If Your Dreams Don’t Make You Nervous, Are They Big Enough?

For many, we are welcoming 2021 with open arms. As the calendar turns, the new year is an opportunity to complete old projects and lay out new goals. How we define our goals for the new year often comes in three different approaches, all which must be utilized to reach those dreams.

First, there are the easy goals which take limited work to complete. Although there is little impact or growth gained, we design a goal like this so we can feel good about accomplishing steps along the way. 

Next are setting challenging goals which are not designed to last very long but can mark progress and provide incentives to keep moving forward. Unless this step is part of a bigger dream, we could be in the same shoes this year as last year. 

Finally, there must be goals which excite you, but knowingly understand it will take dedication to achieve. These are the goals which scare people because they are so big. The fear of failure often overtakes our ambitions and we end up not even trying. But in the end, doing nothing often costs us more.

As many would attest, setting a goal is the easy part. Putting the goal into action and then putting in the work to complete it is the hard part. Think of some of the most successful people in our world today such as Apple creator Steve Jobs, Tesla and Space Ex CEO Elon Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

Beyond a doubt, if we could have asked them in the planning phases whether they were scared of launching something so big, their responses would be: “Yes!” Even these famous cultural icons were venturing into unknown territory and were likely scared of what could happen.

Being on edge is good. Let the edge motivate you to give it all you have. After all, the first person holding you back is YOU.

I reflect back on conversations with Mark Graff, Dale Dueland, Doug Skiles, Don Harpst, and other McCook Community Foundation Fund board members. One notable challenge that stuck with me is the Sherwood Challenge in 2012 where MCFF had to raise $500,000 for a matching $250,000. At the time, it seemed like a campaign that would be way over their head. 

But, through their determination and the community’s generosity, MCFF grew the endowment by $750,000 or a 100% increase in our unrestricted endowment – and a benefit to the entire community for generations to come.

And over the years, there have been many other examples in our community of people willing to take a change, willing to take a risk, willing to push the envelope. From the founders of McCook in the 1880s to our youth stepping up to spearhead a skate park. From founding the YMCA in 1918 and then having the tenacity to move and build another entirely new building 1981. Consider all the countless businesses and organizations which have started or been formed in our community over the years. People used to dream big and then worked to make those dreams happen.

Looking forward, MCFF is working to “Make McCook a Better Place To Call Home,” which is a bold vision.

To do this, we have laid out goals to build relationships and community partnerships to better enhance our community leaders and organizations. We also have identified areas we feel as vital for our community development and growth. Combining these is what we believe is the recipe for success to make our community one of the very best in the Midwest. 

As we enter 2021, ask yourself or your organization: Is this goal something that can be too easily achieved? Is there more in the tank that we can and need to do for this community to thrive? What does one set bigger look like? What does two steps bigger look like? How does something bigger impact my community and others?

Welcoming a new year is great as it comes with a fresh start. I pray that you can utilize that fresh start and find a goal big enough that makes you nervous to stimulate true change for the future.

Gavin enjoyed his time on MCFF’s Youth Change Reaction group at McCook High School so much he was gone only a few years before returning and is now vice chairman of MCFF.

This article was authored by Gavin Harsh and submitted by Ronda Graff of the McCook Community Foundation Fund.

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