Why didn’t she see it sooner?
Anne Mahlum, like many of us, didn’t see the multi-million dollar opportunity right away. Why? Like many of us, she wasn’t seeing the opportunities because of the obstacles. Maybe you are doing the same thing. Maybe you are running right by your multi-million dollar opportunity every day.
Maybe that is why she couldn’t see the obvious.
She had a lot on her mind. She was 26 and trying to deal with her parent’s divorce. Her idyllic world was shattered when the father she adored revealed a gambling problem. No wonder she was devastated. No wonder she got into running. Running allowed her to get out, burn off the stress and divert her attention. In many ways, she was trying to run away from her problems.
It took several times running by the homeless group before she finally responded to their banter. It took several more times and several more weeks before she had the idea – What if she could get these homeless people to run?
“Huh? That is a stupid idea. The homeless don’t run. Everyone knows that.” Logic pushed back and common sense sought to prevail but this seemingly ridiculous idea prevailed. “What if . . .?”
So one day, after her run, she picked up the phone. It was such an easy task, she wondered why she hadn’t done it sooner. The response she received told her why.
“That will never work. The homeless simply do not run.” No matter who she called, her friends, family or even the homeless advocates, all said the same thing. “That will never work.”
But the idea persisted.
Then one day she decided to try. She started by asking her running friends to donate old running shoes. They were happy to. Then she took the bold step – She stopped and asked that small group of homeless men and women if they would like to run with her. To her surprise, they welcomed her offer. It wasn’t long and she had a small band of runners eagerly gathering several times a week. They loved the challenge and appreciated the accolades.
That is when she started to see the potential of this opportunity. She declined a rising start corporate job to run her own not-for-profit organization, helping the homeless run. By the time she was asked to give a TED Talk in 2013, her organization, “Back on My Feet” had grown to several cities and a budget exceeding $6 million. The best part is that some of those men and women are now off the streets, working in good jobs and in their own homes.
Just imagine what their world would have been like had Anne continued to focus on her own problems. Just imagine what would have NOT have happened if she had kept running, ignored their banter or listened to those that said, “That will never work.”
We leverage our leadership power when we interrupt the grind of our daily lives to notice what we regularly ignore. We leverage that power to make the difference when we look beyond obstacles to the opportunities.
Like Anne Mahlum, you may be running or driving by your multi-million dollar opportunity every day and never know it. You may be listening to those voices that say, “That is crazy, it will never work.” But maybe your opportunity will come when you entertain the idea instead of dismiss it. After all, if Anne Mahlum can get the homeless to run, what crazy thing can you do?
Leverage Your Leadership Power
As leaders of business, civic, government and religious organizations, you can leverage your leadership power to unleash the ultimate(TM) performance, production and profits today. Here are steps Anne Mahlum took that you may find valuable.
- Change your focus. Look to see how you can help others instead of sooth your own pain.
- Ignore their advice. Many will tell you it is a stupid idea. But if you see the opportunity – go for it.
- Ask for help. Incredible things happen when we simply ask. Take the initiative.
3D PWR Tip: Leverage You Power by Stopping to Notice what you Regularly Ignore
(c) 2015 Murfield International, Inc.
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Dr. Loren Murfield works with aspiring and emerging leaders so they can leverage their power to do what followers and critics think is impossible. This often involves working with them to develop their disruptive ideas and write their stories of rapid and radical change. How could you leverage your leadership power by sharing your story of disruption? Contact Dr. Murfield today.
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Disclosure: No benefits have been promised or received for writing about Anne Mahlum or http://www.backonyourfeet.org.