Last week Fred and I attended the Leadership Conference for the Philadelphia chapter of NAWBO. Besides the beautiful setting in the Pyramid Club and the incredibly gracious welcome we received, what struck me most – literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up – was hearing the answers one panel of women gave to the question, “What has been your biggest challenge in building your business?”
All four women on the panel gave some version of the same answer: “My biggest challenge was thinking too small.” As I listened to each one explain their particular example, I had deja vu. This was the exact same issue I have noticed repeatedly in my accelerator groups.
Just last week, one member gave her update. She explained the different lines of business she had identified and had begun cultivating – and there were many! When she finished, I asked her, “Where are you going to be revenue-wise in three years?”
She replied with a number so small that I knew she could achieve it half asleep with both hands tied behind her back. In my very subtle way, I said, “Are you kidding? You just spent 30 minutes telling us how much opportunity you’ve identified and how easy it’s been to start building business! Don’t you think you could aim higher?”
She grinned, knowing that she had been called out, and agreed that yes, her target should be significantly higher.
So the question I have is why do we do this to ourselves? When all data and experience point in the direction of major growth, why are we not allowing ourselves to dream big?
Another woman in a different group, but with the exact same problem, shed a little light on her thinking for me. She explained, “If I don’t aim high but I beat that goal, I don’t feel bad. But if I aim high and don’t quite get there, I’ll feel like I let myself down.”
It wasn’t until she verbalized it that she realized how limiting this way of thinking can be. Getting 90% of the way to a big goal is so far ahead of reaching 100% of a little goal.
I hereby give you permission to dream big. Set that goal, make a plan, and go for it.