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Big Goals Magic

Photo by Don Bonsey

When I first joined Rotary, my perspective on goal-setting was, to be honest, limited. You could even call it cautious. But all that changed when I decided to help create Snowball Express. The initial idea was modest: let's extend a helping hand to a few Marine families at Camp Pendleton who had lost a loved one in combat. Noble, right? But as we dug deeper, a thought crossed our minds: Why limit ourselves? What if we could help more?

That's when we decided to do something audacious. Instead of focusing on just a few families at Camp Pendleton, why not aim to help all military families facing the same devastating loss? The scale of this expanded goal was staggering, but so was its potential impact. And I learned that when you set a goal that big, something magical happens: it not only galvanizes you, but everyone around you. And everyone around them.

Our club already had a mix of professionals with varying skill sets, but this new, expansive goal meant we needed more—more expertise, more hands-on-deck, and more perspectives. We reached out to other Rotary clubs, veterans' organizations, community centers, and local businesses. Suddenly, we were no longer a single entity working on a local project; we were the epicenter of a county-wide movement, that rapidly expanded to include Rotary clubs across the country who had families of veterans living in their communities.

The most amazing part? As we widened our scope, our own club started to grow. New members joined, not just to be part of Rotary, but to be part of this big, audacious project. These new members weren't just filling seats; they were changing the game, bringing in fresh ideas and much-needed resources.

But the transformation didn't stop with us. As word got out about what we were trying to achieve, others were inspired to join in. Even people who had never considered community service were pitching in. It was like we had sparked a fire of community involvement that was lighting up the whole district.

The project became so big that it turned into the largest District-wide project in our history. And the impact? Well, it went beyond just providing immediate relief to families. When we connected with Rotary clubs across the country, they in turn offered long-term support systems, created awareness around the sacrifices of military families. And we built lasting relationships with organizations we hadn't even considered allies before.

But, as the saying goes: “Wait, there’s more.” The effects of Snowball Express continues. Here’s just one example.

This taught me an invaluable lesson about balancing vision with execution. Big goals are awesome, but they've got to be achievable. So we had to think strategically, plan meticulously, and act decisively. The practicalities of achieving something this monumental were complex, but that’s where details and milestones come into play. We broke it down to manageable problems and identified the resources that could solve them. Everyone wanted to help, so it was achievable.

Since Snowball Express, my views on goal-setting have never been the same. Achieving such a far-reaching goal is a continuous journey, not a destination. And every time you hit a milestone, it sets the stage for something even bigger. It's not just about achieving what you set out to do; it's about expanding what you believe is possible.

In the end, setting and achieving a big goal doesn't just change you; it changes your club and your community. It takes your mission from being a Rotary project to being a community movement, and from being a moment in time to becoming a lasting legacy. And that's not just fulfilling, that's life-altering. Trust me, once you've tasted that kind of impact, nothing less will do.



5 days ago

Great article. This needs to be shared far and wide. Thanks for the inspiration!


5 days ago


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