Let me share a brief story with you.
At a talk I was giving to a group of small business owners a while back, I was commenting on the subject of goals. And I had been saying that our goals needed to be inspiring and visionary, challenging and stretching, distinct and clear. All the usual stuff.
And although I hadn’t meant to, for at least one person in the audience, I had implied that goals needed to be “big”.
She challenged me on exactly that: “Why do our goals always have to be so big? Why do we always have to shoot for #1 in our market? Why do we always have to climb Mount Everest? We’re small business owners; we need to budget for failure.”
Now, that last remark: “budget for failure”. Well, I don’t even know what that means. Or rather: I know exactly what it means – I’m just not going to let my thinking go there. Because I know what focusing on failure will get me.
But putting aside that final statement, she had (otherwise) made for me a very valid point: goals do not need to be big.
And I’ve always believed that. I’ve always preferred to talk about goals in terms of challenge and stretch and significance. That is: Does this goal represent stretch for you? Does this goal have significance and meaning for you?
And all that might result in a goal that is (quote-unquote) “big”. But “big” is not mandatory criteria for a quality goal.
The Lesson: goals don’t need to be “big”. They just need to be significant. For you.
When BIG gets in the way
To know that goals don’t need to be “big” is a useful thought. But it doesn’t just stop at goals. That useful thinking has application elsewhere too.
Think now about a project, task or undertaking that you’re stuck on; that isn’t moving; that you’re not getting to. Isn’t it, at least in part, because you’re making it too big?
And aren’t we very-often guilty of making all sorts of things too big? Projects, tasks and undertakings. Events, meetings and presentations. Admin, housekeeping, development. Everywhere we look, we find instances of making things bigger than they need to be. Or, indeed, are.
And it’s a form of procrastination. We build it up, make it huge, make the first small step a giant leap. And so we do nothing. We’re rooted at inaction. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
The Lesson: stop making everything so big!
Time to downsize
So a question for you: where are you making things bigger than they are or need to be? Where is that impeding your progress? And what can you do to downsize, if only in your mind?