“Make no little plans”

Joanne and I just returned from several days in Chicago – our annual pre-Christmas jaunt to relax, enjoy the lights, and celebrate Joanne’s birthday.  We ate at our favorite restaurants, strolled through the decorated stores, browsed in art galleries, enjoyed the Donny and Marie Osmond Christmas Show at the beautiful Oriental Theatre and talked with friendly people everywhere.  Having done this for many years now, we are quite familiar with the Magnificent Mile, the Water Tower and other notable landmarks.  The primary architect behind the beautiful layout that preserved the Chicago lakefront was Daniel H. Burnham.  Burnham presented his most ambitious work, the Plan of Chicago, in 1909.

Burnham is noted for one famous quotation which is still seen at multiple places around Chicago, including at the base of the Willis (Sears) Tower:

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.” Daniel H. Burnham

Now there’s a challenge – make no little plans!  As we start a New Year make sure that the plans you are making are big enough to excite and motivate you.  Risk more, stretch more, and make more mistakes.  Remember, the cautious never reach new shores or climb big mountains.  If there were not the possibility of failure, the thrill of victory would be missing.  If you want to travel more, double or triple your income, invent the next Frisbee or launch the next Starbucks, you must set big goals.  Greatness and a unique calling are not reserved for pastors, celebrities and artists.  All of us have in our heart the image of the person we can be and the life we can live.

I’m planning to complete two major book projects in 2012 and four additional 48Days products. I also want to book 36 significant speaking events this next year.  I want to purchase a very meaningful sculpture and get down to my college weight of 165. I might also add that I always set my goals so I have about a 50-50 chance of hitting them.  I like to “dream big” and then enjoy the process of incremental success.  So if I “only” produce 1 new books and 3 additional products, that will still be light years ahead of the average guy on the street who’s dreaming of writing a book someday.

What are your “big plans” for 2012?

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  • Sue

    I am going to take your advice and plan BIG. I never thought of deliberately planning more than I could most likely achieve! Perhaps in planning big I will put the fear of failure behind me forever. Thank you for inspiring me.

  • Pei Kang

    Thank you for the blog. I needed to hear that! This morning I shared with my husband Joel about the new goals scare me quite a bit. Then I realized this is when I can rely on God. And I believe He would be pleased when I put faith on Him and labor on His behalf. Something amazing also happened. I wrote down a lady’s name on the goal list, because I need her service to achieve one of my goals. A day later she called me and offered to give me the service as a gift, because of a small favor I did for her a while back!

  • Regina

    I own a small, home-based business. I am going to plan big by projecting three times the previous year’s income. I am producing a marketing plan and will follow it without fail. If I only double last year’s income, I, like you with your writing goals, will have improved greatly. Please keep your inspiration coming!

  • Cam

    Hi Dan,
    2011 is my year for marketing!
    I just finished relaunching http://www.reflectivebiblestudy.com and the intro study. Now I am ten percent done 🙂 🙁
    The 90% is a huge hill, but I know that 2011 will be a success, because each week I will be making progress and planting seeds that will grow in the future.
    Thank you for all the encouragement that you have offered throughout 2010, and I know that 2011 will be the best year yet!

  • My BIG plans for 2011:
    Begin every day with devotional and set a daily task list to achieve.
    Increase assets under management by $10 million.
    Give at least 10% to charitable organizations.

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  • oprah’s replacement

    I wrote my plans out yesterday. God said write it and make it plain! I made it plain! I am plan to pay off all credit card debit and have at least 6 months of expenses by April. I also plan to start writing a book, lauching my coaching website, and working with other friends on ways to execute thier plans. I have decided that lunches with friends will primarily be used to meet to discuss goals and to hold each other accountable for greatness. The need to gossip and discuss matters you can’t control will no longer be the purpose. All of these items are huge, but the largest for me is to put my self in positions where I can submit more to my husband. Yes, I said it:) I am a type A and I am learning that I am not suppose to rescue all the time, so this year I a will practice being rescued!

    Blessings to all those who have dreams, big or small. Know that God
    has great things in store for you! I can’t wait to see the storehouse of blessings he has waiting for me to serve others:)

  • Joyce

    I have huge dreams and big plans for 2012. I am 63 yrs old, recently retired and ready to do all the things that I have dreamed about in my past years. I have started a website call crossacrossamerica.webs.com, I have written a book,taught it three times and plan on self-publishing it this year. I have another book halfway through the completion process, I have joined the local art guild to pursue my photography and am planning a book with my photos and my inspirational writing. That’s the tip of the iceberg. I’m excited about life for 2011. Thanks for all you do to encourage folks to be all that we can be.

  • Santos

    I am on course to enter into facilitating parenting classes in Spanish at my church. I know that it will be a profitable venture since in my area their are very limited services in Spanish. I am also scheduled to take a three day course that will lead to a written certification exam to become a court interpreter. I am very excited and have been more than encouraged by the community here at 48 days! God bless! Happy New Year!

