You ask for inspiration, and I give you Pat Croce.

I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my time, and I’ve heard a lot of inspiring speeches. For sheer enthusiasm and rah-rah positivity, though, few can compare with Croce, an entrepreneur, innovator and former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers who delivered the keynote address at the recent CCH User Conference in Phoenix.

And really, what’s wrong with that? I think too many of us have become so jaded with bitter experience that we view such positivity with skepticism at best — and outright hostility at worst.

In my mind, though, we all should buy what Croce is selling. Here’s a taste from his CCH speech:

  • Expect success. Our efforts tend to match our expectations.
  • Everything is impossible before it works.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of your presence. You have the power to add to or subtract from the happiness of everyone you meet.
  • There’s a correlation between doing good and doing well. Giving leads to winning.
  • Listen. Care. Then respond. That alone will set you light years apart from the competition.
  • The keys to unlocking your dreams are your passion, a positive mental attitude, and willpower. Your IQ is not as important as your “I will.”

I know, I know — 10 pounds of positivity in a five-pound bag. Gag me, right? And I’d agree with you if it weren’t all true. Seriously, read over those bullet points again and tell me where Croce is wrong.

What really resonated with me, though, was this gem:

“I believe,” Croce said, “that we must do something everyday toward the fruition of our dreams and goals.”

Just one small thing. Every day.

In other words, improving ourselves, reaching our goals, innovating, creating, conquering change — it doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t require earth-shattering, groundbreaking discoveries. It just takes one small step in the right direction … and then another one.

Futurist Andrew Zolli might have put it best:

“Our normal metaphors about innovation are all about breakthroughs, change, things that are different, a radical reframing of an industry,” Zolli said. “The reality is that most innovative work is incremental improvement.”

One foot in front of the other. We all can do that.

Who knew innovation could be so easy?

If you have a few free minutes, listen to my interview with Pat Croce in its entirety:

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