In May of 1961 in Houston, Texas, President John F. Kennedy set one of the biggest goals in human history - to put a man on the moon and bring him home safely before the end of the decade. And many in the U.S., and around the world, thought he was being utterly ridiculous.
The validity and wisdom of really large goals was debated long before Neil Armstrong's historic steps, and that debate will rage far beyond today.
The debate, of course, centers around these two questions:
-"If we set the goal really high and don't make it, won't we be disappointed?"
-"Wouldn't we be better off to set a lower goal and make it?"
Let me answer those questions this way: if President Kennedy hadn't set that goal nearly fifty years ago, would a man have walked on the moon by now?
Unless another leader had set a similar bold goal, definitely not.
You can't reach a big goal, unless you aim for it. It won't happen by chance.
This challenge of what size to set our goals applies at all levels, from nations to businesses to teams to families and, of course, to each of us as individuals. To get past the seemingly safe logic of setting goals so that we won't be disappointed, we must ask ourselves what we really want and build our confidence in our worthiness to have what we really want.
The Four Reasons
If you aren't yet convinced, here are four specific reasons why you will benefit from setting BIGGER goals.
Big goals give you a shot at reaching your potential. Let's face it, your organization, your team and YOU have tremendous potential. The only way you have a shot at reaching that potential is by setting goals that stretch you, challenge you and push you towards that potential.
Better to come up a little short, than not be in the game. Which is better: setting a goal that is your heart's desire and achieving 90% of it or setting a much lower goal - and reaching it - or even exceeding it by a little? Would a little disappointment be worth the difference in results? I'll let you decide for yourself.
You are going to be working anyway. Regardless if you have a big goal or a small goal (or no goal at all), you will still be expending effort in that area of your life in some way, right? All the research shows that when we are focused on a goal, we will be more efficient and effective. So, since you're going to be working anyway, you might as well work towards the big goal that you really want!
You are worth it. It's true. You are worth achieving the most and the best for yourself. There is no reason you should settle or give in. This is what most people tell those they love, but they don't live it for themselves. If you believe you are worth it, great! If you don't, begin a process to improve your self belief until you can look in the mirror and know you are worth achieving your biggest goals and desires.
I've stated all of these for you as an individual because I want to do my best to persuade you to set higher and bigger goals for yourself. Having said that, remember that all four of these reasons apply to your team and your organization of any type.
However, and with whomever, you choose to set bigger goals, you will be glad you did.
Potential Pointer: The key question in setting big goals is "What do we really want?" not "What can we achieve?" The biggest goals, the ones that can change your world, will always seem large. Yet, if you don't set them, you'll never get there. Set bigger goals and know you will achieve more - even if you don't quite make it to that desired destination.