Dream Small!…Said no one ever. Three Ass Backwards Things That People Do When Setting Goals.
1. Realistic and Epic Aren’t Friends
What is realistic? Is being a woman in professional baseball a realistic goal? There were plenty of people that said it wasn’t. You wouldn’t believe how many people who are very close to you will try to guide you away from your epic dreams. Just let them. Let them talk, sadly telling you exactly how and why you will not accomplish your goal. Listen quietly and don’t try to argue. Most of them have not ever and will not ever accomplish things as great as you are shooting for. From their viewpoint, what you are doing is in fact, impossible. And standing in their shoes, it seems like a pointless journey. Impossible is a perspective. Everyone’s reality is just a little bit different. My reality is limitless. Your reality is what you make it. Whatever you see as being realistic is exactly what will be. When you are challenged to talk about or write down your goals, write the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t skip over that ridiculous, crazy goal that you only dream about. Be as ‘unrealistic’ as possible. At times I even slip up on this. I make self-limiting statements that I see as being ‘realistic.’ But truthfully, in someone else’s reality, my dream could be a small feat. Therefore, I live not by realism, but by overreaching. In strength and conditioning, we refer to this as general adaptation syndrome, which means, your body can only adapt to what is asked of it. If you are never pushing yourself physically, your body won’t get stronger, faster or more explosive. In a similar fashion, you will never become fearless if you don’t expose yourself to fear. Your mind, heart and soul have to adapt to the feeling of being uncomfortable if you want to achieve something epic. Therefore, the number one thing that people do incorrectly when deciding upon their goals is being ‘realistic.’
2. Strangers don’t kill your dreams
You’ve heard this a million times, but please, if it’s anything that you get out of this blog, get this: DROP THE DEAD WEIGHT. Surround yourself with high performing people and you will be a high performer. Surround yourself with under-achievers and you yourself will also under-achieve. How many times have you been at the local Starbucks when a complete stranger tapped you on the shoulder and said, “Hey, you know that 5 year plan you have? It sucks.” - Oh, no one? Hmm…that’s weird. So, who kills your dreams? Hint: It’s the people with which you actually share your dreams. So, they are probably standing right next to you. It’s your friend, colleague, boyfriend/girlfriend and maybe even parents. It’s the people that ‘care’ about you and just don’t want to see you get hurt when you fail. Ah, that’s nice, isn’t it?
They are protecting you from the fall that you so desperately need to keep going. Because, if you have a big dream that needs crushing, chances are, you aren’t worried about falling and you don’t need to be saved. So, if you are the person with the big dreams, be very careful about your expectation of the responses you are going to get when you have outpouring of excitement about your dream. Be processed oriented, not results based. When you set your goals and tell people about your dreams, you’re not telling them for their approval, but rather for your own practice. You’re reinforcing the fact that you are going to complete them and showing fearlessness by saying them out loud. Whatever the person on the receiving end says back to you is literally irrelevant – and may be considered useless. UNLESS, they are in support of the goal. Then, you know you can utilize them as a driver.
Here’s my point. If you have to dumb down your intelligence, aspirations or overall energy, you are around the wrong people. When you are on a path to something great, you can only take so many people with you. Don’t feel bad about letting go of relationships. People come and go in your life and that doesn’t make any one of them any less important than the others. It just means that they are going to have to take the right fork while you take the left. And trust me, the scenic views at the end of the trail to the left are so much more beautiful.
3. Shout them at the top of your lungs.
Too many people keep goals to themselves. Don’t let naysayers deter you from saying your goals aloud on a regular basis.
When I was in high school, I wanted to play softball at Texas. I wanted to go to school at a large public university in the South. I was obsessed. Did I have the ability? I don’t know, but no one was going to talk me out of it. I begged and pleaded with my parents to let my go to their softball camp so I would have a better chance of getting recruited. I went to their camp and never got a call. I ended up going to Creighton University; A small, private university right in my home town. That could easily be considered ‘embarrassing.’ I told everyone that I was going to Texas. EVERYONE. I wore their gear, I flew to Texas for their camp, I put it on my list of goals that I had to make for my travel ball team. But it never occurred to me that shouting out that huge goal was something that not very many people do. To me, it's more embarrassing to NOT share my goals, than it is to share them and 'fail' after giving it my all. At least I have the courage to dream my ass off and tell everyone around me that I'm going to dream my ass off. That is an accomplishment within itself.
I always told people that I wanted to be a strength and conditioning coach in professional baseball. Always. I never shied away from it. Sometimes I even welcomed the onslaught of negativity that followed. I couldn’t wait to tell them that they were wrong. Beyond giving me a nice laugh, it also served a very important purpose. If you don’t tell people your goals, how are you ever supposed to get there? Of course you can do it all alone, but it’s much easier to have a support system. They can keep you accountable. If everyone keeps asking you if you’ve gotten in to school yet, it puts it in the front of your mind. If you ever feel like backing out, your mentors, friends and family are always there to remind you of why you wanted to do it in the first place. (This is why it is so vital to surround yourself with the right people.) Also, if you are surrounding yourself with the best possible tribe, they may actually help you get where you’re going. I got my first job in baseball because I was recommended to the Cardinals by a strength coach at LSU. If I had never shared my goal of being in baseball, it’s possible that they would have never recommended me.
Being unrealistic is what got me to where I am today and I encourage you to do the same. Realistic and Incredible are rarely in the same sentence.