I’ve used positive self-talk my whole career, liking the adjective “exceptional.” What a “pump-up” word. Old affirmations I said over and over, with enthusiasm—I’m an exceptional salesman. I’m an exceptional presenter. I’m an exceptional coach. Why not use that same “pump” word for goals?
What are exceptional goals? Goals that stretch us. They’re big and hairy, even scary. They’re harder to believe. They ain’t run-of-the-mill, anybody-can goals. They drive us, push us, excite us. They force us to be a better person—the person we need to become to achieve them.
They focus us in a way normally unimaginable. They excite us enough to push us past our usual effort. They keep us going when the going gets nasty. They make us think big, live big, do big. They must be written. As an early mentor told me: “Bruce, if you don’t write them down, you’re not serious. If you’re serious, that proves it.”
They’re not easy, so we need to keep them in our face, top of mind, at the ready. Drive them deep and keep them fresh, all-in. Exceptional business goals are big, hairy, I’m-not-sure-I-can goals. Not some boring, everybody-else-can-too goals. Exciting, get-the-juices-flowing goals. They’re exceptional goals: If they make you stretch; if they force you to focus, almost obsess; if they keep you totally engaged; if they’re scarier than most; if they’re written down.
Exceptional goals are achieved by us mere mortals. To begin, create them in your mind. Next, write them down. Then, take action toward your goal every day. My greatest exceptional goal is—I change 80 million people’s lives for the better, here and hereafter. I set that goal a long time ago, well before I had any idea of how I would do it. Now I know how. I’m convinced that the worldwide web was created just for me! I’m still working on my most exceptional goal. I’m still excited by it, still committed to it, more “pumped” than ever. I’m getting closer and closer.
Be exceptional! Live an exceptional life. Stop setting goals! Set exceptional goals!