How do you walk across America? One step at a time …

Business Learning Institute thought leader Frank Ryan is getting ready to embark on an overwhelming task — walking across America.

When I first met Frank a little over a year ago, I thought he was crazy. Taking on something so huge is scary and often appears impossible. But Frank is driven by his passion for Good Shepherd Services, a private, non-profit residential treatment facility in Baltimore County that provides treatment programs for adolescents ranging in age from 13 to 21 years who are experiencing emotional or behavioral difficulties of a psychiatric nature.

When you are passionate about something, the impossible often becomes possible.

As part of the Business Learning Institute’s i2a Strategic Thinking Process, which is the basis for our Leadership Academy, strategic planning and vision workshops, we often discuss “why.” Borrowing from Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and well known for his TED talk on the subject, BLI believes — as does Sinek — that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Sinek explains his discovery of the golden circle, the way in which we communicate. Most communication, he says, is from outside the circle in, starting with “what,” then “how,” and then sometimes “why.” But Sinek discovered that those who work from the inside out achieve more, often the seemingly impossible — e.g. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright brothers.

Frank’s “why” for his monumental task is clear. He has a passion and love for GSS’s mission. His “how” is his commitment to bringing awareness to teen-age mental health, and he just happens to be going about it by walking across America.

Starting in San Diego and ending in Ocean City at the MACPA’s Beach Retreat, at a daily average of about 32 miles, he will walk approximately 2,800 miles across the country in just 100 days.

But it all starts with just one step.

Also as part of the i2a process, we often take a 360-degree view of the world and how it’s affecting us. This is the part that scares people the most, but we can’t ignore it or hope for it to go away. It is here and it is now. The “what” and “how” you do things is going to have to change. But your “why” … well, that is constant. So take hope in it and communicate it while taking that first step.

In this rapidly changing and complex world, there are a lot of long miles ahead that may seem impossible. But if you can connect and communicate your “why,” taking one step at a time and keeping your L>C, anything is really possible.

Good luck, Frank. We couldn’t be prouder to have you on our team!

Happy walking, everyone!


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