Episode: 7 Steps to Thinking Big

Michael Hyatt: Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt.

Megan Hyatt Miller: And I’m Megan Hyatt Miller.

Michael:  And this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work and succeed at life. In this episode, we’re going to show you that it’s possible to achieve your biggest dreams, and that journey begins right inside your own head. We have seven steps to begin thinking big.

Megan: It’s funny how our ability to achieve our biggest dreams is really a function of our thinking. It’s not usually a function of what’s possible; it’s a function of our thinking.

Michael: It all starts there.

Megan: We’re kind of taught to be realistic in our thinking, but the truth is that everybody has some kind of big dream that’s buried somewhere in their heart or their mind, and when we don’t act like it and we live in denial, then we have regret. So, today, we’re going to show you a better way.

Michael: Yeah. It’s funny. I just have to say something before I invite Larry to join us. It’s not original with me, but somebody said when you’re a little kid and you say, “I want to be an astronaut,” everybody thinks that’s really cute, you know, be an astronaut. But when you say that when you’re in high school, people say, “You need to be a little bit more realistic.” So that kind of gets squeezed out of us as we get older.

Megan: And if you’re not careful, you end up just playing small.

Michael: True. So, Larry is our senior writer. We’re glad he’s here, and he’s going to lead us through this content. Welcome.

Larry Wilson: Hey, guys. Great to be here. I know when I’ve had to make a mindset shift… You talk about thinking big is really just a matter of mindset. I don’t usually come to this on my own. Something has to jar me to shake loose my thinking. I’m wondering, what was it that had that effect on you? What jarred you into going from playing small to thinking big?

Megan: Recently, we aired a podcast episode that was my speech from our Best Year Ever live event around the new year. In that speech I talk all about my fear of public speaking, which has been historical for me. It has been true since high school, and it has been epic in its scale in my life.

There was just kind of a moment last year over the summer when I realized it was now or never, that if I didn’t choose to overcome that fear and step into what my destiny and my calling was becoming, my life was going to get smaller and smaller, that I would have to say no to more things and more things over time. It was finally just untenable to me. That was not a reality I was okay with anymore. So I chose to push through the barriers in my own mind and go for something that was really big and scary, because I was just sick of being afraid all the time.

Larry: That’s an amazing bit of self-awareness.

Megan: Well, it was like 20 years in the making, so it didn’t come quickly, but it came finally.

Michael: My dad was very committed to positive thinking. In fact, he only paid me to ever read one book, and it was The Power of Positive Thinking. He paid me to read that when I was in high school.

Larry: How much?

Michael: Twenty bucks.

Megan: Wow! That was a lot of money back then.

Michael: Yeah, back then that was a lot of money, and I was highly motivated to read it. I sort of got addicted to motivational literature. That kind of opened me up to the possibility that there’s more out there that we can experience. I remember going to a Tony Robbins conference. The first time I ever did that my head kind of exploded, and then when I read a book called The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz… He says to achieve big you have to think big.

That was the first time it came home for me that inside of our thinking is everything we’re going to create in the future, and if we think small we’re going to create a small future. If we think big, we can create a bigger future. I’m not one of these people who believes in the concept like The Secret, you know, if you just think it, if you think it often enough it’ll just happen, because I think there’s a lot of hard work that has to happen, but I do think it starts with our thinking and that we can learn to think bigger, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Larry: Well, we hope this podcast will be the catalyst, that jarring moment that causes somebody out there to say, “The world can be bigger for me than I thought it could be.” We have seven steps to opening up those possibilities. Step one is imagine the possibilities.

Megan: When you’re just starting this journey, you have to give yourself permission to dream. Kind of like we were talking about at the beginning of the show, that over time… It often happens so incrementally and so slowly you don’t realize it’s happening, but our ability to dream gets shut down. We have all of the objections that come up in our own thinking before that dream even has a chance to develop some roots and have the ability to grow. What we have to learn to do is to suspend disbelief. What if that could happen? What if those barriers had a solution to them? Not that they magically disappeared, but what if they had a solution that was possible?

