I was listening to a report on NPR news about street vendors in Los Angeles this morning. The city council recently voted unanimously to legalize this small business sector that has operated for years without licensing, receiving many fines, violations and sometimes more serious consequences like deportation. The street vendors themselves very much support having the change to operate as legitimate businesses, but an alternate opinion comes from restaurant and store owners who have retail storefronts. They explain that often the street vendors in front of their establishments charge much lower prices than they can afford to due to their obvious overhead expenses, and create physical and visual barriers in front of their storefronts.

Quite a conundrum.

think small


I will not propose solutions here, as that is not my purpose. However, what this got me started thinking about is how a small business like a street cart might make a leap to being a much bigger operation, even to having a store front. Which then made me wonder how any of us make a big changes in our lives.

Change is often difficult, especially when what we desire seems nearly impossible, as making the leap in this example might seem to many street vendors.

If you wanted to create a big change, then I have one suggestion that I cannot emphasize enough: Think small. Come up with one small task or idea towards your goal that seems ridiculously simple. Make it so small that not doing it seems impossible.

I heard a good story about how to do this the other day. Consider your values. Are they good health, saving money for a specific goal, landing your dream job, finding a partner, or perhaps getting into a college you love? Whatever your values are, after you identify them, imagine them as a target. Imagine yourself throwing darts or shooting at this target, which consists of your values, or one value in particular that you have in mind. Are you hitting it? Are any of your shots near the values?

Think Small To Change

What is the smallest task could you complete in terms of concrete actions towards hitting that target today? This week? Next week? Next month? It does not have to be monumental–in fact–the smaller the better, the more doable. The simple, necessary tasks, once done, spur you on to accomplish more. A good physical example is the Couch to 5K program where people start out just gently walking short distances and end up running in a race! Something they could not conceive of before.

And that is the heart of the issue. Many people tend to adopt a “Well I blew it, so why bother at all” attitude when they bite off too big of a bite in the first place. Thinking small, and having really short, doable, interim targets is more effective. Then you are able to build on your sense of accomplishment with each step of the way! Momentum builds.

I bet you didn’t think I would encourage you to think small. But that is exactly what I mean to do. Parse it out, list the small tasks that lead to your values. If you can’t think of them all, just jot down one or two and do those. More will follow, no doubt!

If you want a little help figuring out those values, give me a shout. I am here and in your neighborhood, ready to help.

Life will always be filled with challenges. And I simply see no point in struggling with them alone.

Shoot me an email if this is the case. Or go to my contact page; there are several ways to reach me. Let’s figure out how to get to your target.