“A meaningful life is the result of being crystal clear why we’re here.” – Sam Horn
Did you know a recent Gallup poll reported 70% of people are “unhappy and uninspired at work.” Yikes. Do you know someone who feels like this? The question is, “How can we reverse this ennui and create a more meaningful life and career now … not someday?”
How? By following the example of the presenters I saw in action at the NOVUS Summit at the United Nations.
Every single one of these inspring individuals – from X Prize’s Anousheh Ansouri to astronaut Yvonne Cagle to Rob Wolcott of TWIN Global, Craign Hatkoff of Tribeca Film Festival, Lara Stein of TEDx Global, David Katz of Plastic Bank, and event organizer Kunal Sood are crystal clear WHY they’re here.
The theme of the summit was “MOONSHOTS: Making the Impossible Possible” and they’ll all doing just that by launching MOONSHOTS that give meaning and momentum to their days and that are using the United Nations SBG 17 goals to achieve positive change.
What is a moonshot?
Well, John F. Kennedy is famous for standing before Congress on May 25, 1961, and proposing that the US “should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
To me, a moonshot is a “strategically-selected, values-based goal that gives us something purposeful to work towards and look forward to.”
Do you have a moonshot? Something that gives you a meaningful NEXT? I think it’s the secret to a life that has meaning and momentum, a life that gives you opportunities to :
* leverage your EEE – your Experience, Expertise, Epiphanies
* stretch yourself and turn status quo into status grow
* meet new people, explore new places, collect new dots
* contribute to your full potential so you feel you’re making a difference
* add value to the world and help you lead and leave a lasting legacy?
I presented a workshop on how to do this for National Speakers Association, and promised participants I’d distill and share what we discussed so they could delve into the exercises and discuss their insights with friends, family members and colleagues at work.
Hope these questions kick-start your clarity on a moonshot – a meaningful next – that lights you up just thinking about it.
1. What is a a MOONSHOT that would put the light on in my eyes?
“You’ve got to have a dream for a dream to come true.” – Walt Disney
Many people tell me they don’t dream anymore – it’s too painful. As one exhausted young woman told me, “I’m a single mom with two kids, one with special needs. It’s all I can do to get through the day.. Dreaming isn’t an option. I just don’t have the time or energy.”
I told her, “That’s exactly why it deserves to be an option. You need something that gives you hope, impetus and forward momentum. Otherwise, one week looks like the next and before you know it, years pass by and you’re left wondering, ‘What happened?!”
Pick something, a person you want to re-connect with, an art class you can take once a month, that lights you up just thinking about it. We need a NEXT in our life so we have what the Japanese call IKIGAI, a reason to get up in the morning.
This Happiness Box can help you identify ONE THING you can do – even in the midst of your many responsibilities – that helps you feel you’re making the most of life now, not later.
2. How Can I Talk Myself INTO My Moonshot Instead of OUT of It?
“May our choices reflects our hopes, not our fears.” – Nelson Mandela
A college student saw an announcement for her dream job but it required a business degree, which she didn’t have yet. She almost talked herself out of applying, but then saw Nelson Mandela’s quote and realized her fears were holding her back from what she wanted.
She submitted her resume and explained she was working her way through college and was in charge of an on-campus community service club. She got the job, and is so grateful she went for what she wanted instead of letting her doubts talk her out of even applying.
Are you indulging in doubts? Are you telling yourself, “This will never happen?” That’s called failure-forecasting. Follow her example and talk yourself INTO pursuing your dream instead of OUT of even trying.
Want more ways to hack your fears? Check out this story of a woman who overcame her fear of the ocean (and sharks!) by making the dauting do-able.
3. What is a significant launch date I will put on my calendar for my Moonshot?
“At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results.” – Chuck Yeager
Are you promising yourself you’ll launch that project, write that book, take that vacation, start that podcast, take your business on the road, join the Chamber of Commerce … when you’re not so busy? There will ALWAYS be reasons to wait, but waiting is a path to regrets.
Please understand, you’ll never have more time than you have right now. Pick a launch date that is significant for you – a birthday? an anniversary? – and circle it on your calendar. Then POST a picture of your Moonshot (a draft cover of your book? you finishing a triathlon?) where it’s in-sight, in-mind so it doesn’t drift out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
4. How Can I Create a Moonshot that Combines My Passion and Profession?
“To do what you love and feel that it matters; how could anything be more fun.” – Katherine Graham
We can have the best of both worlds right now by integrating our work and recreation. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. After sharing this suggestion at a program I was doing for Nationwide, our event photographer came up and said, “THAT’S ME! I’ve worked here in IT for twenty years. I pretty much came in, did my job, and went home. I was on automatic pilot, just going through the motions.
