A pattern emerged this week that popped out at me and I want to share it with you.

It’s about “scale”.

You know when you are describing something you or someone else is doing and it’s described as “big” or “major”? Yeah, that “holy …. That’s huge” feeling. Scale.

I came in contact with several scales of scale this week in different conversations and areas of my life and realized the importance of selecting a scale of ambition that both stretches you in a significant way but is achievable.

I met a guy this week that I can’t tell you much about (I hate being coy but have to on this one) but is working on something at a scale that is pretty much unfathomable to most people. He and his team are working on disrupting one of the most powerful corporations in the United States. Just think about an institution that is completely imbedded in our country’s culture.

Now for most people, even conceiving that the possibility of this disruption could happen is near impossible, much less conceiving themselves being the orchestrator of the disruption. But that is exactly what this guy is doing.

When first shared his idea with me, I thought it had no chance of being successful. But as he shared his previous successes, achievements that only a handful of people in this country have ever experienced, he chipped away at my disbelief. And finally, when he revealed his plan, I found myself believing that if anyone could pull this off, it was this guy.

It is completely fascinating to me because as he shared the plan, and I asked questions and got answers, three things stuck out to me:

  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen is so consistently on point and applicable it’s crazy. If you’ve never read it, do it. The basic idea is that large, established businesses usually have a pretty big blind spot in their business model, and the very thing that makes them so strong is also what makes them avoid addressing that blind spot.
  • Impossible is Nothing. But our ability to see what’s possible is based on the strength of our belief in a force of change, and our previous experiences. Therefore we can inversely use our response to the potential of disruption to gauge our belief in the potential for change and our experiences with the establishment. I think this is broadly applicable, not just in business.
  • If you are wondering how people get to the level of doing what seems impossible, dig into their past and the path becomes more obvious. Great achievers use their previous scale achievements to achieve things at the next great scale. Making each goal of scale a stretch but achievable. They are building their belief of what’s possible, and a body of experience that enables an entirely new level of scale.

It always seems to get back to knowledge of self. What do you believe is a stretch but is possible? What does your body of experience tell you can and should happen? When you know that, go do that. In that doing, the next big stretch will unfold.

Pretty cool. Take a look around and see how/if these patterns apply in your life and send me a note and let me know if they do or if you think I missed something.

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