Start asking yourself open-ended questions like, “If I could do anything, what would it be? What is a childhood dream I’ve forgotten as I’ve grown up?” For some of us, that’s going to take a couple of minutes to really think about that and get back in touch with those things, because we’re so oriented toward survival and the day-to-day pressures of life that we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to have vision for what we really want.

Michael: Do you think that’s in part because we so desperately want to avoid failure, and when we start creating these possibilities we realize it may require that we go out a little bit on a limb and we might fail?

Megan: Well, at least I think it’s that we want to avoid uncertainty. Uncertainty is very uncomfortable, and the older we get and the more successful we’ve become, the more there is at stake that we could lose, whether that’s humiliation from failure or financial loss or just disruption in our life if our life is pretty comfortable. I think reconciling yourself to uncertainty is an important part of this process.

Michael: You know what’s interesting about this? I recall hearing Dan Sullivan talk about this. He says a lot of entrepreneurs get successful because they’re willing to take a risk, they’re willing to imagine the impossible, they’re willing to innovate, and then once they become successful they try to avoid that like crazy because they try to create a life where there’s no uncertainty and no risk. He said that’s what inevitably leads you to flatten out or go into decline. So I think this is particularly important for leaders to imagine the possibilities, to constantly keep reimagining and keep thinking about what’s possible beyond what I’ve already accomplished.

Larry: Step one to thinking big is imagine the possibilities. Suspend your disbelief and just imagine what could happen. Step two: write down your dream. Why is that so important?

Michael: This is important because, as the old saying goes, thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and through pencil tips. There’s something about writing that brings clarity. Before you can begin to pursue something and really have a chance of achieving it, you have to be clear about what you’re trying to do.

For example, we’re about to start on a big renovation on our house. We’re going to enlarge our den in the back of the house and add a breakfast nook and a few other things. We didn’t just go to Home Depot and buy a bunch of lumber and then have this vague idea of what we’re going to do and just start hammering things together. First of all, me with a hammer is a scary thought. No, we didn’t do that. We hired an architect. We got all of the plans drawn up.

We had a couple of different contractors come in and bid on the job. We had an interior designer come in and help us envision what it was going to look like when it was all furnished. All that was that work that, in essence, was writing it down before we did it. Several years ago I read a book…in fact, I had the kids read a book by Henriette Klauser called Write It Down, Make It Happen. Megan, I don’t know if you remember this, but it was right after Mindy got married.

Megan: I do remember this.

Michael: I don’t know what year that would have been.

Megan: 2000 or 2001.

Michael: Everybody else went with us to the beach, all of the rest of the girls. She was the first one to get married, so, obviously, she was on her honeymoon. We went to the beach to recover from that wedding, which was huge. We all read this book, and then what I encouraged everybody to do was to write down 100 things they’d like to accomplish before they die. Everybody had yellow legal pads, and at night… Do you remember this?

Megan: Mm-hmm.

Michael: We would compare notes. The funny thing about that was I ended up entering all that stuff into an Excel spreadsheet.

Megan: Of course you did.

Michael: I think you’re making fun of me. I don’t know. Ten years later, I hadn’t opened that list, and I just stumbled upon it. I went through that list of 100 things, and I was shocked at how many of them had already taken place.

Megan: Yeah. Well, I have another story that’s similar to that. It’s funny. When you were saying that, I thought of how many things in my life I have started by writing them down, and then, ultimately, they have become a reality. I could never see the path, by the way, of how I was going to get there at the beginning.

Before Joel and I were dating, I was engaged to somebody else and it ended really badly. I called off my wedding three weeks before it happened. I think I’ve told that story before on the podcast. It was really devastating. After I had recovered somewhat from that and I was thinking about if I would ever get married again, I wrote a list of 100 things I wanted in my future husband, which, by the way, it’s kind of hard to think of anything after about number 20. A hundred is a lot of things.

