April 1, 2011

There Are No Limits

Day 91: 25.1 miles/1:30

“Why put on a limit on your dreams?”

Before this morning’s ride I was sharing with Brandon some of the crazier ideas I had for the first next 100 days after I finish the 100 Pedals commitment.   The ideas ranged from light-hearted to deep.  When I shared with him a financial goal that I was focusing on (note, I am not a big believer in financial goals for financial goals sake), Brandon’s response was reserved. He said something like, “I don’t know, why go after something that you have no control over?”  Knowing his situation and his perspective on goals and accomplishment, I understood some of his reticence about setting high expectations for anything.

While riding, I started thinking about how many people approach the goal setting process by limiting it to what they believe they can safely, potentially achieve as opposed to creating a stretch goal that has some risk of failure.  This is where I found myself asking outloud, “why put a limit on your dreams?”

I have a good friend, Nicole Bandes, who wrote in her blog recently, “BHAG’s are BS.”  (BHAG = Big Hairy Audacious Goals).  In some respects I agree with her.  Like the financial goal, BHAG’s have a tendency to be more obnoxious and grandiose than noble and incredible.  Setting these are more about material or egotistical gain and, because they are minus serving a real purpose, they are not all that exciting for others.  Hence, the journey becomes a hard drive for the dreamer and usually is more work than they are worth.  For that reason, I am not a big believer in BHAG’s for the sake of having one.

I do believe in stretch and challenging goals.  The beauty of having a goal is as much the challenge as it is the fulfillment.  When you set an easily achievable goal, the accomplishment of the goal is celebrated.  However, what have you learned, where was the real challenge, and what did you discover about yourself and adversity.  Stretch goals involve risk, tests, learning opportunities, and the potential to inspire and teach others.  Setting a challenging goal need not be a terrifying experience to the point where the fear of failure prevents you from moving at all.

A challenging goal is one that does not limit the potential to do some incredible while putting you in some position where the prospect of failure is a real one.  If realize our dreams and celebrating accomplishment was easy, we would all be doing end zone dances on a regular basis.  The reason we don’t is that often we are not clear on what we want to accomplish and realizing those dreams involve risk, focus, commitment and work.  Avoid limiting your dreams because you are afraid to fail.  Go after what you want and do something every day to make certain you are making progress.  If you never stop, you never quit, and you focus on moving and learning, any goal can and will be achievable.

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.