Dare to Think

We’ve all heard the phrase: think big. Big goals are achieved far more often than small goals. Not because they are easier (they aren’t), but because they matter. In business, we set big goals to get things done.

Small goals are more attainable, comfortable, and achievable. Our ToDo list is created from small goals: return calls, clean out the inbox, write checks, meet with managers and teams. All safe, all attainable, and all within our comfort zone. 

When it comes to goal setting, big goals stretch us and push us past our comfort zone and enable us to do something that we may have thought impossible. 

Set a big goal and you are actually thinking “big commitment, big action.” If that big goal feels uncomfortable and scary, you’re likely to work harder to attain it. A Big Goal achieved makes us work harder, think smarter, and make things happen. 

The ’60s controversial psychologist Timothy Leary (or was it Socrates, 400 BC?) coined the phrase “question authority” as a reminder for us to develop a healthy skepticism of the status quo. In business, it’s a reminder to follow your own path — never blindly follow what someone else says, especially if it’s at odds with your own instincts. Just because someone says something is true doesn’t actually make it true. Learn to discern the difference.

Never make excuses. If everyone used their common sense to make everyday business decisions, the world might be better off. Instead, we often let our fear of failure get in the way. We make excuses why something can’t happen even before it’s had a chance to happen. 

Companies rarely fail for lack of talent or strategic vision. They fail for lack of execution. Instead of daring to think, we make excuses. Some may play the victim card. Others may rationalize why something won’t work and never even hear themselves making excuses. 

As small business owners, we have to decide: no excuses (because a good excuse is still just an excuse).

It takes courage to take responsibility for what happens, to own it, and stay in complete control of our choices. But success, prosperity, doing good for others…it’s all worth it.

There are no mistakes, only lessons. But we can talk more about that another day.