"Don’t think so big that you can’t start small."

That was some advice I shared in a chat with a friend today. I was not trying to dissuade him from having lofty goals – not at all.

But I’ve known a lot of people in my life, and met some of them through consulting, that think so big they can never get started.  They think in such grandiose fashion that they never get off the ground.  The goal seems so large that they can’t imagine trying to reach it.  It seems impossible, so they quit.

I went through this myself once, in one of my near-drowning experiences.  I decided not to try and swim for the shore, but to swim half way.  And every time I got half way, I would go half way again.  Eventually I reached the shore. But if I had started with my only goal being to swim to shore I doubt I would have made it.  My body, or my will-power, would have given up.

By setting reachable goals the objective is always within reach.

My Uncle Lyle used to tell me to “Think big and work small”.  That was when we were doing roofing together.  I guess the lesson “stuck”.  I set goals that aren’t easy, but they are do-able.  And each series of goals leads to a larger accomplishment.

And each small step that I make – every time I swim “half way” – I get a feeling of accomplishment.  I get the extra adrenaline kick I need to swim “the next half way”.