On October 5, 2007, I came home and told my wife something ridiculous.
Here is what I said:
“I’m going to speak at the Catalyst Conference someday.”
That was a ridiculous statement for a number of reasons. At the time, I had a blog about 50 people read every month. I hadn’t started Stuff Christians Like. I’d never spoken professionally. I was years away from writing a book.
But that was my goal. After watching 13,000 people laugh and learn and celebrate in the Gwinett Arena at one of the most amazing events I’d ever seen, I told my wife I’d do that someday.
In 48 hours, I’ll finish that goal.
This Friday, 5 years to the day, I’ll speak on the main stage for the first time. If you read Quitter, then you’ve read the chapter entitled “Wait on Main Stage.” This is the stage I was writing about.
Here are 3 things I learned about surviving a 5-year goal.
1. 100% of the goals you don’t start fail.
You have to start. Even if the desired outcome feels impossible or, in my case, ridiculous.
2. When you start a dream, your desire is always bigger than your talent.
If you asked me in 2007 if I was ready to speak at Catalyst, I would have told you, “Yes! I am awesome! So super awesome! I’m ready.” I was wrong. I had lots of desire and very little talent. Don’t feel cursed by how long it takes you to accomplish a goal. Time is often a gift because it allows your talent level to catch up to your desire level.
3. A goal isn’t the same thing as a finish line.
Want to turn a dream into a career? Don’t think of a goal as a finish line, think of it as a new starting line. Don’t get stuck in the accomplishment. Instead, get started again, sooner than you might like and faster than other people might understand. I’ll finish at Catalyst on Friday morning and then immediately drive to the airport to fly to Los Angeles. We’ve got an event there on Saturday. Catalyst is the end of one goal and the beginning of a new one.
I’m looking forward to Friday morning. Thanks for encouraging me along the way in the form of blog comments, tweets and other events.
Don’t give up on your 5-year goals or your 10-year goals or your 50-year goals. If they matter to you, you’ll make it through the years. And when you finish, I hope you’ll start again.
Do you have a multi-year goal right now?