You’re the sort of person who doesn’t set piddly little goals. No, no. You chase fat, behemoth, stonking great, mamma-of-all-megaladon goals. When your goals go by, water reverberates in puddles. I like that about you.
And I’d like to help you to take your ambition one step further.
It requires bravery and vision to decide that you want to add an extra zero to your income, or radically change your rankings in the industry in which you operate, or conquer the world in some shape or form.
But now that you’ve exhibited the bravery and made the decision, do you know what to do next? Sometimes we flounder with the practicality of these decisions. We know we want to, but the first step feels a bit like trying to grab a fistful of mist. How do you start, gain a foothold, or begin to access this amorphous blob of an ambition?
Here are some practical starting points for you. Use the following mental nudges to get going:
1. Are you ‘merely’ emulating the best in your group?
Whether it’s your peers, a support group, or some sort of professional society, groups of like-minded people are extremely good for you when you’re starting out. They teach you the norms, the ropes and the tricks of the trade. They shorten your learning curve.
But in your quest to go above and beyond, groups of this nature can actually be a hindrance. They provide a level of thinking; a sort of mental atmosphere; which can have a normatizing effect on your thinking.
As a salesperson, for instance, are you limiting your performance to the median average of your peers? Or merely trying to outdo them, rather than thinking much bigger? As an entrepreneur, are you happy to do as well as your friends are doing?
Are you ‘merely’ emulating the best practitioners in your immediate group? That’s dangerous. You need to think in far more spectacular terms, or you will simply merge into the group and sink into its marshy momentum. Be grateful for what they’ve taught you. And then move beyond.
2. What does the international pinnacle actually look like?
In the same way that we tend to observe the group around us, and allow that to create our norm, we also observe the leading lights in our nation and hope to emulate them.
That’s also a bad call. If the limits of your thinking are to copy the best locally, the most you can hope for is to become a pale imitation of, in a certain region.
To think much, much bigger, ask yourself what the daily norm of the world leaders in your sphere looks like? How big can this thing of yours really get? At its utmost level on earth, among the highest performers of humanity; what do they do each day? Could you do the same? Or, better still, more? Bigger?
3. Why think so regionally?
Is your plan to conquer the local industry? Why? In our internet and air-travel age, why on earth would you think so small?
In order to further my own career as a speaker, I once made a point of meeting with a local speakers agency. While I was there, a call came in to their offices from international speaker John Demartini. Demartini is a highly successful American speaker, who now travels all around the world. And yet, that day, his offices were taking the time and trouble to make an introductory call to a bureau in Southern Africa.
So what, it made me think, was stopping me from introducing myself to bureaus in America, and indeed, all around the world? The answer is simple: Scale of thinking. It hadn’t occurred to me to think that big. I had listed all the local agencies, and targeted them. Who handed me this mental limitation? Why was I thinking so small? Do you have similar barriers?
4. Are you both production and sales?
By way of an analogy, let’s say that you are a humble bead-maker in a small village. I applaud your entrepreneurial mindset, and well done on being proactive enough to start a small business.
But are you personally selling your beads? If so, you have placed an absolute limit on how big you can ever become. What if you got someone else to sell your beads while you created them? What if you got teams of people to do so? And what if you stopped making them yourself, and got teams of people to make them, so that other teams of people could sell them? How about new teams in adjacent nations?
Don’t be the restaurant owner who also cooks in his own kitchen. Rather be the owner of a chain of restaurants. Think bigger than what your own individual time and energy can accomplish. Scale up. Go huge.
5. How big are the very biggest numbers?
How big can this all get for you? Quite often, it is possible to discover what the real numbers are. For instance, you might be able to learn how many assignments the world’s best are doing per annum. Or what they’re being paid. Or how much they are producing. Or how many hours of input they demand of themselves. Or how many employees they have, etc., etc.
Schwarzenegger famously found out how much weight, and how many reps and sets the world’s top bodybuilders were putting in, in order to do more than them. Can you discover the metrics for your goal?
There is a wonderful psychological advantage to discovering the actual numbers. They may be massive, but they are nevertheless finite. It’s like setting out to climb Mount Everest and learning that it will take x number of steps. The number may be preposterously high. But it’s a number. And once you know it, you can start wrapping your head around it. You can start to pursue a measurable known.
6. In the case of massive success, what resources will you need?
If you think on this sort of scale, and if you get up and chase after it each day, well, by golly, there’s a good chance you might actually surprise your poor, dear mother, and succeed! So are you ready?
It’s a useful exercise to ask yourself what that final picture looks like, and what resources you will need in order to live that way. Could you handle it right now? Or would it mean that you would need a team of support staff? More space, more money, more equipment, better organisation?
You may even want to use this dynamic in reverse: Rather than getting there, and then organizing the resources, you may choose to start organizing the resources so that you can get there.
Audacity is the hallmark of the awesome individual. Here’s hoping you will experience that magical day when you look back and say, “I can’t believe I actually did it!” Scale up your thinking and go!
Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker and author who encourages people to think. He speaks on Expert Positioning and the misunderstood link between work and wealth. He is a 5x winner of the SA Championships for Public Speaking and the author of three books. See him in action or read more of his articles at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter: @douglaskruger.