Finding the Balance Between Big and Small Thinking


Looking back at my childhood, I realized that my dreams were big. As kids, we never knew how to limit ourselves, so we dream big. Then, growing up happens and this thing called “reality” sets in. Experiences and our instinct to protect ourselves from failure and disappointment kicks in and slowly, we start to limit ourselves. We draw this circle around us called our comfort zone and god forbid if we leave it.

However, limiting ourselves doesn’t get us anywhere. It keeps us “safe”. That’s it. It’s not even the real kind of safe. It’s just being comfortable and escaping our fears.

I noticed that as an adult I learned to think small. I set goals that were safe and would not make me leave my comfort zone. I started to work on this issue and that’s why I am here now. I pushed myself, told myself (as the line in Mean Girls would say), “The limit does not exist.” It’s a constant battle. At every turn, I could hear myself, no, that’s not realistic.

Here’s the thing though, as I kept pushing and pushing, I realized that I needed both. I needed to think big and think small at the same time but I need to use them at the right places.

Story time. As Alla and I started this company, I asked her - what’s your target revenue? Your ultimate goal. She said, millions, of course. I quickly gave a nervous laugh and told her - that’s too much. She turned and said, why? Don’t ever tell yourself that. At that point, I realized, here I go again. Limiting myself.

So where does the balance lie? In that example - thinking big is your big goal. Thinking small will be your milestones. So I set out to draft the milestones. Hit this by this time. Do this. Do that. Think of it this way - the forest is the big goal. That’s thinking big. How do you get that? You plant trees one at a time - this is where thinking small helps.

My point - think small only if you’re using that to think big.

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