How high did you set the bar for your life? Is it Elon Musk high or Average Joe high? Read on to see why you need to set high goals for yourself.
I’ll start off with my favorite Steve Jobs anecdote. Love him or hate him, he wasn’t a dull figure or a dull business leader.
When the engineers came to Steve Jobs with the first prototype of the iPod, which was already quite small and groundbreaking, they were sizzling with pride and accomplishment.
Well, Jobs wanted to make it even smaller. You can probably imagine their faces. But there was more to come.
Jobs reportedly threw the iPod into a fish tank to the horror of the engineers and pointed to the bubbles coming from it and said; “There’s space. Shrink it.”
Talk about a dick move. These types of situations either break employees or inspire them to make the “unimaginable”.
Jobs set the bar for Apple employees sky-high believing they can be achieved and pushing everyone to their limits.
Of course, they did manage to shrink the iPod even further and it became a bestseller.
If It Ain’t Big And Hairy, It Ain’t Worth It
Steve Jobs set quite high goals for himself too. In fact, his BHAG was famously “I want to put a dent in the universe.”
I want to put a dent in the universeSteve Jobs
BHAGs (bee-hags) are Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
They are long term goals that are sentence or two long and are easily understood. There’s no need for a two-page explainer.
Examples of BHAGs include:
- to land a man on the moon
- to develop a nuclear weapon
- to become a skilled brain surgeon
- to be a New York bestselling author
- to give the world a cure for breast cancer
As you can see, companies and individuals alike can and do set goals that are outrageous. These goals can unify thousands of people and make them work as hard as they can.
You can read more about BHAGs in my article Your Killer BHAG – Easy Ways To Supercharge Your Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
Your goal, of course, doesn’t have to be world-changing or noble. It just has to be high enough to kick you out of your boots. If you tell people what your goal is and they look at you in horror, good job! That’s the look you’re going for.
Motivate Yourself And Others
There are many visionaries and industry leaders that set ridiculously high goals. You might love them or hate them, but not a day goes by that Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos are not in the news. Both of them started humble and bootstrapped themselves and their companies to world fame and economic powerhouses.
If you’re 16 or 36 or 56, you should have clear goals for the rest of your life. They might and indeed should change as you progress through life.
Think of the people you look up to. Why are you looking up to them in particular? Do you know their backstory and how they achieved what they achieved? Can you emulate what they did?
Their success may look like an overnight success, but for most of the people, it’s good old hard work.
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.Pele
As the people you look up to inspire you, so will your success inspire others. It doesn’t have to be thousands of people. It is enough to touch just one life and play a role in their upbringing and their success.
If you can be a mentor to a single person and motivate them to do great things, you’ve done enough.
An overarching goal that goes to sleep with you at night and wakes up with you in the morning is what you need. Outline the steps you need to do to achieve that goal and go into the execution phase.
HARD Goals Make Hard People
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, but have you heard of HARD goals?
While SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound, HARD stands for Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult.
It is a concept developed by Mark Murphy, in his 2009 book Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your Employees to Give It Their All, and They’ll Give You Even More and is not only business and employee related, but can be transformed into personal life as well.
Murphy believes that HARD goals make people stronger, more courageous, and more confident to go after bigger and better things.
In a nutshell, I’ll explain each letter of the acronym;
- Heartfelt – we need to see if there is a deep desire to achieve the goal and what the reasons are
- Animated – it forces people to visualize where they are and what they are doing – now and in the future.
- Required – we have to show that even the long term goals have a sense of urgency
- Difficult – what skills we have and what skills are needed
You can read more about HARD goals in my article Employee Goals – Make ’em Hard.
High Goals Push You Out Of Your Comfort Zone
You’re probably basking in it right now. That warm whirlpool that sucks you back in every time you try to do something meaningful.
“Life is for living, not merely existing”
That’s right if you want to make a name out of yourself, you have to take a step and not look back into the comfy zone. I know, I know. It’s so alluring not to challenge yourself. I’ve been there.
Once you step out of, I call it, “the danger zone”, you will feel empowered. The goal has to be high enough and meaningful enough so you don’t slip back.
You’ll need to remind yourself why you are doing this. Comfort zone is for suckers. It’s for ordinary folk that isn’t destined for greatness like you are.
If it were easy, everyone would do it.
You know what the go-getters are doing while most of the people are watching Netflix? They read books or industry whitepapers, they network (if not in real life then at least on LinkedIn), they do charity work (still networking).
I don’t have to explain this to you. The point is they are doing what 90% of people don’t want to do. They’re not doing it because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.
And that’s what high goals do to you. They make you a different person with a different mindset. It’s a philosophy that changes you from the ground up.
High Goals Make You More Creative
If someone told me a few years ago that I will make a living writing, I’d call them looney tunes. I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person. Website building, graphic design, Photoshop – those were all terms that I wouldn’t touch with a stick before.
Now they are my comfort zone and I have to push myself again and step out and step up into other fields.
Fields that will yank that creativity bone I have inside me, that everyone has inside them, and challenge me to do more things that inspire myself and other people around the Globe.
That is right, you’ll be influencing people on the other side of the world if you dare to make high goals.
Read personal mission statements from famous people like Sir Richard Branson, that will inspire you to craft your own – Personal Mission Statement Examples.
Yet again I ask you – how high is the bar for your life set?
Would the late Steve Jobs throw your high goal into an aquarium and send you back to the drawing board?
Probably 🙂 But that’s because he was presumably never satisfied. And neither should you. You know what’s on top of a mountain? A higher mountain.
Steve Jobs was a notorious goal setter. The long-term goals gave him direction. But the short-term goals and the milestones helped him to stay on track in the near term, making his vision into a reality. By setting short-goals, even daily goals, we can all stay on track towards those long-term high goals that seem so far out.
Inspirational Goal Setting Quotes
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
“Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.”
Kallam Anji Reddy
“The height of my goals will not hold me in awe, though I may stumble often before they are reached.”
“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.”