Should You Declare Your Goals Out Loud?

If you watch sports, you constantly see athletes telling everyone they're the greatest.

And sometimes their prophecy of greatness comes true, and it's mesmerizing.

So is that how we should do it? If we're not where we want to be, is that the path we should take?

Should we go around the office telling everyone we're going to be CEO?

Should we tell all our friends we're going to invent the next Facebook?

Should we tell all our peers we're going to be #1 in the world?

Is that what we're missing?

In my coaching career, the most spectacular failures were from athletes who went around boasting outlandish goals. Not only did these blowhards not make it, they flamed out horribly.

Interestingly, the ones who did make it big went about their business quietly, never bragging or predicting. They had personal dreams that they expressed only to themselves (or their coach), and never to the world.

So what should we do?

On one hand, bragging out loud gets the ball rolling. It can get you attention you never had. It can open doors that might be currently closed. It can get you clicks and Twitter followers and mentions, which can then move your plans forward. 

Saying goals out loud can also provide inspiration and work ethic. Telling a team that's never won a championship that they're going to win a championship can cause a shift in thinking and intensity. Saying dreams publicly can provide the social contract that forces a group to start doing the work-- and keep doing the work.

But it can also backfire terribly.

Saying a dream out loud can shrivel that dream almost immediately. Saying you want to be a writer, for example, will invite skepticism from friends and family, filling you with doubt and forcing you to defend yourself rather than work on the goal itself.

By being public, every failure is magnified and fear can keep you from fixing the problem. The pain can become so great that the avoidance of fear can become the #1 priority. 

Worse, declaring dreams out loud can take something beautiful and destroy it from the inside out.

Remember the scene from Stand By Me when Gordie was all alone and saw that deer? Even though it was a powerful, special moment, he never told his friends. Why? Because saying it out loud would destroy the beauty of his memory.

There's nothing wrong with audacious goals. In fact, they're necessary to make change.

But consider keeping it to yourself.

After the hard work has been put in and the goal has been accomplished, there will be plenty of time to discuss all the amazing things you've done.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.