NASA photo

You’ve Got to Leave the Launchpad If You Want to Get to the Moon

Instead of thinking about what you want to do this year, think about where you want to be three years from now.

What do you want to accomplish this year? When you step back and look at your list are there any goals that scare you or just seem like a huge stretch?

I’ve got a few of those myself this year. They’re based on some ideas that have been somewhere on the radar screen of my brain the past few years. They were there kind of nibbling at my attention but staying busy doing what I’ve been doing kept me from paying much attention to them. And, honestly, I was OK with that. My work has been fun and fulfilling. Life has been good. Why mess with that or disrupt it?

And, then, as I wrote about last month, Diane, my life and business partner, and I took our annual retreat at the beginning of December to give ourselves space to think. Instead of thinking about what we wanted to do this year, we started with where do we want to be three years from now and then reverse engineered back from that picture to determine what we need to do in 2020. We came out of that weekend with about 13 pages of flip charts, each with its own headline and a bunch of thoughts about things we could do or should do. There was nothing that looked like a plan. It was just pages of ideas which we then put aside as the dash to the year-end finish line and the holidays took over.

But then, during the week of New Year’s Day, we came back to the flip chart pages and started getting more specific and sequenced. And, now, we’ve got a list of 2020 goals that put us on a trajectory to where we want to be in 2023. We have detailed plans for accomplishing those goals and have already taken significant steps on many of them in the past week and a half. Is it scary to stretch like this? Not so much actually. It’s just been a reminder that big goals are achieved by taking small steps. I’m concluding it’s not nearly as scary or energy-draining as having those big goals and not really doing much about them.

And that brings me to the title of this post: You’ve got to leave the launchpad if you want to get to the moon. I thought of that phrase last year in a conversation with a long-time friend and colleague. She’s brilliant, charismatic and a recognized expert in her space. She’s started some amazing programs which have proven to be very successful. And, she’s kind of played those out and it’s time for her next level, one that will lead to her playing an even bigger game that further shares her brilliance with the world. To reach that place, though, she’s got to leave the launchpad that’s brought her so much satisfaction, impact and success.

As does my friend, so do I and so do all of us who have bigger goals in our view. We’ve got to leave the launchpad if we want to get to the moon. My wish for you in 2020 is an exciting, safe and fruitful flight.