Focus on the Way, Way Ahead

I work out almost every day. Out of a month, I miss maybe one or two days of physical activity of some sort. My favorite of late has been riding my bike for a couple hours. Usually I start in Venice from where I live and ride down to Manhattan Beach and back. I don’t stop and It takes me about two hours. I don’t have an expensive bike or a racing bike I just have a hybrid road, beach cruiser so it takes some effort.

Because I’m a multi-tasker extraordinaire, I do other things while I’m riding my bike. I listen to instructional audiobooks in foreign languages. I learned Spanish this way and I’m now working on Dutch. I also listen to audiobooks. I’ve “read” some of the world’s great literature. I’ve read all the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction since the time they were available on audiobooks. I’ve read most of the great business books, and many self-help and inspirational books, books on manifesting and even guided meditation (which is great to do when you’re exercising).

I’ve learned from many of these books to not get distracted by what is directly in front of me, but instead look ahead at my goals, and trust that the universe will show me the way. I have found this advice to be quite helpful. As a business founder and CEO, it is too easy to become bogged down in all the little problems that come at me every single day. If I spent all my time focused on day-to-day problems, I don’t think I would ever achieve my important long-term goals. I just wrote a Medium article about this concept called, “The Big Goal.”

On occasion, when I ride my bike, I like to let go of the handlebars, sitting and pedaling, hands free, and if I hold out my arms, it feels like I am flying. This takes a lot of balance and core strength, but it also takes something else. It takes the right kind of focus. If I am looking around at all, or even directly in front, I can’t do it. The only way I can accomplish this is to pick a point way, way ahead, as far as I can see, and focus on that. If I do it the way I just described, I can ride without holding the handlebars almost endlessly.

As usual, sports provide an excellent metaphor for life. I now realize that I need to write down my goal that is far, far ahead, otherwise known as Big Audacious Goal (or BAG) or sometimes called Big Outrageous Goal (BOG) and then I need to focus on those and the smaller day-to-day tasks that will lead me there. Of course, I still have to do the annoying day-to-day things that have nothing to do with my BAG, like pay bills and answer emails, but I should finish those as quickly as possible, and most importantly, not get distracted by other goals — no matter how tempting or essential they may seem. Put into terms that even I can understand, I will not get distracted by the bicycle I’m passing, or the two bikes that are coming toward me, or the pod of dolphins off to my left, the sailboat speeding by on my right, but with the wind at my back, that point up ahead where the detail is cloudy and obscured either by dense morning fog or smoky particles from wildfires, but that I know is there.

I supplement my bike riding with trips to the gym where I saw a friend this morning. He’s the President of a startup company with four or five business channels. I asked him how business was coming along. He said fantastic, but the founder and CEO of the company, who I also know, was frequently getting distracted by additional opportunities. This guy is smart, talented and game so naturally people want to work with him. I get it. It’s hard to turn down good opportunities, but if it is interfering with your Big Audacious Goal, you have to be more focused. One of my core values is Discernment. In other words, be careful and discerning about when I say yes.

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I recommend to only have two or three BAGs. I have found that our bandwidth as humans is limited. Just like the prism of light, we only have a handful of colors in us. As I grow older, this reality becomes more and more pressing.

My original big goal was to sell 10,001 books. I had all kinds of smaller goals to help me reach that, things like school events and marketing campaigns. But that is not really my BAG. That, my friends, is to be the A. A. Milne, Mr. Rogers or the Dr. Seuss of my generation — to create a world and a group of characters with stories that will change a child’s life. More than that, I want to be a woman in that very category. Selling 10,001 books (now 100.001 books) is just one step in my journey toward that. School and community events are as well. The animated or live action television show that I am working on could be an important component. Cool products that support my goal — like my patented SeedPops selling in many stores and hopefully soon with a book, definitely supports my BAG. Finding collaborators that share my vision to help me on my journey will only help. By the way, obstacles and rejection can also be distractions. Don’t fall for them. I am not going to let the studios that said no to my television show idea cause me to fall off my bike. I’m going to keep going, potholes be damned. I didn’t do that with my books, and now I am an author with Penguin Random House with five books already published.

Every day, I try to do at least one thing that will push me forward through the fog and smoke — one thing that will keep me moving closer to my BAG.

Are you focusing on the way, way ahead? Have you defined your Big Audacious Goal? Let us know what it is and list five things you have done to move towards it.

Founder of Bloomers Island. Published children’s book author at PRH. Writes about big kid’s stuff like economics & business, too.

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