Aspire to greatness every day. Then, aspire higher. No matter where you are in life or how successful or extraordinary you already are, aspire higher. To Aspire to greatness right now, visualize receiving a lifetime achievement award. What do you want the award to say on it?
Howard Schiffer, the Executive Director of Vitamin Angels, asked me to help him raise $100,000. Vitamin Angels met my basic requirement of something I would get involved in – they work towards positive change in the world – so I was keen to help. But I did have one problem with Howard’s request: he wasn’t aspiring for enough.
So I told Howard that I’d help—if we moved the decimal point one space to the right, changing our aspirational goal to a million dollars.
Vitamin Angels began with a campaign to distribute vitamins to the victims of the Northridge earthquake in Southern California, and has grown to be the world’s premier humanitarian effort in the natural products industry, committed to supplying vitamin supplements to pregnant women, new mothers and children in the world’s most nutritionally needy populations. To date, Vitamin Angels has helped 40 million children in 45 countries, including the US. In 2006, when Howard asked for help with fundraising, Vitamin Angels was at the tipping point. With an all-volunteer staff and funding partly supplied by Howard’s second and third mortgage on his house, but with excellent global potential, Vitamin Angels was ready for a financial boost.
The final result? We raised $1.5 million in cash and product donations for Vitamin Angels in one night—beyond all our expectation and half again our greatest aspirational goal. If Howard had asked me to help raise a million, I would have suggested we shoot for a $5 million. Of course we may not have raised $5 million, but by taking the steps to do so we would have set ourselves up to maximize our potential. Had we only aimed for the bare minimum expectation, well, that’s likely the best we would have done.
This is a dated example but one that has led to almost 10 years of additional fundraisers all with the goal of moving the amount raised higher and higher and yes, for the most part continuing to raise money for worthy charities as well as the organic Industry.
The thought here is not about numbers. The thought is that we must set our aspirational goals far above our expectations and formulate our plans for runaway success. Look at the aspirational giants of our current economy. They aspire to build a computer that people want to use. They do it. Then they aspire to sell it to everyone on the planet. They do it. Then they aspire to end world hunger. They’re working on it. Their aspiration never ends and yours shouldn’t either.
Imagine just for a moment that everyone around you says –“he/she thinks big”, or “go to he/she if you want big ideas”. Never play small. When you are thinking small, ask yourself why would I be thinking small right now? Is it because it’s safe? Am I scared? Do I not have the courage to think bigger?
To move toward your highest aspirations, try these three steps:
1-Visualize the next generation of your incredible, extraordinary you—your next leap, your next change-the-world vision, your next title, your next lifetime achievement award. Then sit with it. Internalize it. Don’t be bashful here. You are much more incredible and extraordinary than you give yourself credit for and if you can, really think about how incredible you are.
2-Acting as if this visualization has already happened. Adjust your alerts, and RSS feeds to give you the insights and industry understanding that you need. You will quickly become an expert and your fresh point of view will be powerful. Yes, powerful.
3-Tell your friends about your new aspiration and your new key insight and ask their opinion. They will direct and introduce you to the people you need to meet to facilitate this next generation of you.
Whatever you do in life, ask yourself how you can take it up a notch. Aspire to another level and remember it takes the same amount of work and effort to raise $1.5 million as it does $100,000. It takes the same energy to acquire a $100 million company as it does $1 billion, so make your goals and aspirations big, BIG! Internalize it, live it, share your unique perspective and meet new and interesting people and you will move to a new level. This opportunity hinges on your aspirations. So move the decimal point of your aspirations one or two digits to the right, and get it on! Aspire Higher than you ever dreamed and you will get further than you ever imagined.