Start Dreaming Bigger

Are you dreaming BIG enough? I’m talking seemingly impossibly big. Jim Carrey big.

In 1990, a broke and unknown 28-year-old comic named Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million. He dated it for Thanksgiving 1995 and put it in his wallet, then kept auditioning, taking bit parts, and struggling to find his big break.

One year before the check expired, Jim landed the leads in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “The Mask.” And just before Thanksgiving of 1995 rolled around, Jim learned he’d be earning $10 million on his next project, “Dumb and Dumber.”

Jim Carrey’s $10 million dream started at a young age. When Jim was very young, his father lost his job and the family lost its house.

“That was the real ‘wow,’ the kick in the guts,” he has said. “We lived in a van for a while, and we worked all together as security guards and janitors.” Jim had to work 8-hour shifts in a factory after school to help the family survive.

As many young kids do, Jim used humor to help him survive those rough years. He got his first comedy gig at age 15, dropped out of school at 16 to pursue his passion, and moved to Hollywood at 19. He struggled for a decade before writing himself that $10 million check.

Jim’s father died a year before he was able to cash in on his big dream. Jim slipped that $10 million check into his dad’s casket at the funeral to thank him for always believing in his dream. A year later, Jim got his big payday and, since then, his movies have grossed more than $1 billion and counting.

You may be thinking, that’s a sweet story but what does it have to do with business?

Too often, we focus on SMART goals-those that are totally rational and achievable-and don’t allow ourselves to dream bigger. We keep ourselves stuck inside a safe little box.

If your only ambition is to do a little better each year than the one before, then this approach makes sense. If you’re anything like Jim Carrey, however, that’s not enough. You have big, hairy audacious goals that seem crazy to everyone else. And you know, in your heart of hearts, you can reach them if only you’d allow yourself to believe it.

Now is the time to believe it. Close your eyes and think about writing yourself a check to cash in 5 or 10 years. How much would you like it to be? How would that change your life? Then think about how you’d live your life differently, how your commitment level and actions might change, in the coming years to make it happen.

Have a clear picture? Does it excite you? Are you ready to take action?

“Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them,” Jim Carrey has said. “I really believe in the philosophy that you create your own universe.”