January 1, 2009.
Do you have goals for the New Year? If you do, are you a closet goal writer. Do you secretly write them down and hide them away so no one sees them. So no one ever knows if you've accomplished them, or at least made some headway.
It's easier that way: "Ah heck! I never write down goals - that's stupid," you say. Or "What's the use, I usually forget them by February." But if your goals, hopes and aspirations are a secret, there is no accountability - especially to yourself.
Here's what happened last night, New Year's Eve, December 31, 2008. I went out to dinner with my husband and daughter to our favorite Mexican restaurant in the Chicago area, Don Juan's in Edison Park. But we are also new restauranteurs ourselves, and decided after dinner to go downtown and have a drink at (shameless plug) Graham Elliot on Huron. The restaurant was buzzing, the young crowd clearly enjoying themselves.
Chef Graham Elliot Bowles is a celebrity in the world of food. He was executive chef at Avenues in the Peninsula Hotel for many years and has won the James Beard award. He is creative, determined, and purposeful.
After people- watching for about half an hour, we went back to the kitchen to wish Chef and the staff a Happy New Year. On the way through the kitchen I passed a tiny room that I had not seen before. It was Chef's office. On the wall behind his computer was a greasboard with some scribbling. Maybe it was his private office but the writing was boldly written, there for anyone to see if they walked in:
Six or seven ideas for expansion, for explicit cities and locations, even possible names. They were just simply written out. They're in front of where he sits when he's not in the kitchen proper. He and anyone else can see them everyday. We just opened this restaurant in May of 2008 and he's already thinking of a growth plan. With explicit details!
Well, I loved seeing that. Not just for the success of the restaurant, but for the inspiration it gave me regarding my own goals for 2009. I can do that too. Maybe not on a greaseboard, but surely written on something in a place where I will lay eyes on it everyday. And anybody else can too if they're interested!
The point, I believe, is that by putting your ideas "out there" they have more of a chance of becoming reality. Don't keep them a secret, especially from yourself. When you put forth and share you get so much more in return. I know that something like this has been discussed in "The Secret" but seeing it myself was great. Just great.