What was crazy is that after Joel and I got connected… We actually knew each other a little bit previously, but once we got connected and then ultimately started dating, I found that list and read it, and there were only two or three things out of 100 that he did not check the box of, and they were things like being tall, wearing cowboy boots, which for some reason was important to me at the time. Not important to me now as it turns out. And, I don’t know, something…

Michael: Full head of hair.

Megan: Yeah, full head of hair. He’s bald. It was amazing how that intention directed me from that point forward. It’s kind of amazing.

Larry: I have two reactions to that. One is that all of the single men listening are now petrified about this list they know is out there in every woman’s mind.

Michael: I did the same thing, though. This was 40-some-odd years ago, but I did this same exact thing in college at the urging of a college pastor, who said, “You ought to be clear about the kind of person you want to marry.” So I made this whole list. I wasn’t in a relationship at all, but it certainly helped me recognize Gail when she showed up.

Larry: Here’s the question I want to ask. For each of you, when you say “Write down your dream,” is this the same as goal creation? We talk a lot about goal creation here. Are these goals? Are dreams and goals the same thing?

Michael: I would call it pre-goal.

Megan: Yeah, me too.

Michael: I would call this the stating of an aspiration or a vision. One of the problems… We’ve tried to do this the last live events we’ve done for Best Year Ever, where we try to give people an opportunity to dream without feeling like they have to have it in a specific format, like the SMARTER framework. Then you get all gunked up in the technicality of it and miss the fun of dreaming again. Like in that first step, imagine the possibilities…that’s all about dreaming. Then you can start to get more specific when you talk about writing it down, but at this point, I would not reduce it to goals. You can do that later. Right now you just want to get some clarity about what it is you’re seeing.

Larry: Step one to thinking big: imagine the possibilities. Step two: write down your dream. Step three is connect with what’s at stake.

Megan: This is one that’s easy to skip over, but it’s going to be the fuel for realizing your dream later on. You have to get really clear on your why. Why does this matter? What is at stake? You don’t want to skip this, because this is what you’re going to draw on when you hit setbacks along the way. I would say anything important I’ve ever accomplished, I had a really clear sense of what was at stake.

For example, back to my story of giving the speeches that I did in the last year, for me, it was like I was either going to be in bondage to this fear or I was going to finally be free, and that was pretty compelling to me. Live in fear or don’t live in fear and have the freedom to do anything that came my way. Any opportunity I had to use my voice, that I was going to feel free to do that.

I started thinking about issues and causes I care about and how I might be called upon to speak on those things one day, and I would hate to have to say no because I was afraid. What a lame answer that would be to say, “No. I can’t use my position for good because I just don’t want to get up and talk in front of people.”

So that really propelled me when, in all honesty, I went through six weeks, for the first speech, of brutal mental battling against those old fears. Every single day of those six weeks leading up to that first speech was incredibly difficult, and being clear on what was at stake kept me going when I wanted to give up every one of those days.

Larry: When you say “what’s at stake,” are you talking about positive outcomes or negative things to avoid or both?

Megan: Kind of both. I would think of it in terms of what’s at stake for myself positively and negatively, and then what’s at stake for other people. If you’re talking about a really big dream, it may really impact the people you care about most. It may also impact people you don’t even know yet, and there’s something at stake for those people. If you’re talking about starting a ministry or a nonprofit or some kind of initiative or a business, there are people…customers, clients, patients, whoever it is you’re going to serve…who are going to need what you have to bring to the table. If you don’t, they’re going to suffer, and if you do, they’re going to be empowered in some way that’s really meaningful.

Michael: The important thing about this is that it gives you leverage with yourself. In other words, it creates the must. Here’s why I must do this, because without it I’m not going to experience whatever the positive thing is or I’m not going to avoid the negative thing. I can think of whether it was writing books or helping fund, as we did one year, the building of a school in Kenya. What’s at stake with that? It was a dream, but what’s at stake? In that particular case, there were kids who were not going to be educated. There was an opportunity I was going to miss if I didn’t do that. That created the leverage for me to fulfill the dream.

Larry: Do you guys write this part down too? Is this part of writing your dream? Do you write the what’s at stake?

