Dreaming Big, I Mean Really Freaking Big

January 20, 2012

Posted in General and Strategic Planning.

Huge! by http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertgalloway/4552947578/

My new boss, Jim, started on Monday of this week. He’s a storyteller by nature, so we’re going get along very well. It’s always nice learning new things from people, but if I’ve learned anything so far from him, it’s that it’s impossible to think too big.

Listening to his stories about the people and places and projects from his life, it’s clear that he goes big.

It’s made me realize that I (and many, too many of us) think small. We try to work within the limits, the confines, the parameters of our world. My last post discussed the $20 million exercise where participants brainstorm what they would do if money were no issue.

Jim told us stories where he pitched business titans, famous names we’d all recognize, and ended up working with major brands throughout his career. And the way he tells it, he didn’t earn it through his reputation – he earned it through dreaming big and taking risks.

It reminded me of my first company, when my business partner and I pitched a big client. We were sitting across the boardroom table from the CEO of a $100 million/year company telling him we could solve his problems. We were maybe 23 years old, but he told us he was impressed that we had the balls to even be there. That’s what landed us the business, our fearlessness.

There’s a Japanese proverb that goes, “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” It speaks to conformity. This attitude stifles creativity. If you’ve been pounded down so many times that you can’t be creative, that you defend yourself as pragmatic, realistic, and practical, then you’re missing opportunities to do big things. There’s a time and place for all that, but when it comes to doing great things, those words aren’t in the recipe.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share some techniques to think bigger, to explode your creativity. Some will be useful in strategic planning. Others are key to marketing success.

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