“Impact impactfully.”

This ties back nicely to the post from Monday on leadership.

While traveling around Portland this past weekend, I came upon a waterfall.  Now, I’m not one of those people that chases waterfalls; in fact, I don’t really understand the fuss about them.  However, this waterfall, taught me a lesson, that I would like to share.

I have tried to change the world in the past, but have met with minimal success.  The fact that there are an average of 20 daily readers of my blog, points to this reality.  So, for my next venture, I realized that I need to not just jump in and create change, rather strategically approach my goal of maximum impact.

Here is what I have learned so far are the core attributes.  Starting with the lesson of the waterfall.

This waterfall, called Multnomah Falls, is just over 500 feet high and sits in the Columbia River Gorge.  At the base of the falls is a note that “On Labor Day in September 1995, a 400-ton boulder, loosened by erosion, fell 225 feet from the face of the waterfall.”

Looking at the waterfall (and you can see it a little in this picture), I noticed something interesting.  If you look at the top where the water comes in, it comes from a few smaller streams, then combines into one large stream.  It was this large stream that ultimately, impacted the fall of the rock.

So too us, our impact on the world is really just one of many pieces, that combine to create large change.

Of course, having said that, I’ll point out the strategically important three ideas to consider when trying to create change.

1) Go with the flow.

Leverage the other streams that are already working towards your social change, so as to create a bigger stream.

2) Minimize resistance to change.

Further, as a friend pointed out, work with locals to define what the needs are, since that will involve the greatest impact, and have the best chances for success in the long run.

3) Identity and fix the core issue, not the symptom.

By figuring out and working on the core issue, you are able to stop the problem in the long run…

4) Make it last.

Put a plan in place for your efforts to continue regardless of your participation… and ideally even if idiots are in charge, which chances are at some point in the future, they probably will be.

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