Find a goal that scares the crap out of you

Do you have a career goal that makes you a little uncomfortable? You should.

This goal doesn’t have to be majestic, like ending world hunger. It can be specific to your profession, like helping every single customer find exactly the product they need. Or it can be personal, like saving enough to put three kids through college.

There are only 2 ground rules:

  1. Your goal has to expose you to a very real chance of failure.
  2. Your goal has to be big and important enough to proclaim a true purpose for your work.

As I’ve said before: If your goal is comfortable, it’s not big enough.

What do you stand for, really? What’s your career about? Once you figure that out, and then steer your life toward it, you can start to realize your true potential. This can be daunting to consider. (At least, it will be daunting if you’re doing it right.) But don’t play it safe.

Here, I’ll go first:

The goal that truly inspires me is teaching people how to become their most fascinating.

Why? Because when you fascinate, you communicate your best self. You are heard and remembered.

When you fascinate, you slice through distraction. You are not ignored or forgotten. You are not irrelevant. You have the chance to actually connect.

When you fascinate your customer, you sell more and earn more. When you fascinate your co-workers, they act upon your best ideas. By fascinating your employees, you’re motivating them to more fully engage.

When you fascinate your family, you build stronger trust.

Only by understanding your natural, authentic fascination strengths can others see your best self.

Then, and only then, can you start to make a real difference in this world.

As part of my goal, I’ll be launching the site in about a month.

Okay, that’s my goal that scares the crap out of me.
Your turn. Go.

(And remember: If your goal is comfortable, it’s not big enough.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Juicy tweetable bits for your following:

Do you have a goal that scares the crap out of you? You should. via @SallyHogshead

When you fascinate, your biggest ideas can actually make a difference. via @SallyHogshead

If your goal is comfortable, it’s not big enough. via @SallyHogshead

A big goal is one that exposes you to a very real chance of failure. via @SallyHogshead

When you fascinate, you communicate your best self. You are heard and remembered. 

When you fascinate, you slice through competition and distraction. via @SallyHogshead

When you fascinate your family, you build stronger trust. via @SallyHogshead


  1. Great. I was going to work on my goals today. I love the idea to be fascinating. Never heard of that. Eager for your new website to open. I signed up. My main goal is to help people take their next step in life whether it is personal development, financially, professionally, or most importantly, spiritually. Now that’s kind of scary, but that is what I was put on earth for. Thanks for another great post.

  2. Great post, need to really think on it

  3. I have a start-up company, Paver Patch. One of the products I invented is a traffic calming device, the Paver Rumble Strip. It alerts distracted drivers that they may be speeding or of impending intersections and crosswalks. To see what it looks like and how it works there is a video on my web site. It’s been a year since we our first installation and we are really starting to building demand with a lot of HOAs.
    Because of a rash of pedestrian fatalities in Las Vegas over the past few weeks the City of Las Vegas is now interested. They believe that the Paver Rumble Strips can save lives at dangerous crosswalks. Every day there is something encouraging that happens that gives me hope that I will achieve my big fat goal of marketing the Paver Patch products on a national scale.
    The part that scares the crap out of me?  Well, I’ve invested everything I had to get to this point. The financial support I though I was going to get from the company that manufactures my products fell through. I am barely hanging on financially while at the same time my company is finally gaining momentum. Failure (quitting) just isn’t an option. I have to find a way to pull this off.
    I was at the Gitomer Boot Camp last December (I’m sure that’s a seminar you won’t forget) and walked away with the courage and confidence to take on this goal and not quit, even in though I’m in way over my head and a lot more scared than I let on.
    Whew, thanks Sally, I feel better now. Time to get back to work.  You have  been a real inspiration in my marketing efforts.
    Matt… Power/Rebellion (formerly Vice)

  4. Love the title! – as the holidays approach the need to fine tune direction intensifies – Thanks for the ‘kick in the right direction’ – Success is not measured by heights attained, but by obstacles overcome.  by Anonymous

  5. I wandered over here from Jeffrey Gitomer’s newsletter so thanks for contributing to it. I like the idea that people need to find their goals intimidating. How else will you push yourself to really accomplish it if it’s not going to take massive effort?

    I think the key here is to break it down to steps that aren’t as scary so you’ll actually begin doing something. As Lao Tsu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The journey may scare the crap out of you, but the first step shouldn’t. 

  6. My issue is whether my goal is ridiculous. Because I’d like to monetize my blog, but my blog isn’t related to my career as a graphic designer. It IS related to why I wanted to become a graphic designer (I was obsessed with fashion magazines and fashion photography as a teen), so…at what point do I decide that I am scared because the idea is bad to begin with?

  7. I love reading your passion in your words. One can clearly sense your deep desire to expose the gift of fascination to the world. Looking forward to reading further posts. :)

  8. Hi Sally,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Right now I’m in a situation where I have to choose between a well paid job as software developer at great company in a part of the city that I like and a job as responsible of a small company giving me the opportunity to develop myself as a truly entrepreneur.
    It’s the latter that scare the crap out of me. Although to be an entrepreneur and to be really skilled in running a company is one of my dreams  I’ve little experience as entrepreneur. The risk of failure is there, absolutely. The other job isn’t without risks but it feels a lot more comfortable.
    So my election is between to take the chance and try to make my dreams come true or continue a comfortable not so bad carrier as developer and technician waiting for another chance when I feel I can take the financial risks that always an entrepreneurial  carrier involves.
    I think I got a hint from your article here.
    Warm regards

  9. As always a great articles!:)
    My goal is to have a website dedicated to giving people hope/faith/motivation with a blog and have it up & running by end of 1st qtr 2012.

  10. Hello Sally. I recently retired and startred an encore career with one of my former clients. After about six months of solid success I’ve set very ambitious sales goals for 2012. When I met with my  ( now ) team to discuss how we would meet the goals together, they were delighted but somewhat skeptical. My first goal was getting them to believe in the goals as deeply as I do. During the last month an additional opportunity preseted itself to me, and I’m also running with it as well. My point; the goals are challenging and yes somewhat scary. Thanks for the affirmation that I moved in the right direction. Retirement is great ! 

  11. My goal is so big and scary it feels presumptuous to think I could even begin to achieve it.  It involves changing the mindset of an entire industry!  But here it is:  Make 3D renderings and home visualization as indispensable for home construction and remodeling projects as blueprints are now. 
    Does that make me fascinating?  Not so sure about that.  But I know I believe it in whole-heartedly!  And maybe THAT makes me fascinating….
    You can read my blog post about my big goal here:

  12. I love the Tweetables at the end.  What a great closer.  :)



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