Recently, I was in a weekend seminar in a high-rise office building downtown. The seminar was on the 40th floor, and only a few people in our group had a key-card that would enable the elevator to take us up. This was an express elevator, and it only went between the lobby and the 40th floor.
In this particular moment, there were about 10 of us in the lobby with no way to return to class. So I pushed the elevator button anyway, the door opened, and about half of us got in. The door closed and we all just stood there chatting, until somebody said “Oh! I thought you had a key.”
“Nope. I have no idea how I am going to get to the 40th floor. But I do know that getting in the elevator is the first step.”
At that moment, the elevator began to move, apparently because somebody already on the 40th floor pushed the elevator call-button. We went along for the ride, and stepped out when the doors opened at our destination.
There are three lessons to derive from this simple story.
1. One need not know how to achieve a goal in order to take the first step.
2. Take the first step. Chance favors the prepared.
3. An act of leadership, however simple, invites others to follow.