Are You Thinking BIG?

I hope you are feeling as renewed and energized as I am about embracing all that 2013 will bring. Are you excited about the year? Are you anticipating great things? A recent interview in Fast Company features Larry Page, Google CEO. In the article he claims, “Not enough people are thinking big enough”.  I wonder if he is right. Have you asked how you can take a promising idea and 10x it? Let me share a recent example that I am very excited about.

Many of you know that I took a mission trip to bring Christmas to 200 orphans in Jeremie, Haiti right before the holiday break. (Thus my renewal!) As I spent the week with the kids sharing the Christmas story, the love in my heart and the season, and a few small gifts that rocked their world.

I got to know SophiaPierre, a lovely 14 year old girl with a charming smile and a warm heart. Although I speak very little Haitian Creole and she has limited English, we always found a way to communicate. She shared with me her desire to have a poupée.Now that might seem a bit selfish at first but please understand these children have no possessions of their own, not even their clothes. They sleep in a small cinder block bunk house in bunk beds, no pillows, often no sheets and no personal possessions. When the clothes are washed they are hung on the line and whoever gets to first wears it the next day. Having a poupeé or doll to love, hug, cuddle and play would be not only a wonderful gift but an emotional comfort. Right there and then I make a mental commitment to get all of the girls a poupeé for next year.

I have a seed of an idea. I will get a ragdoll made of colorful Haitian fabrics with Haitian ethnicity and find 100 people to donate the money for each doll. Since each doll will be handmade, the name of the donor will be sewn in the skirt. Now the doll is not just a doll but a labor of love and affirmation of the importance of each girl to someone she has never met.

My excitement is contagious. My artsy friend that I ask to help me tells me that she is thrilled. Not only that but she is interested in starting a small non-profit workshop employing inner city women as seamstresses and this can be their first effort. Oh my, now we are growing the idea! Once these women master these dolls, they may well find additional markets for them–through the web, through other sponsors with similar interests and potentially even retailers. As these seamstresses become accomplished they may be able to expand the products they tackle. Hmmm…100 orphan girls can help bring employment to women struggling to make ends meet. But wait, we can do more!

One of my friends is doing board work for a global mission group and is working to find ways to teach impoverished people in third world countries how to fish” and has asked me to help. There is no doubt in my mind we can take our rag doll project to Haitian soil, to make more dolls, now embroidered with the beautiful Creole name of the Haitian seamstress and sold to American children to love, and to learn more about a faraway place, its unique culture and needs. Haitian women prosper and perhaps a few of the little girls who grow up in love with their rag doll named SophiaPierre will want to go to Haiti on a mission trip to love on orphans and eventually, come up with a business idea of her own. And the cycle continues.

So with one little request from a humble child, a solution emerges to meet an immediate need, a new industry is born, new workers trained and employed, domestically and globally, with the potential to inspire future entrepreneurs to engage and envision great big ideas of their own!!

I encourage you to take one of your ideas, brainstorm about how to make it bigger and better, a win-win for you and your customers and the community you serve. Ask your friends, employees and colleagues to dream with you. Dare to dream BIG!

As 2013 draws to a close I will give you an update on how this idea turned out. And I will look forward to hearing yours! I would love to hear what ideas you are considering.

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