Every journey starts with a single step. For those journeys that truly matter, that first step is usually walking right into a pile of you know what.
The secret is to turn that mess into your message. Think about those who we have forged in our minds as the greatest among men. Everyone of them had a struggle. Without the struggle there is no pinnacle in the story line. Without struggle, there is no hero. Without struggle, life becomes dull and boring.
So how do you do it? Give hope to people. Teach them something. Or simply share your experience.
When the glaring despair of poverty was too much to turn away from, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that the next step to the civil rights movement was something referred to as the "Silver Rights" movement. The focus was to eradicate poverty through financial literacy. The mess sparked the vision for what is now Operation Hope.
In case you haven't noticed, our education system is suffering. On both the K-12 side and the university side we are producing more and more students who are ill equipped for the jobs of today, or more importantly, the jobs of tomorrow.
Luckily there are organizations that are helping to make an impact. In 2004 a guy by the name of Sal Khan had a family member who he was trying to help tutor but the distance became a challenge. So he began leveraging technology for their tutoring sessions. Today, Khan Academy is a premier education resource that is disrupting the way teaching is delivered in classrooms across America. It all started when Sal decided to take one simple step to solve a very simple "mess."
Share Your Experience
One of my mentors, Jon Acuff, is a great example of a smart guy doing good work at a job he didn't like. After a few years of this he realized he wasn't the only one in the world that was stuck in a good but miserable job. He decided to make that mess his message. He got to work building a pathway for others to escape that situation.
He is now a best-selling author of the book "Quitter: Closing the gap between your day job and your dream job." He also hosts the Quitter Conference and Start Night events to provide additional support in helping people successfully navigate the same journey that he has.
What's the moral of the story? Find a mess. It can be yours, ours, or someone else's. Just start. Start working to fix it. Make it your message, your mission to change it from the ugly thing it is into a story that breathes hope into everyone who hears it. It's not simple but it's worth it.
Here are some things to consider as you get started:
- Find your mess
- Consider your contribution
- Count the cost
- Craft your message
- Get to work...start the spark
So get to it. Make your Mess your Message.
What messages have you seen evolve from a mess?