The Importance of Thinking Big
There’s a quote I love by Michelangelo:
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
I’ve been reflecting on this quote for the past couple of days whilst I spent a couple of days on the East Sussex coast, thinking about the next stage of development for ‘Best Year Ever.’ Periodically I like to take time about to think about my goals, to consider how close to achieving them I am and to map out the next steps towards realising them. The way I’ve decided to develop my business has shifted since I last did this exercise at New Year and so this seemed like an appropriate moment to contemplate whether the picture I have imagined in my mind’s eye of my future is still congruent. And so I spent my time in East Sussex, walking in the Hastings Country Park, relaxing on the beach and lazing by a pool surrounded by tropical plants, ‘thinking big’ and putting together a plan for the next few months.
For much of my adult life, I didn’t always find it easy to ‘think big,’ in fact I used to find this something of a challenge. But I’ve come to realise that ‘thinking big’ is not a gift, but a skill that can be developed over time simply by practicing it. ‘Thinking big’ can be broken down into 6 key steps, and it’s this process that turns dreams into actions and tangible outcomes. So why should you bother going through this process? Because quite simply it’s the first step toward developing the kind of business, the lifestyle and the financial future you want.
Give yourself permission to dream. Take yourself off to a place which inspires you or do an activity (hiking, sailing, golf…) which allows your mind to relax and get creative. And then start to day dream and think about the type of business you want to create. Where are you working? What does the space look like? How many staff do you have? What are they like? What are your products and services? What do your customers say about you? How much do you pay yourself? What type of lifestyle does this enable you to design for you and your family?
- Turn Your Dream Into A Goal
The action of writing down your dream turns it into a set of goals. I can’t explain how this works but I have experienced it time after time. For example I set a goal at the beginning of 2013 to go to India and see tigers in the wild. This is an expensive trip and I had no idea at the time how I would afford it. But this didn’t deter me and I set out to create the circumstances to make such a trip happen. Over Christmas and New Year 2013, I went to Rajasthan and was incredibly fortunate to spend time watching a male tiger with his kill in Ranthambore National Park. What I hadn’t realised when I booked my trip is that sightings of tigers in the wild are incredibly rare and that I could have gone out on a number of safaris and never seen a tiger.
- Work Out Why Your Dream Is So Important
Your ‘Why’ is the reason your dream is so important to you and will tell you if you really do want it, in which case it’s a true goal, or whether it’s just a whim or passing fancy. Reflect on and refine your ‘Why’ until it is strong and compelling enough. And then write it down alongside your dream.
- Decide What Actions Will Help You Progress Your Dream
This is the stage at which people often get derailed because they can’t see all the steps to turn their goals into reality. It’s never possible to see the full path, but don’t let this stop you putting together business, financial and marketing plans! These are route maps and help you to chart the course ahead. What is important at this stage is to identify a set of actions which will move you a few steps closer towards your goals.
- Set A Deadline
The writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish. A Plan without a Deadline is just a Fairy Tale.” So write down a date next to every goal. A deadline is simply a way of making your dream more concrete and creating a sense of urgency. What’s the worst that will happen if you don’t achieve your deadline? With consistent action, you’ll be further towards realising your goal than you were initially.
- Review Your Goals Daily
The process of reading your goals daily makes you more focused and gives you an opportunity to think about other actions you could take to bring you another step closer to realising your goals. Another of my goals since 2010 was to be mortgage free and own my property outright as I wanted to keep my expenses as low as possible during my own business start-up phase. Most of the time I could not see how this was going to happen, but I kept this goal firmly in my mind’s eye nevertheless. And at the point when I was most despairing, I suddenly was able to shift my thinking and come up with just the right plan to bring this goal to fruition.
So Now It’s Over To You!
What’s your greatest dream? Decide by when you want to accomplish it and write it down. Then close your eyes and take a few moments to envision having accomplished this dream.
How do you feel? How is life different? How do your spouse, kids, friends, family and business associates look at you? What can you afford, where can you go, what can you do?
Spend a couple of minutes writing down a few notes in your journal to reinforce your vision.
I’d love to know what your dream for your business is. And what one action could you take today to take you one step closer to achieving it? Leave a comment for me in the box below.