On a regular basis, I get an email or call from community leaders around the nation saying, “We have so much potential but cannot seem to grow. What should we do?”
As we talk more about their communities, it becomes clear that they have passionate historians and caretakers but lack the people whom I call “Community Catalysts.” These are the people who lead fearlessly and ignite growth.
But what is required to be a Community Catalyst?
You do not need all the answers before you start the journey, but you do need to define your goal before you start. Otherwise, you are liable to start sprinting in the wrong direction. And crucially, don’t forget to set your sights high: If your goal is easily attainable, you aren’t dreaming big enough.
Believe in Your Success
You have to believe that the world, karma, your neighbors and your teammates are all conspiring in your favor and want you to succeed. Most importantly, you have to have an unshakable belief in yourself—after that, the others will follow.
Live in a World of Abundance
Shift your focus to a world of abundance, not scarcity. Believe in a world where resources are multiplied, not hoarded.
Invest in Growing Leaders
Grow leaders who understand their strengths and empower them to use those strengths uniquely. Trust in their talents and invest in change agents.
Boil the Ocean
Appreciate that what you are doing is larger than yourself, whether it’s the quarter’s financials or your own organization. Know when to rely on the strengths and knowledge of others, but never stop gathering knowledge and putting it to work.
Execute, Ship, Improve
Understand that the pursuit of greatness requires execution. Don’t wait for perfection or you’ll never progress. And after you act, never stop challenging your best. No matter your level of success, strive to improve each time.
Embrace the Unknown
If you wait until every potential question is asked and every outcome explored, you’ll never begin your journey. The future is, by its nature, unknowable—prepare for the unknown and don’t let fear keep you from taking that first step.
Go All In
No great reward comes without great risk. When you know you’re making a smart bet, don’t be afraid to put it all on the line.
Consensus Is a Myth
The myth that consensus brings out community is not true; too often it creates only more mediocracy. Accept that you may never be able to convince everyone and that there will always be at least one detractor. Understand that statues are never built for committees.
Do not allow the trolls, critics or nay-sayers keep you from succeeding. The world belongs to the gladiators in the arena, not the spectators in the stands, no matter how big their microphone is.
Screw the Status Quo
The status quo was created to keep people from being great. By its definition, the status quo is exactly average—no one ever ordered a billboard that said, “Let’s Be Average Today!”
When all of these attributes come together in one person, you get a powerful force for community change. To grow dynamic leaders with incredible potential, it is important to recognize and develop these qualities at all levels. Remember that leadership is best understood as a journey, not a destination. Just keep moving forward.