Michael: For me, it does as it becomes a goal, because eventually this is going to be reduced to a goal. Yeah, it does become a part of the goal.

Megan: Yeah, eventually. Not at the beginning, though. I would say this feels like the most vulnerable part. Once you have focused in on the thing that is your dream and then start realizing how big it really is and why it matters, that’s a vulnerable exercise. It takes a while of sitting in it and thinking through it and visualizing it, at least for me, before I’m ready to write it down. I certainly would not put the pressure on myself of formalizing it either into a goal or a specific why until I gave myself some space to think about it, because putting it in black and white is an even bigger deal than thinking of it for the first time.

Michael: I didn’t think about this when we started this show, but I’m just going to ask you a question and you can be as vulnerable as you want or not. You can punt. Recently, you made the decision to adopt again. You had this dream, which was a little bit crazy because you already have four kids, but you wanted to adopt, in this case, domestically. Your previous two kids you adopted were from Africa. So you had a dream, but what was at stake for you in this adoption? In other words, what was the positive and what was the negative if you didn’t do it?

Megan: Well, if I go back to the beginning, the dream of adoption and, really, the dream of getting to start from the beginning with a baby, which I did not get to do with any of my other four kids… My two older children are my stepchildren from Joel’s first marriage, and our younger two boys came home when they were 3 and 14 months, and that was very challenging. They had a lot of challenges to overcome.

There was a part of parenting I had not experienced and really felt like I wouldn’t. Our youngest son now is almost 9, so Joel and I, for all intents and purposes, thought we were done having kids. We were kind of on to other things. Around the new year, I felt this dream stir in my heart again to have a baby and to have one more child in our family, as some women in our office had babies and Joel and I talked about it.

To just say it out loud was a scary thing, but I felt like what was at stake was there’s another person who’s supposed to be in our family who, if we just continue on the path we’re on, we’re going to miss out on knowing, we’re going to miss out on loving. We’re going to miss out on our hearts being able to expand and experience that with another child again in a different way than we’ve been able to before. Really, that would have been driven by a sense of scarcity and fear if we didn’t do it.

What I realized coming out of the experience with my speech was that I don’t want anything in my life to be a “no” because I’m afraid of it. There are plenty of things I’ll say no to for good reasons, but it’s not going to be because I’m afraid of it, because I can overcome that. So as we started exploring this and then had calls with the adoption consultancy we have ended up working with and were right at the beginning of being ready to accept a child, it was exciting to think, “This is a possibility.”

There’s a lot at stake positively and negatively. Also, I should say, for the child too, for this baby who’s going to join our family. We don’t know whether it will be a boy or a girl. Not only are there things at stake for us, but there’s a baby somewhere who needs a family, and we are a unique kind of family that can help that child grow up and realize his or her potential in a way that without us wouldn’t be possible. In the same way, there are things at stake for us, as parents.

Larry: Step three is connect with what’s at stake. Step four to thinking big: outline what would have to be true. I feel like we’re getting more into the how area now.

Michael: We definitely are. One of the things that kills dreams is they die at this stage, at the how stage, because people can’t see a path from here to there. They assume there isn’t a path from here to there, so they just give up. Sometimes we just have to hold on tenaciously to that dream and really connect with our why, like we’ve talked about, and then all of a sudden the how becomes clear. One of the best things we can do is ask ourselves the question…What would have to be true?

At one point, after I was into this new career of speaking and writing, I was out on the road 60 to 70 times a year speaking, and what I thought I wanted to do turned out to be something I didn’t enjoy that much. I didn’t like being away from my home. I didn’t like living on the road. So I had this dream of how I could continue to grow my income, how I could continue to grow my business, yet only do three or four speaking engagements a year.

I didn’t mind speaking in Nashville. If I could create events here, that would be awesome, which eventually turned into something for us. But how could I get off the road? I talked to some of my friends who were speakers, and they said, “Look. There’s no way to do it. This is how you make money. If you’re going to be a speaker and a writer, book income is not going to be that significant. You’re going to have to get out there and basically talk for money.”

