The 50% Rule & Other Thoughts On Moon Goals…


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My last weekly e-mail was about the benefits of setting a big ‘moon’ type goal
I.e. one that will take years to accomplish, is not guaranteed but is very very exciting to the person/team pursuing it.

I often get asked from my experience, how do you know if you’re delusional?
i.e. how big do you go before you say, ‘that’s enough of that’?

Think of the x-factor contestant who can’t hold a tune but dreams of stardom.
We all know they’ll never get there but the penny hasn’t dropped for them….

Jedward anyone?  But look at what’s happened there.

Out of interest, the Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics who had no engineering skills when they first started out trying to create a machine that would fly. Their friends thought they were delusional and actually tried to get them committed to a psychiatric hospital…

Marconi was considered a nutcase by many for believing that invisible radio waves could carry information from one place to another…

Everyone in Denzel Washington’s acting class laughed when he said he would one day win an Oscar…

Were these people deluded?

Here’s some of my thoughts on going for BIG goals:

1. It’s good for the mind to aim high.

It’s more exciting, it encourages innovation, it demands creativity where easy goals do not. The people who think big in our world are the ones who change it. A ‘moon’ type goal is vital to the long term growth of a person & also a company.
When done correctly it brings meaning where previously there was none.

2. Big goals grab hearts & minds.

When JFK set the goal of being the first country to ‘put a man on the moon before the decade is out.'(1960s), there was no guarantee they’d do it. But it focused the minds and hearts of over 500,000 people who were involved in the project. Big goals have a tendency to do that to people.  They also help attract and retain great talent.

3. To avoid delusion watch the feedback closely.

Just because others say you won’t get there means nothing. However if you are not getting any signals or results that you’re in the right direction then you do need to pay attention to that. Delusional people don’t watch the feedback. Achievers do – relentlessly.
I’m sure Edison was motivated by early mini successes when trying to invent the electric light bulb. If he was getting nowhere I don’t think he would have stuck withe the 10,000 attempts…

4. Use the 50% Rule when deciding if you should go for it.

If you believe that you have at least a 50% chance in success then go for it. No-one ever has a 100% belief (other than the delusional & the people who set easy goals). Mini wins along the way will grow your belief. If it’s less than 50% on starting you probably won’t have sufficient stomach to stay they course and persist when the inevitable trials and obstacles come. Greater than 50%, my suggestion is that you’re in the right zone. After that it’s about playing success in your mind, watching the feedback and going for it regardless.

I’ve seen too many clients & friends achieve the impossible, by someone else’s terms, to know that aiming high is one of the secrets to a great business, a great relationship, a great anything.  And most people in reality need just a dash of delusion, because their thinking is usually much too low i.e they only pick goals they know they’ll achieve.

5. Surround yourself with the best people but don’t always listen to them

If you work with the best, they will help you stay grounded, help you stay focused and help you keep it real.  But sometimes they may say you’re delusional when you’re not.  A client of mine just this week achieved something they’ve been working for over the past 2 years.

It’s very significant and to others was an impossible goal.   At the last hurdle one of their key advisors told them they needed to lower their expectations.  She refused to.  She asked me for my opinion.  I genuinely thought she’s achieved so much already that was previously impossible, she should stick to her guns.

She did.  And on Wednesday she achieved her goal. I guess one person’s delusion can be another person’s moon landing.

Food for thought…



My annual planning workshop, BluePrint, open to anyone, takes place on Saturday, 6th February 2016  – see full details here.