I have come to see that what I call “My Crazy Goals” might simply be what others call “my life’s calling”.
I was watching Carrie Green speaking at TEDxManchester and she was talking about setting herself crazy goals and then setting out to achieve them. That wasn’t the main topic of her talk (which was about programming your mind for success) but it got me thinking. Could I create ambitious goals and if I did might I achieve them too?
This is the video
What happened when I embraced my crazy goals?
I started writing this post a few days ago. Then it was more to help me work out what I really wanted out of life. Not generally, I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. In fact, “wanted” might be too weak a word. Needed to be a writer, gets closer to the mark.
I confess that death is something that bothers me. I don’t want to die. Or rather, I don’t want to be dead. I want to live forever and write fiction and non-fiction alike. I want to see the future. However, nothing material is immortal. People, especially have only a limited time in this world. That has always bothered me. One life just is not enough to fully enjoy all this world has to offer.
Our cells live for a limited time, contribute to the health of the body, and then they pass away. It is the body as a whole that matters, not the individual cells.
What if society is the same. The human race is the body and we are just cells. If that is true then the human race is a body that is deeply lacking in health. If it is true then the best I can hope for is matter in the grand scheme of things. If only a very little bit.
After making my list of my crazy goals, long before I had seven items on my list, I discovered something strange. I discovered that I had made peace with my mortality. So long as I could fulfil those goals, I will have fulfilled my purpose in this life. If I can do that I will pass away (hopefully when I am very old) content that I have done what I was here to do.
My Crazy Goals
In my experience, a goal is not a goal until you have said it loud enough that you cannot take it back. Until you are ready to do that it is a nice idea at best.
In roughly ascending order of grandiosity, I want to:
- earn my living only through writing and related activities
- author an internationally acclaimed fictional franchise
- create the definitive go-to-site for authors and writers in the UK
- help at least one thousand people realise their dream of becoming a writer
- be invited to speak at a TED conference
- leave behind ideas and works that will be remembered long after I am forgotten
- establish an organisation that will continue my good works for generations
My crazy goal of earning my living through writing
Certainly not the easiest of ambitions this is a desire that has been with me since childhood. It never went away despite the well-intentioned attempts of many self-appointed mentors to make that happen.
With my health and mobility being far less than it was, writing is perhaps one of the few productive things I can do. Of all my crazy goals, this is perhaps the least crazy.
I am currently putting together a business plan to enable me to do just this. Not just me, but others with me. To start, this will only be open to members of the charity I chair.
My crazy goal of authoring an acclaimed franchise
I am sure most authors dream of writing a best seller. I would like that but this is not that goal. What I would like to do is create something that has sufficient, if maybe niche, popularity that it crops up in many mediums, and takes on a life of its own. Ideally the sort of franchise that gets its own yearly event.
The only way to do that is to write and keep writing. I planned to do that anyway.
The best candidates for this franchise at the moment are Maud (a novel I am working on) and That story with the cat in it (a comedy).
As a personal addition to this goal, I would love to see the TV series directed by Joss Whedon, have episodes written by Neil Gaiman, and guest star Wil Wheaton. You can probably guess from that list the sort of things I like to watch.
If I am still around, I would like to do a Stan Lee and pop up in the background from time to time.
My crazy goal which is basically Author Buzz UK
This goal is third because while it might be possible to make Author Buzz UK a national phenomenon as a total unknown, it would be so much easier once my first two goals are in sight.
For me, simply doing well as a writer is not enough. I want to help other people do well too.
This is possibly the only one of my life goals that everyone can help me with. Simply by creating a free account on Author Buzz UK and taking part in the community there, you help to make it a reality. Also, you get to be part of an amazing community of readers and writers. So there’s that too.
My crazy goal of helping 1000 writers
This might, at first glance, seem like an extension of the last goal. It is not. It runs in parallel to the previous goal and comes from the same source – my innate drive to make life better for those around me.
I started a writers group (Thanet Creative Writers) back in 2013 because I wanted to work with other people. That writer’s group became a charity. That charity is small and has helped a tiny handful of people. Through the charity and through Author Buzz UK I want to be able to count one thousand writers clearly and definitively helped to become writers.
The number is arbitrary – big but not impossible. The point is that I want to have helped a lot of people.
My crazy TED goal and other marks of success
I put being invited to do a TED talk as the goal because I see that as the apex moment. Along the way, I hope to enjoy other opportunities to share good ideas. Basically, this goal is that I want to be able to talk to audiences and have something to say that they want to hear.
Along the way:
- Writing for a national magazine
- Appearing on TableTop (I admit it, this is pure geek indulgence)
- Being a paid speaker at a festival
- Spending a block of time “on tour”
- Running a seminar series
My crazy goal of ideas that live on after me
It is all well and good wanting to have all the hallmarks of a successful career but if all I am is a lingering fashion, what have I achieved? Not a lot. Which is why this goal extends the previous ones. Not only should I have something to say that is worth hearing but it should encompass ideas in a way that live on many decades after me.
What better legacy for a writer can there be than to have expressed ideas in a way that those expressions are still making a difference generations later?
To positively influence society in a way that reverberates further into the future than I could ever know, that is the apex of my ambition. That is where it is all leading.
The craziest goal – an organisation to last for generations
Here, I realise, I may have already gotten started. After all, I helped to found a charity that could easily be the organisation this life goal calls for. While this, of all my crazy goals, might sound the most ambitious, it could actually be the one requiring the least effort. Even so, I will still need to work hard to inspire others to follow the dream of establishing a way to help people become writers.
The strange thing about articulating wild dreams
I have noticed these last few days that there is a strange effect from articulating wild dreams. Not day dreams but the wild “I really want to do this” dreams.
What happens is things change. At least my perceptions have.
Things that seemed important before have suddenly been shown as unimportant. I can, maybe for the first time, see what I want to say “yes” to and what I need to say “no” to.
The horror I feel that I will not alays be here has been repalced by the hope that my ideas will live on.
Also I feel calmer and more focused. Let’s hope it lasts.
What about your crazy goals?
Do you have any crazy sounding goals? Have you met any of them yet?
Tell me your thoughts int he comments below.