Big, Scary Goals

You know the type.

Batshit crazy to others. Except you.
A goal that makes you pee your pants a little just thinking about it.
Something you’ve dreamt of all your life but kept hidden from others for fear of judgement or ridicule.
A goal so ambitious it looks impossible, given the current snapshot of your life.

Let me elaborate with an example.

A goal is to learn how to play the guitar.
A scary goal is to busk in public.
A big, scary goal is to headline in front of thousands at a festival.

I spent my twenties ticking bucket list items AKA goals. Some were scary – see bungee, skydive and swimming with sharks. All were relatively easily achieved, with enough courage (or alcohol) and finances. However, none served a greater good. They didn’t connect with a deeper passion to further a life’s ambition.

In the context of purpose and what gets me motivated, I realised writing was ‘it‘ quite early in my life. Although, sometimes even the most compatible lovers experience disharmony at certain stages of their relationship.Β Poor career advice during my teenage years carted me through the sausage factory and spat me into the accounting profession. Hello analytical left-brain. Goodbye creative right-brain.

Earning a crust and paying off student loans pushed fanciful ideas like writing a novel into the periphery. After all, I had to ground myself in the real world with practical concerns.

I’ve always been writing in one form or another, ever since I was a kid. Short stories for friends in school. Poems for my parents. Blogs (this is my third iteration after a sobriety blog and a ‘Pick-Up Artist‘ blog. Yes. Really).

I’m not a particularly religious person (although there is a strong religious theme in my latest book, SIGIL and my next book RAISING LAZARUS), but the ‘Parable of the Sower‘ always stood out in my mind as one of the rare occurrences when the bible made sense to me.

In my twenties, the seed of my writing career fell down a dusty crack in the road and would have stayed there forever if I hadn’t teased it out and planted it in some fertile soil.

A simple goal was set – unknown to a single soul. Write a book. That was ten years ago. For some, that in itself is a big, scary goal. Why write, if not to share with others?

A scary goal – Publish a book(s), announce to the world that I, a second incarnation of Leo Tolstoy, had arrived and actively promote myself through a website (eek!) and social channels. Scary enough? Nearly there.

The big, scary goal is, and still remains – become a bestselling author of multiple titles earning enough money to leave behind the corporate world to pursue a career in writing, full-time.

I think I just wet myself.

What are your big, scary goals?

spectrum sci fi short story

48 thoughts on “Big, Scary Goals

    • I read somewhere that true insights come from a place when we stop thinking. Something about the conscious mind overthinking things. The reason why when you try to remember a song, you can’t, despite your best efforts but it only hits you when you’re taking a dump a few days later, thinking about The Great British Bake Off. Enjoy the lie down Tender!

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      • There’s a lot to be said about the frozen food aisle in Sainsbury’s also. I usually experience a crushing lows and soaring highs there. Often simultaneously. Which explains why I bought so many fish fingers. I never fond the monks there though. Off up a mountain.

        In all seriousness, I’ve been spending the last few years grappling with squaring the unlikelihood of becoming world dictator with the accumulating an extra 10 days annual leave before I retire. The pressure for goals is immense. But the relief from realising their relativity is also comforting. Or something. Anyway, besta luck with scaling the peaks of your desires. That might well be the cheesiest line I’ve ever written. Today.

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  • This is so timely I can’t get over it…. I gave a public lecture last night at a museum where I used my expertise as a professor and literary critic who has published to talk about Maurice Sendak’s work. I was terrified. It was the best performance of my life. But coupled with that is the fact that my big scary goals are identical with yours. I had such a sense when I was doing this that this is what I was supposed to be doing, standing in front of larger groups, talking about literature and writing, and being a published novelist, poet, etc. I actually want this in addition to my full-time professor gig. I don’t know why I haven’t had the confidence to get my creative work out there. I guess it’s all about trying to push through the self-doubt. But I walked into my house last night and I felt like a different person, like something happened significantly… Then I sort of asked for a sign that I was supposed to pursue these goals, and I wake up this morning and I see this post. Wow.

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    • Wow! Talk about synchronicity! Congrats on your talk. We are capable of so much more when we step outside of the little box that we (and others) construct for ourselves. It sounds like you’ve found some really powerful scary goals to continue on your path of growth. Please keep me updated on how you get on. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. πŸ™‚

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  • Wishing you lots of success on your big, scary goal!

    As for me, what makes me faint of heart is that I have several big, scary goals! My ambition is in overdrive. Scarier still? I like it! I’ve accomplished enough to feel like I have a shot at reaching them, so, bombs away!

