Goal-setting like kids

It has been established that one of my favorite things about my kids, even when it’s simultaneously maddening, is their unreasonableness.

Because they are unreasonable.


Especially the youngest one, who has that toddler’s expectation that she can smack me in the face, pull my hair, and then sweetly sign “water”, and I’ll come running with it.

She dares to ask, and to anticipate, what most of us wouldn’t even dream.

And I think we need a lot more of that.

Not the smacking and hair-pulling, of course, but the rather outrageous demands: those we need more of.

What would a ridiculous goal look like in your area of work? For Room to Read, it’s every child (every) in the world learning to read. For one of my clients, it’s providing a service to every single person who contacts the organization, no exceptions. Some organizations working on homelessness have staked a claim to the goal of ending chronic homelessness, starting with specific cities.

I guess what I think, when I see my kids expecting that they can build a tower that will defy the laws of gravity or convince me to bring them yet another cup of water at 2AM, is that I’m tired of goals that are strategic, measurable, actionable, realistic, and targeted.

You know?

We need to end poverty and close gender pay gaps and ensure that every child starts school ready to learn.

And we need to do it soon.

So we don’t need more sophisticated ‘adult’ understanding of the constraints of reality.

Those voices are in our heads all the time already.

We need more outrageous goals, a focused determination to reach them no matter what, and the tenacious (read: stubborn) insistence of my children that other people drop everything and come along with us.

If you need any mentors in this field of audacious goal-setting, I have four experts in mind.

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