You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Why You Should Set Radical Goals The next increment isn't the next big thing. Going big and thinking far into the future sets you free to excel.

By Jason Watt

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2000, I was hired to lead a Fishbird workshop with Monmouth University's men's basketball team. They were terrible. I lived within mere miles of the school and didn't know they existed. We began our session with one of the first and most important questions that I ask all of my clients, whether they're athletes or biotech engineers: "If anything were possible, what would you want?"
Almost unanimously, they declared they wanted 25 wins, which meant settling for five losses, until a freshman challenged them. Wouldn't they want to be undefeated? They rallied around the new goal. They would go undefeated and make it to the NCAA Tournament. They figured they would be the lowest seeded team and that they would play the first seed, Duke, in the first round.
That is exactly what happened. They went undefeated into the NCAA Tournament as the sixteenth seed. While they got crushed by Duke, they never said they would beat them.
Of all of the breakthrough stories to come out of Fishbird, this is one of my favorites. It perfectly illustrates how we get stuck in our preconceived ideas of what's possible and how we can break out of our mindset to go after something much bigger. Without radical goal setting, our futures end up looking like slightly better versions of our pasts. Instead of a future when anything is possible, we end up living into the already chartered waters of our history.

Related: Are You Actually Setting Goals? Probably Not. Here's How in 3 Steps

Here are five ways to set radical goals:

1. Ask yourself, "If anything were possible, what would I want?" Don't judge your ideas. Just write them down. This is essential to tapping into your passion and breaking from the gravitational pull of mediocrity.

2. Don't go short. Think in 20-, 50-, and 100-year increments. People get into the mindset of having quarterly and yearly numbers that they have to meet. (Just take a look at Congress). It's not a deep enough cut. To achieve greatness, you must think beyond how you'd naturally measure success. Think about where you want to be 20 years from now and the legacy you want to leave.

3. Don't ask for permission. Everyone is looking for someone to give them the go-ahead for their life. Stop looking. Give yourself the permission to go after what you want. If you step on people's toes, they aren't moving, they're standing still.
4. Don't worry about knowing how. If you're really setting a radical goal, you won't know how to make it happen. That's what makes it radical. If you have a pretty good idea how to complete a project, you are playing it safe. Safe isn't inspiring.
5. Untether yourself from the past. The past is your greatest ball-and-chain. A clear, radical goal can move you exponentially instead of linearly. Create the future from your imagination.

Related: How to Set the Right Goals for Your Business

Jason Watt

Partner, Smith

Jason Watt, Partner at Smith and CEO/Founder of Fishbird, an international executive coaching company that works with Fortune 500 corporations and top executives around the world. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Resumes & Interviewing

Build a Better Resume with This $35 Subscription

AI Resume Builder promises to help you apply to jobs twice as fast.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Business News

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.

Productivity

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

Leadership

You Won't Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

If you are a poor leader internally, you will be a poor leader externally.