Think Small

Many times in your life you have no doubt been encouraged to “Think big!” After all, the U.S. is all about big, isn’t it? Big houses, big cars, big business, big athletes, big money, big national parks, big – you name it.

And you’re supposed to have big dreams and big goals, right?

I’m not opposed to big dreams or goals. I frequently challenge my clients to think big and stretch. Sometimes, though, thinking small is the wiser thing to do.

Thinking small?

I had a small business coaching client recently who worked for a huge corporation. He had a successful career but felt like the proverbial cog in the wheel – like nothing he did made much of a difference and that his efforts were not appreciated. He set his sights on a smaller company with only 40 employees. It served smaller companies in the same industry. He landed a job there and despite fewer perks, he couldn’t be happier.

Another client has purposely kept her decades-old manufacturing company smaller than it could be, because she enjoys the strong connections with her customers, with their suppliers and with all the employees. She feels these qualities would be lost if they doubled or tripled in size. She loves her work and is financially well rewarded.

Then there’s Don Shaffer, co-owner of Comet Skateboards. In the July issue of Ode Magazine he said, “We have ambitions to be the best company in the business, not the biggest.” Their skateboards are designed for top performance and made from Forest Stewardship Council Certified wood, ensuring it was ecologically harvested. They’re small but have tremendous customer loyalty.

And Fritz Maytag, owner of Anchor Brewery, makers of the wildly successful Anchor Steam beer, started the microbrew renaissance in the 60’s. “I like things small,” he said. “I didn’t want to sell my company to outsiders in order to finance a bigger brewery. In a small company everyone knows each other. That has its advantages.” Now you find companies like Budweiser producing some regional craft beers to compete with the microbrewers – how amazing is that?!

We must be judicious in how we approach our professional life. Thinking big can definitely help us break out of our limitations. Thinking small can help us find the deep satisfaction and happiness which we all want.

So what big dream or goal sits on your horizon, receding like a ship you’re chasing, yet still alluring? How can you “think small” in order to start making that dream a reality?

© 2014 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media

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