If you haven’t read my post about creating an ultimate goal in life, please do that first. It may help explain where I’m going with this.
Small, vague goals don’t work for me. I’ve watched what happens when organizations or people set specific goals that are bold and it does something special to them. When JFK declared to the world that we would land a man on the moon, it captured the attention and imagination of billions of people.
With focus, pride, and hope, a nation poured its passion into a project that just a few years before would have been seemingly impossible. In doing so, we not only inspired generations of young children, but also invented many things we use today.
By setting the bar so high, we became better for it. It defined us as leaders, inventors, and pioneers.
When challenging NASA to land a person on Mars, President Obama called the moon landing “…an endeavor that pushed the boundaries of our knowledge, of our technological prowess, of our very capacity as human beings to solve problems.”
I only get one life, so for my one goal, I needed to choose something big…something that would inspire me, push my boundaries, and lift me up to be a better person.
Here goes nothing…
My ultimate goal in life is to give away a billion dollars.
I have this deep desire to use my life to make a big difference for other people and I think a billion dollars put towards some amazing causes ought to do it.
Some of my closest advisers think I’m losing it. They gently remind me that a billion dollars is a LOT of money since I started from nothing and just took a beating in this economy. It’s hard to disagree with them, but after wrestling with this one I just can’t shoot any lower or I’ll lose my inspiration.
Since I hear some snickers from the back of the room, let me explain. Here are five reasons why I choose the “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting approach and this goal in particular:
1) It explains who I am
My ultimate goal serves as a personal brand promise. It says that I believe in something bigger than myself and that I like an epic challenge (also that I’m a little nuts).
It’s clear that I like to dream big dreams and chase them down. When partnering with me, I’d like people to know that I’m chasing something bigger than myself.
I’m not driven out of selfish ambition. I’m giving my life for others.
2) It’s big enough to capture my imagination and dedicate my entire life to it
I need a big enough challenge to keep my attention and drive me forward. This goal will most likely be the thing I chase until my last breath, giving me plenty of time to focus, strategize, and build towards it. No changing gears, message, or personal brand. This goal keeps it simple and focused. This is it. My whole life is on the line.
Will I fail?
3) If I fail, I will still make a difference
I believe that life is about the journey, not just the destination. If I’m going on a journey, I want to be traveling towards something amazing. It makes the hard parts easier.
Also, I don’t like to fail, but if I only give away $700 Million there will still be lots to celebrate. One cannot have a focused ultimate life goal like this and not have other achievements along the way. When people are pushed to be their best, good things happen well before the final goal is reached.
4) It is motivating
I used to be the development director of an inner city school in Milwaukee and we were able to raise about $2 Million and build a school that changed the world for hundreds of kids. Some of those kids are headed to college now. That experience changed me. It feels good to give, and it feels great to make a difference in the lives of others. It gives profit a new meaning.
5) I’m able to include others
I cannot do it alone. I will need others to join me, so I’m going to start a foundation and gifts from others will count towards my goal. My wife, kids, family, friends, and others who care about this goal will be able to take part in changing tens of thousands of lives. If I achieve my goal, it means others have too. I’ve always believed in teamwork and I can’t wait to travel down this road with others.
It begins now.
Let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m going to need all the help I can get.
Have a great night,
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