“I dwell in possibility.” –Emily Dickinson
One of the things that unites us here at Fedcap is our collective belief in the “power of possible.” These words represent not only what we imagine we can do to further economic self-sufficiency for those with barriers, but it is also the driver of our strategy and of the day-to-day execution of our strategy. Imaginings cannot exist without execution.
The power of possible is about innovation. It is about analyzing an existing system and looking at ways to disrupt it just enough to change its trajectory. Imagine a train is headed toward one destination. A simple shift in the track can change the course dramatically. Now imagine a man or woman is re-entering the community after incarceration. Statistics show that within a year, many of those released re-enter the justice system. But what if we were to intervene with the belief that the statistics don’t apply to everyone? And what if we create opportunities for specific and precise interventions in the form of people-to-people support and practical skill-building? The trajectory can change. It does change. I see it happen over and over again through our programs like the Career Design School.
The power of possible is also about leadership. Leadership means having the vision to imagine where we might go and sharing that vision in a way that ignites others’ imagination about what is possible. If we, as leaders, just present a “to-do” list without vision, it can lead to confusion as to why we are doing what we do. Essential to manifesting the possible in leadership is the need to include the skills and action plan to make the vision into reality. It is the balance between vision and execution that makes the impossible possible.
And, the power of possible is about intangible and tangible support. Our experience with the roughly 100,000 people that we serve tells us that one of the greatest catalysts in manifesting the possible is the existence of a person who sees the potential in another and who champions that potential. I hear from person after person the story of their success, and in every story, a champion emerges as the catalyst for change and growth. Just as important as having someone believe in the potential of another is the demonstration of that support in the form of mentorship, skill-building, and the call for accountability. Caring must be balanced by action.
As we enter 2017, I am stirred by the vision of what is possible in our work. I imagine a world without stigma for those with barriers. I imagine a world where those with barriers can envision possibilities without limitation–imposed either from within themselves or from members of society who do not know better. I imagine a world where those with barriers feel equity in every way—economically, socially, emotionally, and physically, no matter what their circumstance.
With this vision also comes the strategy, systems, structure, and execution to make the concepts of equity into reality. This is our work. I look forward to 2017 as a time where I know we will continue to erode the barriers to economic equity. With vision and the hard work behind the vision, I believe we can manifest extraordinary things. I believe in the power of possible. I’ve seen it in action, and I look forward to the growth and hard work of 2017.
To you all, I wish you a Happy New Year—and a year full of the Power of Possible.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.