Women Need Big, Audacious Goals

Here's the situation this week. Really, it could be any week, but this happened this week.

I'm giving a workshop on creating your personal professional story. Everyone has done their homework and brought their audacious goals. When it's time to share goals, some people want to cure cancer or eradicate a disease. Others want to improve their writing so they can apply for a PhD.

Some have big, audacious goals. Some just have goals.

The pattern I see is that women in science are hesitant to set audacious goals.

They ask me questions like, "isn't it arrogant if I say I want to do something like that?" Another question is, "Am I lying to people if I say that curing cancer is what I'm working on? After all, I probably won't get it done." They worry about not being able to achieve their goal and whether it even makes sense for them to have such a big, crazy goal.

I am so tired of listening to these women sell themselves short.

Ladies, you can dream as big as you dare. In fact, please do! You need to dream big so you can do big and be big!

No one is expecting you to accomplish your big audacious goal all by yourself. You're going to need people and experience and help to get there. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't try to get there.

May I remind you that Bill and Melinda Gates plan to erradicate milaria? Between the two of them they've got one BA in computer science and an MBA. Both Melinda's, by the way. They aren't going to figure it out by themselves. No way. They are going to consult and work with experts. They are going to fund and make choices and lobby.

How about our friend Greta Thunberg? She's out to stop climate change. Would you like to tell her that her goal is too big?

I know researchers who have worked for 30 years or more to cure a disease. They haven't gotten there, yet, but they have made invaluable contributions to their fields.

Big goals inspire huge action. They push us forward. They give us something to work towards. They help us make choices.

Let's say you're dream is to make cancer treatment less painful. One day, you have lunch with a colleague. They're working on a project to cure colon cancer. They want you in on the project. It's a major commitment with potentially huge rewards. But it isn't part of your path or your dream. You want to make cancer treatments less painful.

You thank your colleague for the offer and tell them to let you know when they cure colon cancer. That will be one less treatment for you to worry about.

Another thing about goals: you are not making a life-long commiment when you set a goal. There is no "until death do us part" when it comes to setting personal or professional goals. They are a flag on the horizon. A direction to travel in with all your conviction and energy.

You have permission to move that flag.

You don't like the swamps you have to traverse for this goal? Try the desert. You decide your priorities have changed or you discover you have a real talent for something different? You go do that.

Goal setting is an important tool to motivate you, to keep you moving forward when things are tough. A big goal is important for shaping a story that leads to the future you dream of.

Don't shy away from an audacioius goal.

You are so incredibly capable. You can do more than you think you can. Your dreams are the right ones. You will accomplish more than seems possible today.

Go ahead, set yourself a big, audacious goal. If you aren't sure how to do it, download the big, audacious goal worksheet. It will walk you through the process step-by-step.

This worksheet has helped people discover dreams they'd forgotten and inspired others to start writing books.

Do this. You will not regret it.

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