So I said, “Wait a second. What would have to be true?” I can remember having this conversation with you at the very beginning. We said, “It’s probably going to take 18 months.” We talked to my booking agents at the time. I don’t think they were initially very happy about it, but they kind of caught the vision for it. It took about 18 months.

What would have to be true? Well, we would have to replace that speaking income with something else. That led to Platform University, so that made it possible. That was the means, which we couldn’t see at the time, that made all that possible. If I hadn’t had the dream and if I hadn’t asked the question, “What would have to be true?” I wouldn’t have even been open to that possibility.

Megan: Like in our situation with considering adoption, ultimately deciding to adopt again, one of the biggest obstacles in my mind was, “I’m leading this business. My career is in its most intense phase to date. We have a very clear picture ahead of us of where that’s going, and it’s getting bigger and bigger all the time. How could I possibly have a new baby at this season of my career?” There are not a lot of moms of five kids running big businesses, for good reason. That was the obstacle.

I started thinking, “Well, what would have to be true? How in the world could I take maternity leave? How could I make it work after I came back?” What was so interesting is that as I started to think about it and talk to other people in our company, all kinds of solutions started to present themselves. I ended up coming up with a whole plan for my maternity leave. At whatever point the baby is born, we’ll execute on that plan. I’m totally prepared and ready to go at any point. I have a good plan for when I come back. Solutions I never would have thought of before or just were not the way I was doing things now are apparent.

When you have a really compelling sense of what’s at stake and what your dream is, the how will show up, but you’re not going to get the entire plan at the beginning. You’re going to have to become an expert in being tolerant in getting one piece at a time and just going from one thing, like little lily pads across the pond. You’re just going to go from one thing to the next to the next to the next, and before you know it you get there, but you’re not going to see it all at the beginning.

Michael: I want to talk about a dream in the making before we move on. One of the dreams we’ve had…in fact, it’s part of our vision statement…is we want a company that’s doing about $100 million in revenue a year, and we said with fewer than 100 people. That’s an enormous constraint, and that’s a very, very big dream. When we talk about what has to be true, what has to be true is that constraint. It has to be done with fewer than 100 people. It has to have a certain profit margin.

That’s what forces innovation. We have to be super creative in order to do that. Now, if you had asked me a few years ago would I ever have thought that this company would get to be an eight-figure business, I would have said, “Well, maybe someday,” but that was a big ol’ dream. Well, we’ve passed that now. It’s the momentum of that that gives me the confidence that we’ll hit the 100 million. We’ll talk more about that in a minute. But what has to be true for that to happen?

Larry: So, the first four steps to thinking big… Step one: imagine the possibilities. Step two: write down your dream. Step three: connect with what’s at stake. Step four begins to take us into the action phase, which is outlining what would have to be true. Then step five: decide what you can do to affect the outcome.

Megan: The big idea here is that you want to focus on specific, daily actions, and in particular, you want to focus on next actions. Again, you’re not going to see the whole picture. I keep waiting for the FedEx from God that’s like “Here’s the whole plan,” just like paint by numbers.

Michael: It doesn’t usually happen.

Megan: It hasn’t come yet. But what you will get is if you take the next action, it will naturally lead to the one after that. Like in our adoption story, for me, my next action was sending an email to Faithful Adoption Consultants, which is the consultancy we’re using out of Atlanta, for a discovery call, basically, just kind of an inquiry about how their process worked.

We didn’t know if we wanted to use them. We didn’t know if we were going to say yes or no. We hadn’t decided if we were going to adopt or not. That phone call was the next right action, which then led to the next and the next and the next one after that. That principle is true in your personal life, like in that example, and it’s absolutely true in your business.

Michael: This is where, if we’re not careful, we overcomplicate it. Because it’s a dream and because it’s out there aways, as you said so eloquently, Megan, you’re not going to see the whole path. I’ve heard the illustration (I love this illustration) of driving through a dark night with your headlights on. You can’t see the entire path, and you don’t need to. You can see maybe 100 yards in the distance, and that’s enough. The same thing is true here. But it is important to take action on those things you do see. Those are going to be hopefully easy things you can do but, again, move you toward what it is you’re trying to accomplish ultimately.

