Traditionally this time of year we set goals for the next 12 months. It’s a fine tradition I guess as long as you realize the nature of goal setting is both empowering and extremely limiting. What I mean is that a goal can act both as a raised platform one climbs to acquire but also as a relatively fixed ceiling that restricts one’s upper limits since we rarely exceed our goals by much. I’d never really thought about this until I listened to Dr. Dick Barnes on a cassette tape in the late 1990s talk about how
“It’s better to shoot for the moon and just miss than to shoot for a cow pie and hit dead center”.
I heard the words but it took me at least another decade to understand what this meant and how to incorporate this wisdom into my life.
When Bridget and I bought our first little practice in 2004, we had the goal of growing that little shop into what was considered a large practice at the time. We did so within months and were left wondering what to do next. What we did was find some new peers who had higher expectations and adopt their way of thinking. At the time, that meant joining the Schulman Study Group and we are certainly grateful for what we learned during our time as members.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I don’t doubt the validity of this assertion as our perspective, perception of what is possible, world view and beliefs are strongly influenced by those around us. This works in a downward direction as hanging around negative people certainly can make you sour and negative but it works even better in an upward direction because seeing is believing and if others are already doing it then it’s probably possible.
Once you know what is possible it’s relatively easy to achieve on a level you believed impossible just hours or days or weeks before!
So, in 2019, rather than setting goals you can easily achieve (most of us set goals we know we can hit since that makes us feel good) why not take a different tact and actively seek out and spend time with people who will stretch your belief structure, your deserve level and your perception of what is possible? It’s not hard to do as long as we check our ego at the door. I’ve found that the most successful people are the nicest and most willing to share insight if we are willing to approach them in the right way and with the right motivations.
I’m fond of saying that I like to be the dumbest and poorest person in the room – and I’m quick to find another room on the rare occasions I discover that’s not the case. Make 2019 the year that you expand what you believe is possible far beyond any goal you’re capable of setting today.