Yesterday my cause community suffered a huge and very unexpected loss in Steve Catoe, an adult congenital heart defect (CHD) survivor, outspoken advocate, blogger and in the years I’ve been in this cause space, someone who came to be a dear friend. His passing has been difficult for many in the CHD world. We want to believe that successful surgeries as a child mean a long life ahead, but we know better: sudden cardiac arrest can happen at any time for a CHD survivor. We want to hope that by the time heart kids become adults we’ll have found a cure, but hope alone is not going to make that happen.
Steve’s second to last blog post was a plea to our community: hope is not a strategy. He asked us to come up with a plan, a goal and a deadline.
I’ve been living in that mind frame myself a lot these past few months, knowing that if we don’t have a clear vision, our missions will never be anything more than a band-aid. As a result my organization is changing almost everything about our programs in 2011. Each step we take will be one step closer to a solution.
Our mission is to give lifesaving surgery to children in developing countries with heart defects, but my vision is to work myself out of job: to change the landscape so that all children with heart defects have access to the care they need no matter where they live in the world.
Do I have a plan to get there? You betcha. A measurable goal? Absolutely. A deadline? Heck yeah.
I challenge you to do the same. What’s your vision for your cause? How will you get there? What’s your plan? What’s your goal? And most importantly – when is your deadline? (hint: “someday” and “in our lifetime” are not deadlines)