Last year, a coworker asked me to take pictures of a fashion show for the women’s professional development network. I did a good job, word got around, and now I’m the go-to photographer for retirement parties, birthday parties and the Leadership Speaker Series.
This place has turned into my own private Cheers. Everyone knows my name. I look forward coming to work now because every week is different. I get to meet new people, do what I love AND get paid for it. Does it get better than that?”
How about you? Instead of silo’ing your hobby and career and seeing them as separate, could you combine them? Here’s a wonderful story of someone who did just that.
5. How Can I Win Buy-In to My NEXT So It Adds Value for All Involved?
“The best moonshots are ‘rising tide’ inititaives that elevate all involed.” – Sam Horn
If you want people to support your Moonshot, it’s important to figure out why it’s to their advantage to do so. , the best way to get a YES is to ask yourself, “Why will they say NO?” Anticipate their objections (“We don’t have the money,” “You’ve already got too much on your plate,” and address how you’ve already factored that in so it’s a non-issue.
For example, an employee wanted a promotion but there was a “hiring freeze” and a bottleneck into management so her chances of advancing were next to nothing. Instead of being a waiter, she became an initiator. She was active in Toastmasters and thought hosting a club for their company would add value and give executives an opportunity to witness her leadership abilities first hand.
She did her research before pitching. She identified a conference room that wasn’t being used so they had a cost-free, accessible location. She cited studies that showed that learning to be a better public speaker would help employees’ career AND the company by improving their ability to speak clearly and confidently with customers and co-workers. She volunteered to organize and host the meetings. She got that promotion because she took responsibility for creating a “rising tide” activity that elevated all involved.
6. How can I go it together on my Moonshot instead of going it alone?
“People can’t jump on your bandwagon if it’s parked in the garage.” – Sam Horn
Captian Ray Ashley had a dream of building a replica ship, the San Salvador, as a project for the San Diego Maritime Museum. He made a brilliant decision to build it in PUBLIC (right by a busy freeway near the airport) instead of in PRIVATE (where it’d be out-of-sight-out-of-mind). Thousands of people streamed by every day and were so inspired by the sight of this ship they volunteered to help. Over the next few years, those volunteers averted disaster because of their six degrees of separation. For example, the cost of lead (needed for the hull) skyrocketed and they could no longer afford it. They launched a “Get the lead out” campaign and a volunteer connected them with a contractor who DONATED the exact amount of lead needed. Never would have happened if there hadn’t been a community of people who had this project’s back and front.
Please understand it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help; it’s a sign of strength. Who is an expert in this area who has “been there, run that” you can ask for advice? What is a support group you can join so you can be infused with their energy? Where is a co-working place you could “rent a desk” so you’re surrounded by an encouraging community?
Click here for an inspiring story of how my son got his bandwagon out of the garage and built a non-profit from scratch that has benefitted thousands of young people.
7. Launch your MOONSHOT today … not someday.
“One day you’re going to wake up and there won’t be any time left to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.” – Paulo Coelho
Life is too precious to postpone. Do you know how precious is defined? “Too valuable to waste or treat carelessly.” Many of us say we value our life, health, freedom and potential, but we’re treating them carelessly.
Glenna Salsbury, former President of National Speakers Association, says there are four things we can do if we’re not happy with a situation. We can AVOID it, ACCEPT it, get ANGRY about it, or ALTER it.
The first three reactions don’t do anyone any good. If you want a more meaningful NEXT, if you want to add purpose to your days, you can. All you have to do is ALTER what is:
1. Clarify a meaningful Moonshot and post it where it’s in-sight, in-mind.
2. Talk yourself INTO your Moonshot instead of OUT of it.
3. Put a launch date on the calendar for your Moonshot.
4. Combine your passion and profession so you blend the best of all worlds.
5. Make your Moonshot a “rising tide” win that elevates all invoved.
6. Work on your Moonshot in public instead of keeping it private.
7. Set your Moonshot in motion today … not someday.
By the way, I’m speaking from experience about the value of launching a MOONSHOT. Four years ago, I took my business on the road for my Year by the Water. It was a magical experience that would NOT have happened if I hadn’t taken the above steps.
Writing about those travels and sharing them in my new book SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the WeekSomeday is Not a Day in the Week gave me what the Japanese call IKIGAI, a reason to get up in the morning.
What’s yours? I’d love to hear what lights you up – what you’re working towards – and how it has impacted your life. Who knows? Your story may be just the right words at the right time to inspire someone else to launch their moonshot … now not later.
After all, NOW is the new LATER.
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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker – is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved. Her books Tongue Fu! POP!, and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times, on NPR and taught to Boeing, Intel, ASAE, Cisco, Capital One and NASA.