How I Learned to Set Truly Big Goals From My 7-Year-Old

Walt Disney has a famous quotation: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” It sounds good, but do you really believe it? For years, frankly, I was on the fence.

Like many of us, I learned about goal-setting early in my career. However, it was only a few years ago that I experienced firsthand the true power of dreaming big. It came at the hands of someone quite small.

My daughter was seven at the time. She loved to play catch, and I did also. The object we threw did not matter: a tennis ball, football, or any ball for that matter. It was the challenge of consecutive catches that mattered very much to her.

There was always the same goal, and only one goal, when we played catch: to break the existing records for consecutive catches.

I remember one day when my focused little daughter said, “Dad, let’s try for 100 in a row.” Since our best at that point was 50, I politely chuckled and said, “Sure, honey.” And guess what, after a few attempts, we did it.

So, the next day she said, “Dad let’s go for 300 in a row.” Well, my daughter was learning about thinking big, but I still had a lot to learn. I thought to myself, “Gee, we just hit 100. Why not try 125 or maybe 150 in a row? But 300?” Of course, out loud I responded with another uneasy chuckle and a “Sure, honey.”

You guessed it. It was only a few days later that we hit 300 catches in a row. I was really impressed and quite content. My daughter was neither impressed nor content, and she was also a lot smarter than me. She said, “Dad, let’s go for 500 now!”

And I thought to myself, “You have GOT to be kidding!” Sure enough, that very same day, we caught 500 throws in a row. You’d think I would be a believer by now, but when her sparkling eyes looked at me and said, “Dad, let’s go for 1,000 in a row!”

I am embarrassed to admit that my internal response was the same.

Less than 24 hours later we hit our record– 1,017 catches in a row!

Our record was over 10 times bigger that I had originally thought we could achieve. Thanks to my 7-year-old daughter, I have finally learned to set BIG goals.

You are only as big and successful as your goals.

So, ask yourself:

1. What is an important goal my team is working toward right now?

2. What is stopping me from increasing it?

Think BIG.

LEE COLAN is founder of The L Group, a consulting firm that equips and inspires leaders at every level. He is a leadership adviser and presenter of practical ideas, and a Thinkers 50 nominee for Top Management Thinker of 2013. Colan has also written 12 books, including the best-selling Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees. His latest book is Stick With It: Mastering the Art of Adherence.
@LeeColan

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