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Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Importance of Thinking Big in Business

by Amber Wright

“We become what we think about.” Earl Nightingale

Many of us who start businesses simply want to build something that will give us a degree of independence and support our families in a middle class lifestyle. Some of us simply don’t make great employees, and feel we could do it better than the folks we previously worked for. The start up phase of a business is such an obsessive undertaking that we can usually only focus on what is in front of us and the next few weeks ahead. But if the business survives, the day comes when we lift our gaze from the near term goals and are forced to think in terms of bigger dreams and how ambitious we might dare to be.

What if your dream takes a turn that points toward being much larger. At Harvard Business School they have a term “BHAG” which is big, hairy, audacious goals. In his article “In Praise of Positive Obsessions,” creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD describes positive obsessions as "insistent, recurrent thoughts or sets of thoughts, pressurized in feel, that are extremely difficult to ignore, that compel one to act, and that connect to one’s goals and values as an active meaning-maker and authentic human being."

There is reward and satisfaction in big thinking but it is so easy to forget when you hit the inevitable rough spots in building your dream. The lesson from Mr. Silbergeld or Mr. Murdoch really amounts to not letting the ever present challenges shrink your thinking. The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it so well. “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic to it.”

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