The Ukulele Effect

Drawing by Ann Van Eron

I have a lot of aspirations. For example, I want to write several more books and want to support open-minded conversations to create shared solutions around the many issues facing our world.

I talk to a lot of leaders who have such goals and feel pressed on how to best make a difference given the pressures they are facing. We so often put off taking action because we don’t feel we have enough time or space to start big projects.  I introduce the Ukulele effect.

I recall that my daughter hoped to learn the guitar and yet she was too busy with a full schedule. We visited family for Thanksgiving and her aunt brought a ukulele. Within an hour she learned a few chords and was strumming songs. She wanted a ukulele and we ordered an inexpensive one and she continued playing within a few days. She then naturally grew her repertoire and with confidence moved to playing the guitar and singing.

What if we could each take small steps toward our aspirations. If you would love engaging in art, take a small step and doodle with colored pencils or explore an app on your phone. If you want to write a book, start writing blogs. If you want to make a difference in an area such as food safety, read an article and talk with others about what you are learning.  If you want to become a better leader start listening to blogs on your commute, hire a coach or read articles and talk with your friends about what you are learning. 

Notice an issue or an area that excites you and take one small ukulele step in that direction and then pay attention to what the next step may be.  At a minimum you will know you have taken a step. Experiment on a small scale and see what emerges.

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