Don’t get me wrong. As a motivational speaker, I talk about the importance of setting goals to take your current situation to the next level all the time. And, as a speaker, I am also am a student of the world of motivation. I have heard my share of motivational speakers talk about having S.M.A.R.T. goals – heck, I even talked about it when I was a trainer working for a seminar company. However, once I went out on my own (in 1998) I started to put my own thoughts and ideas into action including putting my own spin on goal setting. So, I am confident when I say that if you limit your goal-setting to just following the SMART acronym, well, it’s just stupid!
Yes, there is value in being specific and measurable and attainable and realistic and timely. But, I think that there is one element that is missing. In fact, I ask my audiences what the first thing they should be when sitting in front of a clean slate about ready to write some goals or even new years resolutions at the beginning of the year. Inevitably, audience members shout out variations of the S.M.A.R.T. goals. I gently say, that I actually don’t want them to be realistic or specific AT THE BEGINNING. No. In fact, I believe if we set goals and write down only things that we think are realistic or attainable, we may limit ourselves to what we have done in the past. Therefore, I encourage people to add another letter in front of their smart goals and that letter would be ‘O’. You may think that stands for open, or optimistic which are great words. But, what I’m looking for is the word ‘OUTRAGEOUS!’ Yes, I want people to start off by imagining that anything is possible and write out goals – lots of goals – that brings out the creativity, the dreamer, the outrageous-ness of someone! I learned from my friend Mark Victor Hansen, the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. He told me to take 20 minutes and write out 101 goals. Here’s what happens. We all know what’s realistic or attainable and those goals come easy to our list. But, if we have to write out 101 goals, we force ourselves to be creative. That creativity then breeds more creativity and eventually what comes out starts to sound outrageous and that leads to stupid outrageous! That’s where the magic happens! When you are stupid outrageous, your inner kid comes out and so does that child-like enthusiasm. I am all for chid-like enthusiasm to help propel you forward closer to your dreams.
Yes, set S.M.A.R.T. goals. But, before you do – start off with the most important piece, and that is to be OUTRAGEOUS! Don’t think outside the box, throw the box out the window and allow your inner kid to come out. Then, when you start to narrow your focus and start to be specific, at least you’ll have some positive enthusiastic energy to get you to the next level.
From your outrageously optimistic motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman