If you're setting safe goals, you're likely missing out on real growth. In this post, I'm sharing why I think you should ditch "safe" goals and set big, hairy, scary goals in your business.
My approach to setting business goals is a little unconventional. I believe you only need to set goals that are “big, hairy, and scary.” In other words, the kind that will scare the bejesus out of you.
Most people go about goal-setting by having three types of goals: “safe,” “stretch,” and “big, hairy, scary.”
That’s where my advice is different. I think it’s better to forget about the “safe” and “stretch” goals and just go for those that are big, hairy, and scary.
It may sound like a crazy thing to do, but I believe that focusing on this type of goal is actually the path to success. Setting scary goals can be one of the most important things you can do to grow your business, and in this post, I’ll share why.
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Setting Big Goals Will Get You Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When you set a scary or “crazy” goal, the only way you could reach it is by taking massive action. This is different from what a lot of people do where they “think safe” so that they have a greater chance of achieving their goal. But this leads to aiming rather low.
If you had this mindset, for example, and the goal is to generate more leads into a quarter, you’re going to look at your current pacing in lead generation and target to increase that by 5 percent. So, if your current pace was generating 300 leads per quarter, this would mean targeting to have 315 new leads.
But with a goal of 315 new leads, do you think you’ll be doing anything differently than what you’ve already been doing? Probably not.
You’re probably going to tweak this and that, but you’re only making minor adjustments. You won’t stretch yourself. You won’t be challenged enough to think about new ways of doing things.
If you want to grow as an entrepreneur and make quantum leaps in your business, you won’t get there by setting goals that you can meet by making little tweaks to what you’re already doing.
The quantum leaps come from being bold and thinking, “I’m going to do something crazy. I’m going to do double this over the next quarter.”
Figuring out how to achieve this will lead to doing things that are fundamentally different from what you’re doing now. This is what will lead to explosive growth.
If you want to grow, you have to be a different person than you are now. If you want a seven-figure business, you have to make quantum leaps in your mindset and all that stuff. Tweaking things around the margins won’t cut it.
Don’t waste your time formulating safe or stretch goals. If you want big growth, you’ll have to get the hell out of your comfort zone, take uncomfortable actions, and set big goals. That’s realistically the only way you’ll be motivated to take the massive action that will lead to business success.
Even If You Miss, You’re Going To Be Better Off
You probably are familiar with that old quotation, “Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’ll be among the stars.” It’s the same concept.
When you set big, hairy, scary goals, even if you miss, you’re going to be better off than if you set a modest goal and achieved it.
Going back to my business leads example, if I’ve been pacing 300 leads a quarter and I set my goal at 315 leads, the chances that I’m going to hit 400 leads will be pretty darn small because I’m not going to be motivated to do much more than what I’ve been doing. Maybe I’ll get to 330 or even 350 new leads, but I’m only going to have modest success.
On the other hand, if I set my goal at 600 new leads so that I’m going to double my current pace of 300, even if I miss, there’s still a pretty good chance that I’m going to hit 450 or maybe 500. That’s a lot better than I would have done if I had just set one of those modest, safe goals.
When you’re setting “safe” goals, you’re setting yourself up to only shoot to get to that safe goal. And the chances that you’re going to exceed it by any large amount are pretty small.
I set “crazy” goals in my business, and I miss them every single time. But the reality is, even though we didn’t hit our goals, we’re making huge strides because the goals are so ridiculously crazy. So even though I’m missing the goals, we’re growing at a remarkable pace.
What I want you to grasp is that the goal should not be the be-all and end-all. The purpose of the goal is to get you off your ass to make the progress you need to do. It’s a means to an end.
Setting that big, crazy goal is going to be the thing that, regardless of whether you hit it or not, is going to give you the best chance at having the most growth possible. Even if you miss, you are still going to have really good results.
You Will Conquer Your Fear of Failure
In my group, we were recently talking about public speaking and how people fear public speaking more than they fear death. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s the reality. I think people are afraid of failing and that other people will see them fail. Many of us entrepreneurs frequently act out of fear in our businesses because we’re afraid to fail.
My advice is this: if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to get over your fear of failure. If you want to have a successful business, you’re going to fail and you’re going to fail a lot.
You’re going to try things that don’t work. You’re going to have promotions that didn’t cut it. You’re going to make offers that the market doesn’t like. You’re going to try things on social that people don’t like. You’re going to do emails that people don’t like.
We could go down the failure list over and over and over again. The sooner you get comfortable with failure and get to the point that you’re willing to fail, the better you’re going to be as an entrepreneur.
I have failed a ton since I started this business. The key to me is that every time I fail, I say, “Oh, okay, that didn’t work. What’s next?”
It wasn’t always like that. In the beginning, I took every failure personally. I’ve since learned to detach from failure. It’s partly because I’ve gotten comfortable failing. And it goes back to that big, hairy, scary goal—the one I realize I may not reach but I’ll go for anyway.
Guess what? The prospect of failing isn’t so bad. Even if you don’t hit your goal, you’re probably going to be better off than if you’d set a modest target.
Setting big, hairy, scary goals is one of the quickest and easiest ways for you to get comfortable with the prospect of failing. And getting comfortable with the prospect of failing is something that will move your business forward more than anything else.
A Note About Setting Goals
Set goals that seem like you have no possible way of reaching. Then do everything in your power to try to reach them. Get out of your comfort zone. Learn how you have to grow as a person. Figure out how your team has to grow.
Find the kind of monumental shifts you need to be making and try your damnedest to reach that goal even though you know the odds are against you. When you do that, you’re going to start making huge strides in your business.
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