I was a chubby theater kid growing up. Sports were not my jam.

When I reluctantly started weightlifting 10 years ago in my mid-30’s — an effort to take care of my health —  I said to myself, “One day, I’m going to deadlift 300 pounds.” At the time, that goal was WAY out of my reach.  Four years later, after smart and disciplined training, I reached a personal record of 305 pounds!

That goal-setting exercise changed my life. After a decade of dedicated training, I am now a fitness enthusiast who is unafraid of tackling any physical feat. Wow!

You gotta love a moon shot!

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon not because it was easy, but because it was hard.

And while moon shot goals can dramatically inspire individuals to come together to overcome difficult challenges with creativity and purpose, I find many non profit organizations unwilling or fearful of setting and announcing clear moon shot goals. A couple of reasons come to mind:

  1. They are afraid of what might happen if they don’t hit the goal.
  2. They aren’t even sure what an out-of-reach, yet possibly achievable moon shot goal is.

One notable exception comes to mind: Best Friends Animal Society. In 2016, their CEO Julie Castle announced publicly that Best Friends would lead the effort to make the entire country no-kill by 2025. At the time, that goal seemed out of reach is so many ways. But the no-kill 2025 campaign has been a rallying point for people from across the sheltering and rescue spectrum and they have made transformative changes that, just a few years ago, were not even part of the conversation.

And while Best Friends is making great strides towards hitting that goal, they have been communicating with their supporters the challenges that might get in the way. One donor said, “If the goal of no-kill isn’t reached by 2025, I’ll still love Best Friends. The point is to have worthy goals and keep making progress toward those goals day by day.”

This is a leadership challenge. What is your organization’s moon shot? And how can you overcome any barriers that might be getting in the way of committing yourself to it?