Does your day start with thinking about how to slay a dragon? Mine doesn’t, but I think it should.
What do I mean by slaying a dragon? I was listening to a recent interview with comedian Bryan Callen and he was asked what he would say if he were to give a university commencement speech. His response was something like (not an exact quote here): “follow your bliss and slay dragons, I don’t care how big the opponent, just do it”.
His message? Dream big… REALLY BIG!
The comment got me thinking, “do I slay dragons?” When I get up in the morning are my actions directed towards THE big goal? The answer I got was no.
Why would I want a big goal?
More and more, my experience has led me towards the conclusion that many people already know, but relatively few people consciously think about. Having a big goal, a quest, helps create a meaningful life. A purpose for my actions creates an increased level of satisfaction when I accomplish something, and increases overall happiness with my life.
But why can’t it be a small goal? Something reasonable? Because, if it’s small and easily attainable, the value drops and I will give up my goal at the slightest inconvenience. Then, I will accomplish nothing. How do I know when I’ve got a big enough goal? More often than not I should wake up excited about my day, and propelled into action.
I’ve had some of those goals before, and everyone’s big goals differ? Some of my biggest goals have been:
- Learn how to play Painted Black (Rolling Stones song) on guitar in 3 weeks (I’m a novice guitar player)
- Lose 30lbs in 3 months
- Getting a PhD in psychology
I’ve done the first two, and got a tremendous amount of satisfaction out of them, along with increased confidence in my ability to take on new goals. Number 3 is almost done and the major hurdles have been passed.
But, I’m not slaying dragons right now. I kind of feel like I’m on a treadmill. It’s an enjoyable treadmill – I really like the clinical work I do, and research still holds some interest, but I still feel like there is something missing, and what’s missing is purpose. What is the higher calling, what is the reason to do all of this anyway?
The funny thing is, I’m doing a lot of the things that I want to do, but without a clear vision of why? I’ve almost slain the PhD dragon, but why did I need to kill it in the first place? I want to help people, in fact I want to help as many people as possible. But, as we know, effective goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time Limited.
First, I need to know what the dragon looks like. When defining my dragon (the big goal), I’ll temporarily remove Realistic and Time Limited from the equation and just make it Specific, Measurable, Actionable. Then once I know what the dragon looks like I can break the big plan down into realistic time limited steps. Each small action and goal will now be in service of a larger goal and help give me meaning and excitement in my day.
The questions I need to answer for myself to slay dragons are:
HOW CAN I BE OF THE MOST SERVICE TO MY COMMMUNITY?
HOW AM I GOING TO HELP THE MOST PEOPLE I CAN?
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I’VE SUCCEEDED?
I’ve got some work to do, but when I answer these questions and have a clear vision in mind, then, I can be happy, slaying dragons. How about you?
As always, we would love to hear from you, so send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or tweet us @KRyanWilson or @DrAdrianaWilson.
Thanks to those who have been sending ideas for resources or videos!
Also don’t forget to check out this week’s ILM Update and hopefully see you at the Holiday Party on December 19th, 5-7 pm!