Megan: What you don’t need to do is come up with a whole plan. You don’t need a blueprint. You don’t need a strategic plan to get to your dream. You just need to identify one, maybe two next actions, and then take it from there.

Larry: That brings us to step six in thinking bigger, which is set a deadline.

Michael: This is where it starts to get real. If you don’t set a deadline, it’s only going to be a dream. You want to start to reduce this to a goal, and one of the first ways to do that is a deadline. This is what everybody resists, because now all of a sudden it’s starting to feel risky. If I put the deadline and it doesn’t happen by that deadline…

For our goal to hit $100 million in revenue, we said 2028. That’s 10 years in the future. In our experience (everybody says this, and it’s really true), people tend to overestimate what they can do in the short term and underestimate what they can do in the long term. So the 10-year time horizon seems about right. But we have a date on it.

Megan: This idea of setting a deadline goes back to the idea of constraints. The deadline you set for your dream, which is now becoming a goal at this phase of the process, will drive the innovation and the clarity around your next actions you need to really get moving.

Michael: It also creates accountability. This is one of the reasons, for example, in our BusinessAccelerator program, when we’re working with our business owner clients, we’re always forcing them to establish a deadline. They say, “Well, I want to do this.” “Okay. By when?” Because, again, there’s no accountability if it’s just a dream. Once you put a date on it and once we record that date, then there’s an accountability that I’m going to do it by then.

Now, obviously, it’s only a guess. You may get there and decide that, for whatever reason, you’re not going to be able to get it done by then, but at least it gets you moving in the right direction and creates the kind of urgency that’ll force you to take the next action. Urgency is a huge helpful motivator when you’re trying to accomplish big things.

Larry: Speaking of big things and this deadline concept, building a $100 million company is a big thing, and 10 years is a long time. Is that too long to keep something urgent in your mind? Obviously, you don’t think so in that case, but if I want to learn French, which is something I’m trying to do, if I give myself 10 years, I know I just won’t ever do it.

Michael: Right. Because you just procrastinate because it’s so far out there. For us, with a big goal like building a $100 million company… We’ve literally projected the math out. We know what we have to hit our targets (we were just looking at it yesterday), what our targets have to be by year in terms of revenue, what our profit targets have to be, what our personnel expansion has to look like.

That’s not the kind of thing you’re talking about, where you’re just kind of hoping you’ll get started someday. There’s a lot riding. We’re very clear at what’s at stake. We’re holding ourselves accountable. We’ve announced it to our team, and now I guess we’ve announced it to the world. So that creates some accountability that’s helpful that drives activity. That’s not just going to happen without a lot of effort.

Megan: I think it’s important to say, too, that the scale of the dream dictates the timeline. We’re talking about a dream and, really, now a goal for our business that’s at a huge scale, so it’s going to take somewhere around 10 years… It could probably be as early as 7, but somewhere between 7 and 10 years to reach that goal, but that’s not true for learning French. So what you want to do is have…

Michael: It’s more like 20 years, at least for me.

Larry: It might be in my case.

Megan: I think what you want is a timeline that’s big enough to be reasonable-ish but tight enough to drive action.

Michael: I’ll give you another example. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this on a previous show or not, but I had a lady, who’s now one of our clients, who is a nurse practitioner who wanted to take a sabbatical. When I went in for an appointment, she said, “Man, I’d love to be able to do that, but I can’t imagine, given my clinical practice, that I could ever do that.” I said, “Well, what would have to be true?” So she started to think about it.

She couldn’t do that the next summer from the time we were talking, but she planned it the summer after that. That was enough time for her to get the things in place, what had to be true in order for that to take place. Even then, she didn’t take four weeks off. I think she took two weeks off and went to Italy, and now this summer she’s taking three weeks off. So it’s possible given enough time, but you want to have enough time to put things into place.

