During a workshop, a participant asked me if using their audacious goal was honest. As she put it, “If I tell people then I am going to cure cancer am I lying to them?”
The short answer is that it depends on your phrasing and situation. If you tell them you’re going to cure cancer and you’re selling them the cure, then yes, that’s lying. If you tell them your goal is to cure cancer and you’re telling them about the work you’re doing to try to achieve that goal, then no.
Talking about your goal can lead to complicated situations for people who work in fields where they are rightfully cautious about making claims that they cannot back up.
One of the traps we fall into is thinking we need to explain exactly how we are going to achieve our goals. That’s asking so much of ourselves. What we know we’re going to do is keep working towards achieving that goal.
Having a big goal is scary. When we set audacious goals, we know that the chances of achieving them seem small, even non-existent. The obstacles are huge. The work that has to be done is beyond imagination. We lack knowledge and experience. In fact, when we set truly audacious goals, we can end up feeling like we have a goal and little else in our hands.
Instead of thinking about your audacious goal as a promise, think of as a direction. In terms of mindset, setting an audacious goal is all about committing to a growth mindset. You know you aren’t there, but you believe you have the potential to get there. The magic word is ”yet.”
I don’t have the knowledge I need to accomplish my goal, yet.
I don’t have the experience I need to accomplish my goal, yet.
In terms of story structure or personal-professional structure, the goal is the end of the journey. It gives your hero direction after the turning point and it’s what they either accomplish or fail to accomplish at the climax. When the hero accomplishes a goal, they’ve completed most of their journey.
When you tell people that you have an audacious goal, you’re telling them that you are still on your journey. You’re inviting them to join you on that journey and to cheer you on. You might even be giving them an opportunity to be one of the friends or mentors that help you along the way.
If we can reframe our goals this way, then we can get excited about telling people where we’re trying to go and the potential of enlisting them to join in the journey. We can be curious about what role each person we meet play on that journey. We can wonder how each challenge will bring us closer to accomplishing our goal.
I don’t know about you, but this kind of thinking is so exciting for me. It’s empowering. It turns that goal from something intimidating into an invitation to a party I want to attend – and bring friends to.
Here’s the thing, if you can think about your goal that way, then you can talk about it that way. way but I can talk about it with the same enthusiasm. And you better bet that if you can talk about your goal with that kind of energy, other people will want to join you on the trip.
So, what do you think – are you ready to tell people about your goal now? Tell us in the comments, who are you going to tell first?!