OK, confession. I haven't had a permanent address for over a year, but I am a hard core home tour junkie.
Many years ago I was visiting an old historic house in Texas. It was the kind of setting that takes us back to what we all imagine were simpler times with a slower pace of life. After touring the beautiful interior rooms, I sat on the porch for a moment, admiring the two rows of gorgeous mature oak trees framing the long driveway to the house. I thought to myself, "You know, whoever planted those trees had a very generous soul and a vision that stretched beyond their lifetime".
I had forgotten that experience until recently. I was on a mentor call coordinated by the awesome Circular Board Women Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program, with Neil Murthy, a Houston based serial entrepreneur and angel investor. It was my first week of the CB program and I was feeling a bit in over my head.
At the same time I had just come off of 8 months of solo travel, mostly in Ecuador and Mexico. There had been moments in my travels when I was truly in over my head, and I survived just fine.
I decided, you know what? A phone call with a thoughtful, intelligent person is not that scary.
I asked Neil my "eager startup entrepreneur" question, "What are the top 3 actions or goals I should focus on now, to set the stage for later success and growth?" Doesn't that sound laser focused on the right stuff? Bonus being, I was genuinely interested in the answer! Anything I can do to work smarter, I'm all over it.
His response was everything you hope for in a mentor. He immediately took us to the top of the mountain and leapt off.
Neil said, "Think of it this way: Your biggest goal for your business is the goal that you can’t achieve in your lifetime." He credited Wes Jackson, President of The Land Institute, for planting that seed in his mind. Wes once said, "Your biggest goal is that one that is perpetually on the horizon".
I got chills. I thought YES! Thank you! That is the most freeing advice ever.
The idea is this, as I interpret it. Our Horizon Goals are beyond SMART (specific measurable realistic time based) - the simple fact that they exist beyond our life's horizon refutes SMART planning.
Our Horizon Goals are literally bigger than we are, they are desired outcomes for our ultimate vision - and that free us to do big things, crazy things, take bigger jumps and make bigger sacrifices because they are not constricted by our natural human tendency to limit our vision to our lifespan.
We DO make progress toward our Horizon goal if we work on the path leading to it now. How do we do that? By creating a plan filled with short term SMART goals that take us and the world to a better place.
My friend Alegre Ramos of EmberLiving has a blog, business and speaking career with the mission of educating people about sustainable lifestyles. She will readily tell you that her Horizon Goal (my term) is to save the planet by educating and inspiring people about sustainable lifestyle choices. You can see how it flows through everything she is creating today. She has claimed her Why and her Horizon Goal.
Another dear friend Gary organizes and coaches marathon teams via his organization TeamFX to benefit the local children's shelter in Austin. Over the years they have raised well over $300,000! His Horizon goal? Creating a world free of child abuse and neglect.
My Horizon goal is to save the planet by restoring the balance of feminine and masculine power in the world. Will I be able to do that in my lifetime? Probably not. Do my collaborations with other enterprises and the efforts of the fabulous ClearCEO community have the potential to tip the balance of power during my lifetime horizon?
Damn right we do.
So let's go. Be audacious and ambitious. What is the Horizon Goal in your life and your business, the huge oak tree of the future that is starting from an acorn today? Your Why that gets you up early and keeps you up late?
Share it in the comments below, we would love to cheer you on!
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