I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told this in my life.
Thing big. You’re not thinking big enough.
Like my big thinking is getting even bigger and it’s still inadequate, making it pretty much on par with my previous level of mediocre thinking.
Way to go thinking — FAIL.
It took me a long time to realize it, but thinking big is the thing that’s fucked me the most in my life.
So today’s hard truth is about thinking big and why it’s fucking you big time.
The Good Intentions
There are plenty of good intentions behind encouraging someone to think big. First off, there’s the power of shattering limits. Taking “no” out of one’s vocabulary and replacing it with “what if.” Both awesome things.
Then there’s the fostering and nurturing of dreams — you know, those things we all had before we became too busy being adults. Dreams are where we escape to when adult shit gets hard (read: ALL THE DAYS). Encouraging someone — and ourselves — to think big gives dreams a place to grow because another hard truth is that the shit we can dream up is generally way more amazing than the adult shit we have to deal with every day.
The Problem with those Good Intentions
But the flat-out problem with those good intentions behind thinking big is that they’re designed to fuck us.
No lube. And not even a quick wham-bam and you’re back to making sugar cookies in the kitchen before the kids come home from Robby’s house kind of fucking.
No. It’s a slow fucking. Still no lube. Because the shit we can dream up while thinking big and the shit we’re able to accomplish each day are two vastly different things.
See, I can dream up being an in-demand, award-winning actor who makes her home in New York.
I can dream up having a personal brand followed, loved, and shared by millions.
I can dream up creating a course that’s a bestseller and gives me the kind of passive income I’ve always wanted so I can travel the world.
But the bitch of it is that I have no idea how to accomplish those BIG THINGS.
Each day I wake up and look at the result of my big thinking and think, “Well, shit. I’m still not there. I’ve been at this for days/weeks/months/years and I’m still not there. This shit is never going to happen.”
And that right there is thinking big fucking your big time.
And I can tell you that every client I speak to in a Buy Me Coffee session is currently pants down/skirt up, bent over their big thinking.
The KNOW what they want.
They just don’t know how to get there.
Dear lord in heaven don’t I know how this feels. Because thinking big isn’t going to get us anywhere.
We have to think smaller.
I’m not telling you to stop dreaming. But here’s a good place to tell you how I feel about the word “dreams.”
I think it’s bullshit and needs to be dropped from your vocabulary. Stat.
Why? Because we’re taught that dreams are something that happen in our noggins. They’re imaginary. Unattainable.
So I replace the word “dreams” with “wants.” What are my wants?
Suddenly, they’re within reach, thanks to a little game of semantics. Undoing the head fuckery does wonders for getting shit done.
Now that you wants instead of dreams, you can ask a better question:
What can I do to get one step closer to my wants today?
The big goal is out there, but now you’re thinking small.
It’s like when a basket of sweet potato fries arrives at your table as an appetizer. First, let’s talk about how dumb it was to order a basket of sweet potato fries as an appetizer, knowing full well you were going to inhale the entire thing like a coked-up frat guy in a double popped collar in 1986 (this douche).
The bottom line is that you annihilated that basket of fries, fry by little fry.
That’s what your wants NEED — your annihilation of an associated to-do list, fry by little fucking fry.
Now, instead of going to bed each night depressed because those dreams are never going to happen and you’re no closer to achieving them than you were however long ago…
You’re 38 fries into your basket of Wants and you can finally see the bottom of that motherfucker, grease stains and all.
The results? Well, I see them every day.
I manage my life — and my client’s projects — fry by fry.
And each time we assess where we are, we’re closer. Shit gets done.
Your dreams have become wants.
The wants became baskets of delicious sweet potato fries.
And each day, we eat a fry or seven out of the basket until we get to the bottom.
Your pants are back up, your skirt is back down. Your Big Thinking got reeled in and broken down into steps you can actually manage.
Because the truth is — dreams aren’t manageable. They’re ethereal.
Big Think isn’t manageable, either. It’s waiting to fuck you because we can see it — we just can’t reach it. We get frustrated when we’re working so hard…
But we’re not working with purpose. With focus.
And that’s because thinking small is your Wants’ best friend.
Because when we can measure incremental successes, the world (our businesses, our lives) is a much easier place to be happy in.