Tonight is the 4th anniversary of an organization I’m involved in: The Annex Shul. It’s a grassroots community geared towards young, urban professionals.
The challenge in growing a volunteer organization like this is that the people it most attracts tend to have incredibly busy professional and personal lives. And yet, they come, they participate and they make meaningful contributions.
Why they do it is obvious: they believe in what we’re trying to build together. How they do this, is less clear.
At the end of the day, we’ve got 24 hours. No more, no less. And it doesn’t take too much effort or thought to fill them quickly.
It does, I think, take a lot of effort and a lot of thought to fill them with those things that are important to us.
The founders of this community presented a beautiful vision of what could be and like Kennedy, Shaw or the many others to whom this quote has been attributed said ‘why not?’
Those who followed asked the same question – if this is important to me, why shouldn’t I be a part of making it happen? And then they lived the question. They thought about what they could do. And they made it happen.
I think the secret ingredient here is intention – focusing on what’s important and making a decision to do something about it. Some, especially coaches, would argue that intentions are only as good as the concrete goals that follow them. I can tell you from my experience in this organization alone that many of the concrete goals I’ve set for my own contributions haven’t been successful. And the same could probably be said for others involved. Yet we’ve managed to hit new milestones every year and to grow this organization into something incredible.
Goals have come and gone – some more successful than others. But the intentionality it takes to see what could be and to commit to making it happen has never waivered. And that is the strength of our community. Incredible intention focused on what could be and making it happen.
I’ve been accused of hammering my point home too aggressively. Excellent. Especially if I’m helping you focus on anything that might have a positive impact on your life.
In keeping with that theme, I’ll hit you over the head with my final thought and the full quote referenced above:
‘Some see things as they are and ask why. Some see things as they could be and ask why not.’
Why not ask why not? And do it with the intention of making things happen. I’m confident it will move you forward a lot faster than lamenting why things are the way they are.