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  • My big goal is to save money to do my big scary goal which is to travel to Ireland in spring 2018. May not sound scary but I’ve never been out of the U.S., and there is a chance I’ll be doing the trip alone if my girlfriend ends up backing out. I’ve wanted to go since a read a book set there when I was 10 yrs old but there have always been forces stopping me. No more! πŸ™‚ I’m hoping Ireland will be like my gateway drug and there will be a lot more world travel after this first step πŸ™‚

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  • My big scary goal was to physically summon up enough energy and stamina to return to teaching a three hour class at the university after a two semester lay-out due to health reasons and major foot surgery (It was surgery or a wheelchair for the rest of my life–no option there.) I am proud to say I accomplished my big scary goal yesterday with enough energy left over to stop and celebrate a belated (16th of Aug) 52 year anniversary dinner before heading for home and bed by 9:00 pm. Ha! At 77 (him) and 71 (her) it takes a lot of energy just to keep going. Ha Ha A sincere thank you to my chauffeur and soulmate of 52 years. Couldn’t do it without him.

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  • not as if I hadn’t thought of writing a novel before–just that none of the stuff I turned out was good enough even for me. the release of that bucket item came through publishing my grandfather’s books. another bucket item–ticked off at 55 yrs of age–learn to ride a motorcycle. boy did I have fun with that! unfortunately, you can continue to write into your senior years–“knee-dragging” not so much.

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  • So true. The scariest part in life is growing old and thinking about all the wonderful opportunities missed because one was too scared to experience them. Writing a novel, publishing, and becoming a bestselling author can be daunting goals to achieve, but it’s better to have taken the chance, than to not take a chance at all. But perhaps it’s easier to say the words, than actually confront the fears lol. After all, my big scary goal is to write an amazing breathtaking script, but the chains of reality keep me grounded, or perhaps I’m my own perpetrator and have locked the chains myself.

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    • So true! ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’. Best of luck with your script. Making a public declaration can sometimes bring resources into view that you never considered before. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  • This is amazing, thanks for sharing. My big scary goal: bailing on law school and starting a blog (that I hope to monetize eventually) and freelancing to make ends meet in the meantime. Admittedly I break down every 7 days (it’s like clockwork) when I’m right about that “almost wetting myself” phase. And then I get a grip and carry on with my life in pursuit of those scary goals. As a fancy blogger yourself, would love your input on mine! Like I said, trying to monetize it at the moment, but there are some personal posts in there as well. http://edenfried.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really like your site Eden – clean, simple and no clutter. I’ve worked freelance for a couple of companies in the past year to help them with their sites (drive traffic, build social presence, create blog content). Soooo much I could talk about, but the main piece of advice would be to to write 2-3 blog posts a week around specific themes that your target audience would be interested in. I write quite a bit about this on my own blog starting with this post – https://aidanjreid.com/2014/09/05/generating-traffic-inbound-marketing/ but there are a few others that do into the detail. I picked up a gig from a blog follower of mine who approached me and connected me to an opportunity based on our relationship online. She enjoyed reading the content. Anyway, best of luck!

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  • My big scary goal… Graduate School. [Spooky music]

    Well, not so much the graduate school part. Most terrifying is the student loans that are accruing at a rate that makes it feel like a horror movie… you know, the creepy guy with the machete limps towards the victims, who run at full speed, but somehow… he ALWAYS catches up with them?

    Every other aspect, even the dissertation… is… um… wait… dissertation? Okay. I’m not feeling so well.

    Great post, btw. Looking forward to reading the books and stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I have always been a little insecure about myself. I have never really thought I was extraordinary in any particular thing. It took me a long time to realize that to be extra good in anything, there is a hell lot of passion required. Until one is passionate about it, they cannot excel in it. I am yet to find my big, scary goal but once I find it, I am going to go crazy about it. What you said here makes me think it is much more important to gratify one’s inner self than complete incentives at a multinational company

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  • Goal: Write and publish 2 upcoming novels and a few short stories based in my world-building project – The Warden of Everfeld.

    Scary Goal: Publish a series of 10+ novels and short stories under my own imprint, becoming a respected indie author in the process.

    Big, Scary Goal: Reveal a fantasy world through diverse projects spanning 30+ years of writing and publishing, building a recognized fantasy/sci-fi brand, and becoming a reputed speaker/writer on storytelling as a creative form.

    Holy crap I don’t think I’ve ever expressed that to anyone. Thanks for helping me dig that up! (And thanks for the follow. I’m very intrigued by Pathfinders and will have to check it out in the near future!)

    Like

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