When was the last time you caught yourself thinking really, really BIG?
You know that old question (I think Robert Schuller first asked it): What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? That’s a question that most of us never answer — even in private.
Sure, we might ask the question. But answering it is an entirely different matter.
I know because I like use this question to spark fun dinner conversations. And few people ever have an answer for me.
At least, at first.
But usually, if we have enough time, I’m able to coax a dream or a vision out of someone — under the guise of play.
When we let go of being serious, and move to the realm of play, then we can also let go of Fear.
Fear of choosing. If you say your dream out loud, it can feel like you’re committing to something that you’re not sure you really want. If you say yes to one thing, won’t you be saying no to something else? What if you say no to the thing that you really should’ve said yes to? Holy crap!
Fear of success. Sure, you might enjoy achieving that dream. But what if you don’t like it once you get there? What if it’s not all it was cracked up to be? What then? Have you wasted your life? Have you misspent energy that could’ve been applied to something else more worthy?
Fear of the unknown. What if you say yes to this wonderful vision but you spend untold time and money trying to figure out how to get there? What if it’s dangerous? What if people don’t like you? What if, what if, what if…?
We’ve all got a Comfort Zone
Pushing yourself to think big is really about change. And not all growth means mountains of cash, millions of clients, or even world-wide recognition. For many of us, the growth and change we seek is just on the other side of our comfort zone.
It’s in that place we’ve never been before. Or maybe we’ve only been there in a dream.
So where in the world do you start, if you’ve never answered the question?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Know yourself. Take an inventory of your passions. Really look at what turns you on. Where you enjoy spending your time. And who you enjoy spending time with.
If that’s too hard, come at it from another direction: What couldn’t you live without? What would make your life miserable if you had to give it up? Those are all clues.
Look for the similar threads and see what kind of a picture they make. (If you want some help with this, grab my free workbook, “Your Brand: How to Find the Ingredients for Your Secret Sauce.”)
2. Ask questions. We’ve all been told since day one what’s expected of us. And most of us never question a bit of it.
The American Dream (aka, a real job, a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids) is a collective one. And going after that dream means you’ve got to follow the rules. Rules like, finish college; stay put at that job so you can work your way up; save for a rainy day and a mortgage, and ‘don’t rock the boat.’
And before you can step completely outside your comfort zone, you need to know which rules you’ve been following without question. And then…question them. See if what you’ve been told you should want is what you really do want.
3. Find support. Change is easier when you’re doing it with someone else. Whether that’s making the commitment to walk a mile everyday; or deciding to launch a new program, you’ll get there a heck of a lot faster (and easier) if you’ve got a community of like-minded folks around you, supporting you. The life of a solopreneur can be awfully lonely without the right support.
4. Practice visualizing something new. There’s a story that you may have heard about the Native Americans not being able to see the European ships the first time they encountered them. Presumably, because they’d never seen anything like that before and their minds couldn’t interpret the data from their eyes. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I DO believe in selective attention. Try counting the basketball passes in this video and see what I mean.
The point is that we often don’t see something specifically because we weren’t looking for it. So if you haven’t yet dreamed up a big, hairy audacious goal for yourself, it may be because you haven’t practiced doing it yet. You’re weren’t trying to dream, so you didn’t. Visualization, innovation and creativity are all processes that you can learn. But you won’t ever master these things unless you first practice.
5. Make a plan. You don’t have to get there in 2013. You don’t have to even get there in three years. Or five years. Or ten. The timeline is entirely up to you. The idea is that you figure out what the next step is. And then the next. And then the next.
Sometimes it’s easier to reverse engineer a thing. That is — start from the end and work your way back. Decide on a date that feels right for you and your goal. And ask the question: what needs to happen in order for me to get there?
You may not know the answer — in which case, it’ll be time to do some research. But find the answers! Knowing what you want and how to get there is what we’d call ‘having the plan.’ Implementing — and being open to side trips — is the next step.
6. Action every day. Even if it’s just the tiniest of baby steps, take one every day. You won’t get anywhere unless you move. But as you’re moving, be open to other possibilities. Life doesn’t always unfold the way we plan. Sometimes it’s even better.
So where are you in terms of thinking really big about your business and where you want it to go? Have you dreamed big yet? Or, are you afraid of choosing? Share with us in a comment below. After all, Prosperity’s Kitchen exists to help you get there — no matter where you are in the process right now.