The Power of Thinking Big
It has often been said that bigger is not always better. That may be true when considering automobiles and the current price of gas, but it is never true when it comes to new ideas or personal dreams where thinking big is always better.
Let me illustrate. Think back to when you were a child. Perhaps you dreamed that one day you would grow up, get married, and have children. A nice dream, right? And many of you have likely achieved some version of that dream. But what if you had dreamed instead that you would grow up and marry a billionaire? Sounds crazy, right?
It wasn’t for Caroline Bessette Kennedy, the late wife of John F. Kennedy, Jr. While growing up she dreamed of marrying a billionaire. The result? She landed one of America’s most eligible bachelors who also happened to be a millionaire to boot. Some of you are probably saying, “That may be true, but look at the tragedy that befell them.” My response: at least she died living her dream. That’s the power of thinking big.
In my survey last month, I asked my readers to share their opinions on the power of thinking big. Seventy-five percent of respondents agreed that they don’t think big enough about their work or business, and of those that do have big dreams, 75% of respondents indicated that they lack the follow-through in order to make them happen. Further, over 85% of respondents noted that they don’t know where to start or what steps to take to make them happen.
According to Kathy Gillen, an executive coach who helps successful entrepreneurs become dynamic leaders, in order to think big, you need to ” remove the ‘heebie-jeebies’ about stepping forward and doing what is uncomfortable.” How can we do that? Gillen recommends a simple technique. She says, “Change your focus from your internal fears (“I might make a mistake or look stupid”), to an external focus (“I’m making a huge contribution!”) It’s that simple.”
When working with clients, I always suggest that they do the following:
1. Write down all of your big ideas/ dreams. Say them out loud. Share them with a trusted friend or advisor.
2. Visualize yourself successfully bringing your idea or dream to life. What will you look like? How will you feel? Where will you be?
3. Establish goals for how you will go about achieving them. Make them “SMART” goals and you will be more likely to achieve them. (Click here for more information about setting goals.)
4. Determine what action steps will help move you forward. List them and include a target start date, target end date, and resources for completing them.
5. Select one action step and do it today! Here are some additional tips for thinking big: Don’t seek validation from others (they may not always agree with you or support you). Do seek out and create a support infrastructure (role model, coach, other big thinkers) to support your ideas and dreams and to help you craft and implement your plan of action. Do take risks and step out of your comfort zone. People who are comfortable taking risks typically experience increased autonomy, heightened self-esteem, a more positive attitude toward life and an increased sense of personal power. The positive outcomes of thinking big and taking risks far outweigh any discomfort or fear you may have.
When it comes to thinking big, remember the words of Mother Theresa, “The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind. Think big anyway.” So, what are you waiting for?