Dream Big, Plan Small

I had a poster on my wall in college that said “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

It’s really kind of a silly idea if you think about it realistically: shoot for the moon, miss and die out in the cold void of space but as a metaphor I found it incredibly inspirational.

I’ve written several posts on this blog about the importance of setting realistic goals. I strongly believe that, especially when you’re starting something new, it can be incredibly valuable to start stupid small. Find a bar that you know you can hit with some effort and increase your difficulty from there.

But, hand-in-hand with simple, achieveable and realistic goals, it’s important to have a great big hairy audacious vision. Dream BIG but plan small.

Art by Valentine Barker

As a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. A lot of kids say they want to be an astronaut or a paleontologist or a marine biologist but I was serious. For example: in middle school, we had to do a project where we chose a career and essentially simulated all the salary and expenses etc. for that career. The career I chose is the career I have today: aerospace engineering. That lofty dream of being a mission specialist on a space mission pushed me through high school and college and helped me earn a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and establish a successful career in aerospace. And so, even though I never became an astronaut, having that audacious dream motivated me through the difficulties along the way.

Many of us don’t allow ourselves to dream big, especially as adults. Self-doubt and the fear of failure hold us back from letting our imaginations run free. We take ourselves out of the game before it even has a chance to start.

Having that big, hairy audacious dream is like having a North Star to help you navigate. You can see the way you want to go, high up in the sky and, using your SMART goals, you can set your sails and navigate in the direction of your dreams.

I don’t believe in things like the Law of Attraction but I have seen in my own life and in the lives of so many others that if you want something and let yourself dream about it and visualize it, you are much more likely to get there. You’ll never get to a place that you won’t let yourself think about so let yourself dream! Let your mind find your greatest, wildest dreams and do what you can to really visualize them. You can use a vision board, a journal or even just speak them out into the world. Claim your dreams and then get to work, pushing yourself toward them.

And so, I ask you: what are you big audacious dreams? What is your moon shot?

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