The Difference Between Dreams and Goals

Something special in July

Swiss World Champion and current Tour de France yellow jersey wearer (awarded to the leader of the race after each stage), Fabian Cancellara responded to a question about his chances of winning the three-week stage race, “I’ve already said many times about the Tour that winning it is a dream and not a goal.  Those are two different things.  That’s why winning the Tour will always remain a dream for me.  I won’t work for a dream.  I have goals and there are some big classic races that I still want to win, and those goals are possible.’  It is essential to maintain clarity about one’s desired destination otherwise every intersection requires a pause or a full stop to evaluate the options and in the sport of cycling this would mean never winning a race.  

Do you have clarity about the outcome you have selected?  Are you focused and committed to reach it?  If not, then a few days in ta yellow jersey may offer a temptation to change the destination.  Exchanging the greater goal for immediate success and victory eliminates some unknowns and reduces fear of failure.  Why not take the champagne and flowers awarded to the winner?  This does not mean abandoning opportunities that present themselves in the course of pursuing the great goal.  Cancellara is going to defend the yellow jersey as best he can but he is realistic about the type of training and focus it would take to be a true contender in the Tour.  When the race reaches the mountains tomorrow there is good chance the maillot jaune will slip from his shoulders but it will have been in pursuit of something greater.

Are you pursing dreams or goals?

If There Were No Fences

If there were no fences in a baseball outfield, would it change how a batter swings?  If you could not hit one out of the park would it change the game?  The thrill and spectacle of a home run is an easy achievement to focus on and celebrate.  Just watch an ESPN highlight.  Does a fence in the outfield add to the game of baseball?  Does having a boundary change how we execute on a daily basis?

The mind, once expanded to the dimension of bigger ideas, never returns to its original size- Oliver Wendell Holmes

A new year provides a platform full of possibilities, new paths to explore and ideas to expand the mind.  The simple act of moving to a new page on a calendar and the psychology of putting last year’s events and memories down at the New Year’s threshold can be refreshing.  Allowing momentum from last year’s successes to cascade into the unexplored frontier that greets us today can be a compelling outpost from which to launch our explorations.  The opportunity to refine purpose, confirm values, alter ones brand, and set macro goals is exhilarating.  Subtle shifts that open new viewpoints may be equally as monumental as whole sale changes.

In reviewing my consulting work from the past few years, I realize that I am at my best when I act as a strategist.  To assess the goals and opportunities selected by an enterprise and consider alternative approaches and perspectives is part of my purpose in life.  Attracting and amplifying the best ideas is what engages and energizes my daily activity.  Assembling resources and customizing methodologies from other sectors is part of the value I enjoy delivering for clients.   For 2011, I am committing to my role as a strategist and allow facilitation to take a secondary role.  Step one of any significant goal is to find an immediate actionable step (micro goal) that can build momentum and serve as a starting point for the voyage.  Posting ones goal publicly and being held accountable by your tribe or community is a part of an authentic relationship.  I look forward to sharing my progress and goals in the coming months.

What journey are you committed to for 2011?

Summer Wish List

I put a poster sized piece of post-it note paper on the dinning room table in May and I asked the members of our family to write down the activities or events they wished to experience during the summer.  Using smaller post-it notes everyone wrote, drew, or created symbols of their dream summer activities.  At the end of the evening we hung it on the wall in our office.  As we have accomplished each one we take the representative post-it down.  We know that due to time, budget, schedules and other contingencies that not all of them would be achievable but it inspires us daily.  It is hard to say we are bored when there are many dynamic ideas sitting on our dream list.

What would this look like if you had your board members, volunteers, and staff post their goals?  It might reveal some unique and surprising opportunities.  It also presents some tremendous insights and group accomplishments.