Larry: Step six of thinking big is set a deadline, and that brings us to step seven, our final step: review your goals daily.

Megan: This is important, because most ideas don’t fail; they get buried in our lives under the busyness of day-to-day living. We fail because we lose visibility, not because we try and fall short. So the visibility piece is what we’re after here, and incorporating that daily review of your goals into your morning routine, for example, or your morning ritual, is a great way to not lose sight of the things that are the most important that you’re pursuing.

Michael: I totally agree with that. This is where it is helpful to reduce the dream to a goal. One of the things I do in terms of my practice… Of course, I follow the whole system we developed in Your Best Year Ever. (By the way, if you haven’t picked up that book, that’s a great book on goal achievement, if I don’t say so myself.) One of the things I talk about there is reviewing your goals on a daily basis. I have 7 to 10 goals for the year, 2 to 3 for the quarter, and I’m reviewing those on a daily basis, asking myself the question, “Is there anything I could do today that would move me in the direction of the fulfillment of this goal?” or in this context, a dream. If you lose visibility, you lose the dream. It dies.

Larry: It’s amazing how well this works. When you review your goals daily and that next action comes to mind, it’s always something simple, usually something you can do in five minutes, the next action, and it’ll stall if you don’t take that five-minute action and the time to review that goal.

Megan: That reminds me of what we often do with our BusinessAccelerator coaching clients at the end of each of our coaching intensive days. It’s called five-minute wins, and we basically give people five minutes to log as many next actions in real time as they possibly can in five minutes. We do this as a contest. We have prizes and giveaways. It’s really, really fun. I think our record was like 13 next actions.

Michael: Yes. I think that was right.

Megan: Thirteen things someone accomplished in five minutes. These are things like send a text message, write an email, schedule a phone call, something like that. We’ve done it many times. What’s amazing in that five-minute window is not only do people complete sometimes upward of 10 different next actions related to their goals, but they get responses on these things.

In five minutes, someone is texting them back, someone is sending an email back, someone has confirmed an appointment. There’s so much momentum coming out of that little exercise that they’re really propelled on to the next thing. What’s great about that is you can do this on your own. You just set your timer. This would be a great thing to include in an afternoon one day a week. If you really need a hit of motivation, this is a great way to do it.

Michael: It sure is.

Larry: We’ve been talking about seven steps to thinking big, and I know there are people listening who have a dream they’re even afraid to voice. Hopefully, we’re giving them some permission to do that and some practical steps, and here they are. Step one: imagine the possibilities. Step two: write down your dream. Step three: connect with what is at stake. Step four: outline what would have to be true. Step five: decide what you can do to affect the outcome. Step six: set a deadline. Step seven: review your goals daily. Guys, any final thoughts for our listeners today?

Megan: I would just say that if there’s something that is on your heart or your mind, something that maybe you’ve buried or put on the back burner or maybe even forgotten about, it’s worth excavating and remembering and taking action on. The things that are your dreams in your heart of heart are not there by accident, and fear is a terrible reason not to pursue the things that really matter. What gets in the way of thinking big and of our dreams is usually some kind of fear.

If you can hit it head-on, you can always move through it. I can’t think of an example in my life where when I really voiced something out loud I wanted and when I articulated what I was afraid of and what the obstacles were and was committed to moving through it I remained stuck. It’s only when it’s kind of back there in our mind and our heart that we don’t have a chance. So, I just want to encourage you to own your dreams and lean into those things.

Michael: That’s a great point. My final thought is that thinking big is a skill you can learn. The best way to learn it, in my experience, is hang around people who think big. The people you associate with will either shrink your thinking or they will enlarge it, so you need to be deliberate about finding the best people you can who think big, and just hang out with them, because it’s contagious. You’ll catch what they have.

Larry: Michael and Megan, thank you for these powerful insights today.

Michael: Thanks, Larry. Thank you for joining us. We really appreciate you guys tuning in to Lead to Win. Join us next time when we’re going to talk about what to do when you work for a bad boss, including some bad boss stories from our listeners. Until then, lead to win.