I often have conversations with many traditional leaders about scale. The intention of helping as many people as possible feels like a noble one, and the work of ServiceSpace is also reaching some amount of scale. Yet it's different. For us, scale is a mere externality. Whether things scale or not, we stay rooted in the small. That sounds like a subtle shift but it makes a huge difference. For instance, in two weeks, I'll be speaking at the spiritual part of UPenn's commencement
. The University president's invite mentioned two audiences (A-L, L-Z :)) in a setting that is home to massive rock concerts. :) The other speaker is 2011's Time 100 most influential person; General Petraeus will be getting an honorary degree at this gathering. Its quite an honor -- particularly to give one's first graduation talk at an Ivy league school. Yet its different. It isn't a stepping stone in some choreographed grand scheme. It happened because I gave a small talk at a gathering many moons ago; a high school kid was deeply impacted by the stories and stayed connected to ServiceSpace; when he went to Penn, he was touched by another mentor and dreamed of a day when his two mentors would meet. :) Several years later, I met his other mentor
. It was a beautiful connection. There was no other agenda. Year and a half later, I get this invite to share my learnings so far. Yes, there is some amount of scale involved -- but that's just a side show.