Dream Big, Start Small.
We all know big results need big ambitions. But mention “big” and “results” at the same time and see people freak out. Mention “big” with “achievements” and almost everyone starts thinking about words like “time-consuming”, “hard” and “complicated”. Ask them to sum up their views and they will tell you “overwhelming and difficult to get there” or “impossible and intimidating”. They will tell you how big dreams are associated with crushing pressure and nervous breakdowns. They will tell you how you need to endlessly hustle and give up everything that brings you joy.
All of these core beliefs reinforce an irrational fear of big – “Megaphobia” as Gary Keller calls it in his book THE ONE THING. In his book, he writes:
“When we connect big with bad, we trigger shrinking thinking. Lowering our trajectory feels safe. Staying where we are feels prudent. But the opposite is true: when big is believed to be bad, small thinking rules the day and big never sees the light of the day.”
No one knows their ultimate ceiling – the upper limits of their achievements. No one wants to limit themselves, but we do it every day. Because we substitute the idea of “big” with a leap of possibility. As Gary Keller says: “It’s the office intern visualizing the boardroom or a penniless immigrant imagining a business revolution.” It is not impossible for either the intern or the immigrant to actualize their dreams, but there are a thousand small steps to take before going to that place.
Having a purpose driven big-picture to aim for is non-negotiable to get anywhere, but it takes daily effort for decades to finally reap the harvest. Get started with answering these questions:
- In this given moment, what are the three goals that you most want to achieve? Take some time, and write them down.
- For each goal, write WHY you want these things to happen. This is the first step to finding your purpose. (Spoiler: Gaining money is not a sustainable motivator while chasing long-term goals.)
- We often chase a goal because we actually desire the feeling, we believe the goal will give us. What are the feelings your goal will give you? For example, I will feel joyful, optimistic, powerful, passionate, confident, pride.
- What are your top five core values? Here are some examples, purpose, creativity, security, achievement, freedom.
- Take a look at your core values. How are your goals connected to your core values?
- Can you spot any places where your goals are not in alignment with your core values? Next, brainstorm ways you might resolve the internal conflict.
- How will reaching your goals impact the world in a positive way? Remembering the big picture is a great motivator.
- Based on these three goals, what are some things you can achieve in the next five years? What are some things you can achieve in the next twelve months?
- Based on the goals for the next year, what actions can you take this month, this week, today?
- Repeat the steps as frequently as needed.
It is proven that writing down your goals and plans is more effective while achieving them. Check in regularly/ weekly to see if your actions are in alignment with your core values and goals. If not, reevaluate. Calibrate your progress and keep repeating the process.