I was working with a group years ago, when a friend in the class, John Hightower, said these six words:
“Think Big, Start Small, Scale Up.”
The group I was working with latched on to the phrase, and so did I. Those words became a mantra during that training. We used the phrase to connect many things we were discussing and learning. Since then, I’ve found the phrase can be used in many other applications.
Think Big forces you to think ahead to the ultimate goal. As Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Start Small makes you think of the next right action. The dreamy Think Big is nothing without action. Start Small gives you license to take a tiny little step, to not be intimidated by the dream, but to just get started. Even if it’s only taking the smallest possible step forward, that first step sets you down the path towards the goal.
Scale Up means you must keep growing and improving. Scale Up is the hard work. Scale Up is commitment, iteration, and continuous improvement. It’s about saying no to the siren’s call of other projects and not stopping until you have achieved the dream. It’s focus.
The combination of these three concepts is powerful. I find myself using them all the time. The phrase reminds me of what is essential for me and my business, reminds me to focus on the essential, and to keep progressing by avoiding new, sexy, less valuable things.
Think Big, Start Small, Scale Up works for so many things in life: getting in shape, developing great relationships, and making progress on that dream you’ve always wanted to conquer.
What is your Think Big dream? What is the unthinkable and awesome dream that you haven’t started yet?
How could you Start Small in pursuing it today? Think tiny. What’s the smallest initial step possible to get started?
What can you Scale Up to continuously make progress towards your end goal? How can you make Scale Up be fun like a game where you are always advancing and improving, always beating your high score?
Whatever you do, don’t follow the other path.
The other path is Doubt Possibilities, Never Start, Make Excuses.
I can promise you those six words aren’t as much fun. It’s up to us to take the first step.