  • Dan Ward

    Excellent points! The Daniel Burnham quote will be on my planning list. I especially like the idea of setting high enough goals that you only have a 50-50 chance of hitting them. This has been my problem so far – I’ve only looked at setting 100% achievable goals.
    I plan to take the first few weeks of the year to do a self-evaluation (and encourage my wife and kids to do the same). I will then pray on these things as I discuss them with my wife to determine a path forward.
    While my work will certainly be a part of this plan, I will also include my retirement and leisure, as well as how I can become a more active and efficient volunteer chaplain to my community.
    Thanks again for the great ideas and all you do to help people like me realize our dreams. The best of the New Year to you and yours.

  • Mark Cook

    This morning while journaling during my devotions, I began putting in writing what God has put in my mind. I am a 45-year-old former banker and financial professional who is now in seminary pursuing my Master’s degree and a new life. My wife and I like missions trips, the outdoors, and I love to teach the Bible and leadership. I believe that God is calling me to begin a retreat/camping/outdoor adventure company that specializes in helping people find and pursue their calling in life, and leading short-term mission teams to do projects overseas helping career missionaries. I wrote these things down on New Year’s Day, then read your newsletter with the Burnham quote. It made me reflect on my plans: they are big, and they do stir my blood!

  • Wow – lots of great plans here. And yes, sometimes it’s surprising to people when I say I set my goals so I have about a 50-50 chance of hitting them. But think about it. If a salesperson made $50K this year and they set their goal to make $100K in 2011. They learn better methods of networking and closing sales. At the end of the year they hit $80K but not $100K. Are we going to see that person as having “failed?” Not at all. That increase is amazing! If we use as the definition of success: “The progressive realization of worthwhile goals” then any movement toward the achievement of a goal is “success.”

  • Raphael Husbands

    My plans for 2011 include finding Work that I love and doubling my income. Also, attending at least 4 seminars/ conferences and taking a real vacation for the first time. My plans also include becoming fluent in Spanish and publishing at least 1 magazine. I also plan on creating new bible study and fitness regimens for 2011. This new year will also find me taking college courses and reaching out to my 25-people-I’d-like-to-meet list. I also have other goals planned I won’t take time to list. Even though this sounds like possibly too many, I actually believe I can pull off my ambition plans. They should all be doable since they are in different areas and some can be worked on simultaneously, I just need to manage my time wisely.
    Here’s to 2011 and I pray that all of you will see your goals fulfilled.

  • Nice!

    1) Following the “bible in a year plan” with 3 other guys and blogging about it.

    2) No watching TV at home! Use that time more wisely and effectively.

    3) Make at least $100 a month in online income via blogging.

  • DEE

    My 2011 Goals:

    1. Sleep in less.
    2. Using my love and talent in dance to bring in extra income.
    3. Create and stick to a schedule in order to be more organized.

  • marina

    My big plans for 2011:
    1. Get my nutritionist diploma (finally!) and start working as a nutritionist while kids are in school.
    2. Get my blog rolling by posting 2-3 times a week.
    3. Write my 10 goals every day each morning.

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  • Annette

    My big plan for 2011 is to make the top level in leadership of my network marketing company(Avon). There are 4 levels and I am currently at level 2. Even if I don’t make level 4, I should make level 3 and that would be great!

  • JamesG

    I have a lot to show for the last year. Oddly enough the things I accomplished are not the things I intended. Still I believe my purpose remains, and 2011 is the year for significant progress again, but now its time to launch my business. While that sounds like a major effort I’m actaully at a place where its an effort to connect the dots and get this thing started. And the thing I look forward to the most is that this will bring balance to my life, which has been missing for years. I can’t wait to get up every day and give this life my all. Best wishes to everyone on their big dreams!

  • Jay Lode

    Begin the journey of retracing Lewis & Clark’s journey by floating the entire length of the Missouri river from the headqwaters of the Missouri in Three Forks MT, to St Louis, MO. Starting in 2011 will complete the first legs of this multistage journey.

  • Meredith Hudson

    As I look forward to this new year I have been working on goals for my new professional practice. A couple of weeks ago I started working on setting those goals then thought that perhaps I was setting them too high-how could I possibly reach them, I’m stepping into an entirely new realm. This idea of making ‘no little plans’ has challanged me to think big and do everything I can possibly do to reach them.
    1. Have website up and receiving daily traffic
    2. Speak for one group/class per month
    3. Publish 6 articles (online and/or print)
    4. Average 20 patients per week
    I am just getting started on this career path. I look forward to the challange and how this year will cause my faith to grow as I see God work in, on and through me.

  • Kevin Smith

    I have decided that 2011 is the year for me to pursue my dream of running my own small business. I have a few last minute things to finsih up at my current J-O-B, but will be giving two weeks notice and leaving my full-time “secure job” on January 7th! It is a HUGE leap of faith but I feel called to pursue this dream and will now be working for the hardest boss of all!

  • Kevin – congratulations on having a plan for crossing this threshold. Yes it’s a leap of faith – but when it’s backed by a plan of action the “risk” is reduced dramatically. You can keep that new boss happy by proving it was a well-thought-out move.

  • Jos Viljoen – South Africa

    Thanks for your post Dan. I have a friend who is a medical doctor whose motto in live is that if you are not busy working on five plans at a given moment, you are depressed. Therefore I like your idea of 13 projects for 2011. Your post inspired me to make big plans for this year.