Do for One
I have a friend who runs an awesome for-profit business. Another friend heads a life transforming nonprofit. A third friend is leading a social entrepreneurial cafe. I wish I could have each of their jobs. I have Vision ADD.
It is not possible for me to run a small business, a nonprofit, a cafe and all the other ventures I want to do. I know this. However, I still dream and I still get really excited about the vision of these organizations and these individuals. Do you ever have this problem? Do you ever struggle with Vision ADD, wanting to go in a million different ways all at once? Do you ever try to meet every need? Have you ever attempted to start multiple businesses at once?
One of the things that has helped me most as an Idea Addict, is a quote from Andy Stanley, a pastor in Atlanta, GA. He encourages, “Do for one, what you wish you could do for all.” He explains that it is very tempting when you see a need, or a vision or an idea to want to do one of two things. One direction is to go and meet every need. Usually what ends up happening is you get burned out. Then you are not really able to help anybody.
The second direction is to do the opposite. Because you cannot help everybody, you decide not to help anybody, not to meet any needs, not to move forward with any direction. It leaves you in a paralyzed state and this is not good either. Have you ever tried either of these?
“Do for one what you wish you could do for all” is a conscious decision not to do everything, but also not to decide to do nothing. Rather, you do for one what you wish you could do for all. This is a principle that I feel is a good answer to Idea Addicts on a daily basis, and in particular as we deal with Vision ADD. I have found it to be helpful in my own life with ideation, task management and career development. Whenever I get overwhelmed with options, I ask, “How can I do for one what I wish I could do for all?”
Let me give you one more example. Suppose you are generous and enjoy giving to charity. Then you get a raise, and, all of a sudden you have an extra $100 you want to give to charity every month. One option before you, and probably what you have done in the past, is to take the $100 and spread it out across 10 organizations. You give 10 organizations $10 a month.
Unfortunately, an extra $10 a month is probably not going to make much of a difference in the bottom line of an organization. Realizing this, perhaps you go with the opposite alternative. You say, “Well, I want to give to 10 organizations and since I cannot really help 10 organizations, I am not going to give to any.” So you hang onto this extra money you wish you could use for charity. Again, despite your desire to make a difference, you end up helping no one.
Neither of those options is good. Instead, do for one what you wish you could do for all. You have an extra $100 a month! Do not add just a little bit into 10 organizations. Do not decide to keep it to yourself. Take the whole $100 a month and give it to one organization. A $100 a month donation would do a lot of good for any charitable organization. Do for one what you wish you could do for all.