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  • Writer's pictureLacy Starling

#44: The Big Scary

In the Intentional Business strategic planning process, once a company has gotten their story straight, the next step is what I like to call "The Big Scary." This is the act of setting a big, scary target. (Hence the name.) The Big Scary is the target that you are a little afraid to say out loud. The one that makes you kinda nauseated, but also super excited at the same time.

Sometimes, business owners (and especially women business owners) are afraid to admit they have big dreams. They feel like people might think they are silly, or over-ambitious, or crazy. It can be REALLY scary to admit out loud your biggest wishes, because what if they don't come true? How silly will you look then? Will you have failed? Will people say "I told you so?"

Let's address those things one at a time. People *might* think you are silly, or over-ambitious, or crazy. That's on them. The point of a strategic plan is to figure out a way to get to your Big Scary in due time. You aren't saying you are going to be a millionaire tomorrow. You are saying you're gonna work hard toward a multi-million dollar valuation of your company. (Or whatever your particular target is.) I'm not encouraging you to just shout out some crazy big target in order to do it. I'm encouraging you to think BIG and then figure out how you are going to get there.

So what if your Big Scary doesn't come true? Maybe you'll pivot to a different target. Maybe you'll decide that Big Scary wasn't as important to you after all. (I had a client who, for YEARS, said he wanted a billion-dollar company, and after a loooooooong time of slogging along making moves focused solely on that, decided what he really wanted was a very profitable, stable company that provided him with a great income. No shame in that switch.) And maybe you'll miss your Big Scary but still end up someplace amazing. I hate that saying about "shooting for the moon and landing in the stars" because it doesn't make any astronomical sense, but I can certainly buy into the sentiment. Aim high. Shoot for the moon. See what happens.

And yes, if you fail to hit your Big Scary, people will say "I told you so." So what? Did they do it? Did they help you work toward your target, or just stand by and wait for the failure? And do you really care about the opinion of someone who would lord a perceived failure over someone else? Get those people out of your life—they are toxic and aren't going to help you get where you want to go. (And if you are related to those people, just reduce contact and keep the conversations with them about the weather or their kids or whatever. Don't invite them into your inner circle. Trust me, it works like a charm.)

At the end of the day, you didn't start a business because you were afraid of risk, or timid, or scared of what might happen. You started a business because you are a crazy bold visionary who has big dreams and the determination to make them happen. Don't let anyone cast a shadow on that. Declare your Big Scary and then get to work. You got this.

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