Category Archives: Say Yes

Replicate Without Ego

Often times, individuals come to me to gain feedback on their new ideas.  Always excited and intrigued to hear an innovative spirit, I listen intently.  Once I have an understanding of their concept, I often ask first, “Is anyone doing this already?” The question is not intended to burst their bubble. Instead, the question creates awareness for what has already been done.

face-1370955_1920Sometimes, I take it one step further if there is already a similar offering in the market place and ask, “Have you contacted them?”  The facial expressions I receive are usually ones of surprise. The answers I hear most often are ones fraught with ego. Most popular response is an expression of fear of competition. “What if they take MY idea?” they confess.

The truth is, your idea is always your idea. It just also might happen to be someone else’s idea too.

So I pose the question, why reinvent the wheel?  Perhaps there is a way to collaborate, not compete.  Perhaps there is a way to be farther along in your own journey because someone has been there before you.  Perhaps take the best of the intention, vision and expertise to complement all aspects of the idea to reach your target in a bigger, unified voice. Imagine the ripple effect when two people with a similar vision are making waves together rather than spending energy opposing one another.

My best observation has been to replicate without ego. The reality of building and growing an organization takes one person to have a vision and a village of ambassadors who share that vision to bring it to fruition. Sometimes coming along side one another allows the idea to grow bigger, farther and even faster.


Your fellow RippleMaker,

Lynn Price

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.

Think Small

dreamstimemedium_55190762Making a difference and embracing social entrepreneurship does not have to be a grand gesture. Instead, think small and one program at a time. For example, an artist friend shared that he wanted to bring photography to the homeless population on a big scale.  We discussed some of the steps needed to do this big scale project including sourcing cameras, raising funding, gifting cameras, giving lessons, seeking opportunities to display in galleries for them to potentially make money and more.  Then he followed with the reality check, and the disclaimer expressed by many, saying, “I don’t have time…I’ll do it later.”

I pondered the very thoughtful vision of my friend and all of the responsibilities to create and execute the steps toward his big scale goal.  And then I suggested, “Why don’t you start small?  Take one step towards the goal and gift one camera to one person. Pay for it yourself.  Choose one person who is homeless and give them a camera.  Hang out with him or her occasionally and teach them how to use the camera.  Build a trusting connection with them and learn what he or she would want to photograph.  Then put one of his/her photographs on the gallery wall next to your own collection.”

My friend lit up and said, “I could make time for that.” So what shifted? Perhaps it was a relief to him.  Perhaps he recognized he could redefine big impacts by starting small. I challenge you to do the same. Implement a big scale vision with one recipient.  Then, see what happens next.

Keep dreaming big, however consider starting small.  The impact and difference you make in just one life IS a really big thing.   And it may lead to that big scale goal in ways you cannot even imagine!

Delay the Business Plan

just-do-it-1432951_1280It is pretty much expected that if we are going to say yes to rolling out a new program idea, we must have a plan in place.  Of course, we need to know the people it will take to make it happen and their roles – taking into account tasks and related expertise.  We need to figure out program materials and related presenters.  We navigate through identifying the audience and how to target them.  We establish the steps, not only until implementation, but through it as well.  A lot of line item budgeting takes place. And most oftentimes, everyone is asking their circles of friends and advisors for the justification why the program should take place and what the expected outcomes might be when complete.

What if you just do the program because you think it is the right thing to do?  Take those in the small circle of passionate contributors and give them any role they want to  be able to participate.  If they don’t know how to contribute, they will learn.  Ask them who they know that they can reach out to on short notice to deliver programs and materials to the public.  Just put the new program idea out there to your collective audiences. Let them know that something big is going to take place for a limited number of select individuals.  Just have a budget for a big number of individuals for when the program takes off.  And see….what happens.

Our first Camp To Belong summer camp took place 90 days after the idea was conceived.  We converged on the campus of UNLV with that small circle of colleagues, friends and family as volunteer counselors.  We engaged a small number of case managers to identify 32 kids; all part of sibling groups.  We didn’t have a swimming pool, so the fire department came and turned on their hoses.  We couldn’t go horse back riding because it was too hot for the horses at the stable, so the groomers of the Italian Stallions of the Excalibur Hotel brought the horses over for everyone to pet.  The baseball coach ran a softball game.  An art teacher led art programs.    We set up a campfire with logs, crepe paper and flashlights because campfires were banned.  A gospel group helped us sing camp songs.  We put in our own money and the rest came and covered the budget.

We made memories!

Now we have almost a dozen Summer Camps across the U.S. and Australia.  Up to 100 campers each, all with siblings, and counselors with a 1-2 ratio to learn, play and grow together.  Our site partners are accredited ACA Camps with pools, or lakes, or one even near an ocean.  We go horseback riding and play all kinds of sports.  And our art programs are intentional for siblings to express themselves to each other.  We have real live, under the stars, campfires and we sing from morning til night.  And more than just Camps, we affect legislation, family recruitment and best practice.  And, the money is coming.

You see, all that growth happened because we didn’t have a plan up front.  We just did it!!  And, to be honest, I think it was better than what we could have planned?!

Keep Your Circles Small

So often, we seek advice, counsel and affirmation from others when we make choices in our lives.  I  want to expand on the concept of keeping your circles small small when saying yes to pursuing the passions that live within you.together-235128_1920_peoople_circle

First, let’s remember that keeping your circles small when presenting your ideas will yield better results. So oftentimes, we feel we need approval to soar into and execute our wildest imaginations.  We ask far and wide, ‘what do you think,’ feeling confident others will understand exactly what we are talking about and will jump in the trenches with us through their expressions of approval.  We think that, in evaluation, they will contemplate the reasoning, the nuances, the challenges and the triumphs.  We just know they will see it, feel it, smell it, taste and hear it just as we do.  We are sure they can read our minds and will be right there with us in an enthusiastic fashion to support our realization of our dreams.

But not everyone comes alongside so willingly.  We need to remember that not everyone sees our visions a clearly as we do.  They don’t know what we know and at the time of decision or indecision, they may be contemplating their own experiences and not necessarily ours.  They may even have a similar story to share of what didn’t work rather then an unbiased opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of our ideas.

The truth is, you don’t know what will work until you work it!  So instead I encourage you to use every sense of your imagination with a short list of comrades that know you and are willing to trust with your intentions and intuitions without all the commentary.  Let them hold you accountable to the implementation and evaluation of the outcomes rather then the choice of pursuit – placing themselves in your mind and heart for the reality checks needed when planning actions towards achieving your dreams. Utilize them to continue to go forward with discussion and remember, the only approval you need is your own.   Say yes!