When I look at my big hairy audacious goals (BHAG) they are daunting, exciting, and require dozens, hundreds, and in some cases thousands of hours to achieve. Often I find myself rewriting the same goal — “Start writing” “Start podcast”, “Ask her out”, and others … A trend that I saw centered on the beginning not beginning, as in — I kept writing I needed to start, but never did.
Why we hesitate
The future visualization is wrecking your execution.
The greatest enemy to progress is not where you are today, but that you are judging yourself against the ultimate future. Do any of these sound familiar:
- I don’t want to date/marry a girl I meet at a bar / club, so I don’t want to go out to those places
- They don’t like coffee, so I won’t ask him out (because we’ll never get married, so why bother)
- I can’t run 24 miles, so I can’t do an Ironman
- I don’t have a jingle / intro / outro / script / interviewees / listeners, so I can’t possibly create a podcast, or online show
- I can’t do a push-up, so I can’t do a Spartan event
Yeah, me too. Truth is I and others who wish to achieve must have a VISION of where we are going balanced with a perspective of what is the right effort today towards that vision.
I found the risk being we judge the current moment too harshly from the future. Simply we look at Step 1 and judge ourselves against Step 5.
To conquer this, be self aware and appreciate that you need to meet the girl and boy first before any chance of becoming friends, dating, and maybe something more commitment. To run 24 miles, you need to begin with a .25 mile .. then a .5 mile run etc …
For those business and career ventures — frame them as projects. A fixed commitment (10 podcasts / 5 pages written a day / etc..). That way you work to that production goal, but nothing else. What happens as you reach that daily goal — you become more proficient, find your authentic voice, create content worth sharing, and at the end have something that can give value to others! When you hit that goal then you’ll be able to focus on distribution, improving your craft, and reacting to the audience. All of which creates a flywheel towards the ultimate vision that you desire, but in a way that is unique to you.
The danger of accolades for the goal vs the process
When you know what you want to do it is a moment of clarity, but not peace. I find there is anticipation from the clarity of the decision to the next immediate step. This anticipation can be intoxicating and make us drunk. Drunk in a sense that we begin to freeze here. Why would you move on if your mind is releasing endorphins and more into your bloodstream, rewarding you for having this clarity. It is a trap.
I learned this truth when I began training for Ironman events. These are 140 or 70ish mile long events that involve swimming, biking, and running. Very challenging and require not only training and strength, but also nutrition to sustain you the 5–12 hours of the event. When I began to train I shared my goal with friends and family. They immediately started congratulating me. I felt joy and a reward internally, and then I missed a training day and another.
To keep the motivation to continue
What was happening is they rewarded me for something I hadn’t yet achieved (completing the Ironman), and so I mentally and emotionally began to checkout of doing the work in the process. Once I became self aware, I reframed the accolades to — “Congrats on TRAINING for the Ironman”. By refocusing their accolades and my mind on the work I needed to achieve the goal, I was able to now move stronger towards my goal
.Reframe the support of others to power your work against your goals. These daily activities accumulate to reach your goal. Whether it is daily writing for your book, a play, or a physical ambition.
To achieve our greatest desires
We must focus on the daily effort, the grind, and the joy that comes from these individual efforts. The joy is both fueled by our friends and family who provide continuous support on the path (nay sayers will exist, and those must be blocked out after their points considered… especially if they are family and friends).
Breakdown our BHAG into daily tasks and achieve everyday’s goal. Each step brings you closer to achievement. One interesting hack for those chasing the biggest goals of their life — appreciate the process and minor milestones. The daily process builds our acuity and body to achieve more, even if we choose to not reach that ultimate goal. As some goals we may realize are not achievable due to talent, timing, and life (I literally had athletes training for an annual event, that was canceled after 7 years… so they were now never able to reach that goal).
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I am a father, study of human behavior, strategist, cybersecurity veteran, and a coach and mentor on a journey to give more than I receive everyday. I lead teams globally, build products, and daily an executive for a leading company where I serve the largest companies in the world using the largest cloud deployments in the world impacting the financial services, healthcare, and fintech industries. I provide these publications and content through my media agency to deliver insights and advantages. Mindset, mental strength, mentorship, personal improvement, health, fitness, and humanist ideas are drawn from personal research and practice. Everything read and heard is my original works and my own perspective. All rights reserved for noted authors and sources. I produce research and strategy, as well as provide advisory services that include inquiries, briefings, consulting projects, and presentations on published findings as well as bespoke speaking engagements where I often keynote at conferences, seminars, and roundtables annually.