Set Goals That Make You Stretch
The Mars Pathfinder project demonstrates the power of great expectations. This team of people set out to achieve spectacular results, and that very ambition called forth the creativity and commitment their goal required.
The most important aspect of how to begin deals with where you expect to end. So point yourself toward a dramatic destination. Wrap your efforts around a fine cause—some high challenge—knowing you’ll feel a sense of true achievement when you cross the finish line.
Why? Because high aspirations fire the imagination. When we aim our efforts toward something truly special, it stimulates us to think on a completely different scale.
Stretch goals force us to go beyond gradual improvements. Pushed to operate on a completely different level, we have to come up with strategies and techniques that greatly extend our reach. This triggers our competitive spirit, and turns on our creativity.
It’s usually not enough for the goal just to be hard to accomplish. It also needs to be compelling. Dramatic. An emotional turn-on. Then it takes on an element of fun. It becomes sort of a contest or game. The effort that this calls for feels different. It’s not at all easy, but while it’s hard, it’s enjoyable. And we’re hooked by the challenge. This sense of mission touches us on an emotional level, tapping into our own rich pool of creative energy reserves.
Innovation and commitment come more naturally when you aim high, when you’re operating with a clear, singular sense of purpose…with sizzle! Then, even if your dayto-day responsibilities don’t have much pizzazz of their own, you’ll still be spurred to do great things because your efforts are connected to the drama and significance of the larger mission.