I must have missed the class where they taught us to dream big, that dreaming is important, and, most importantly, how to dream big.
Maybe in all our education and early jobs we focus on the here, now and how a little too much. Maybe our elders want to prepare the majority of us for sustainable, productive jobs which will earn us a living. Maybe we are just too busy with what is going on around us, and we forget to look inside ourselves and envision our own future. Maybe it is the Matrix?
My father said to me a few times when I was growing up that “today is not practice.” This life is the only one you get, and if you do not live it the way you want, the way you envision, the way you dream, then you will regret it in the end.
How do you learn to dream big again?
So, the question becomes, how does an entrepreneur, business owner or anyone for that matter, stop what they are doing, turn off the merry-go-round, and get down to dreaming big again?
One thing to do is take your goals (you have those handy, right?), and multiply them by five.
Why five? Who knows? My point is, your goals are not set high enough.
For anyone who has been trained in negotiation techniques, you know the strategy of high, medium and low pricing. As a seller, there is a high price you start with, there is an intermediate (perfectly acceptable) price that you would be happy to get, and there is a rock-hard bottom line price that you will not go below under any circumstances. If it comes to pass that you cannot get even the rock bottom price, you are prepared to walk away from the sale instead of selling at a price at or below your rock bottom price.
If you are a salesperson, you start off a negotiation with a certain figure (price) with the knowledge that you can easily come down off that price and still be very satisfied in the result. You are prepared for a little give-and-take with your prospective buyer, so that you can try to come to some sort of happy agreement between buyer and seller.
Most people, if they set any goals at all for themselves, generally set goals they are confident they will easily achieve. Why? Well, it certainly would feel better if you achieve your goal than it is to miss it, right?
Yes, you’ve nailed your goal. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a middle-of-the-road, pure vanilla, average existence. You’ve achieved an absolutely meaningless goal.
At least you can be satisfied that you made your goal!
Set the Stretch Goal
Why not set a big, lofty wonderful dream of a goal for your business (and your life)? Sure it would be hard to achieve everything that you picture in this made-up dream. Maybe you won’t end up with 5,000 employees or $10 billion in revenue or own castle in France or London (or whatever your particular dream). That’s not the point.
Maybe you just end up with a successful business with 50 employees and $20 million in revenue and a paycheck of a half million dollars.
Even though you did not reach your “stretch” goal, it certainly would be no failure in the end.
There is a great book called “Write it Down, Make it Happen” by Henriette Anne Klauser, which discusses the incredible power of written goals. (see on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Write-Down-Make-Happen-Knowing/dp/0684850028). In this powerful book, the author gives example after example of people who have written down their goals, and even lost or forgotten all about them, only to find out some time later in life that they had actually achieved – or surpassed – their biggest goals!
By the way, this is the precise purpose of business plans. Write it down, make it happen. Yes, indeed.
Remember what one of the most successful entrepreneurs in American history, Andrew Carnegie, said over and over: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”
It is the power of the mind, along with hard work, which will get us to our destination. You determine the destination, whether it high, medium or low. What is your dream?