One year ago today I rode naked in a parade in front of 40,000 people. The annual Fremont Solstice parade celebrates the beginning of summer with dancing, non-motorized floats, and a lot of “expression.” It kicks off with a few hundred riders baring all, for no purpose beyond each person’s individual motivation. While this may seem like an odd goal for many, for me it was the opportunity to follow through on something I had been talking about for years.
Each year I would attend the parade and tell Betsy that I would like to ride in it “next year.” Then next year would come I would have a list of excuses for not riding, or simply not even trying. While riding in the parade was important to me, I failed repeatedly to follow through on my goal.
With our date for departure set for October 2010 I knew I had one last chance. After the parade in 2009 I immediately started telling people about that I planned to don my birthday suit, paint up, and ride in front of a large crowd of people on June 19, 2010. I made sure they knew that this was important to me and that I wanted their help to ensure I did not back out again.
Telling people that you will be naked in public elicits some interesting reactions. I know that many people thought I was crazy and I heard as much from some. From your co-workers you see that look in their eyes that says “you have lost your mind” or “please don’t bring pictures in of this experience.” Your friends offer support, typically in the form of “wow, I hope it is not cold that day”.
Tell people your plan
The important part of this process was not their opinion of this crazy goal. Regardless of the reaction, I needed other people to hold me accountable so I would not back out again. Whether people are supportive or not they are sure to ask you the next day if you did it (whatever IT may be). For me, that was the incentive I needed.
Putting big audacious goals out there is scary. Baring your soul (or more delicate parts) to others seems to go against everything we are taught. We spend our lives setting private goals and then failing to reach them. Instead, if you have a big audacious goal in life…set a date. Whether you are starting a business, traveling around the world, riding naked in a parade, leaping out of a plane, or running a half-marathon, let others know what it is and when you are doing it. Keep them updated on the progress. Encourage others to ask you about it to keep you on track.
Is this scary as hell? Absolutely!
Will there be days you want to crawl away from this stated goal? Without a doubt. In fact, 30 minutes before we were to ride out of the house I thought about backing out. It was raining and I thought this was a perfectly plausible excuse to back out….again. Luckily I had 4 people standing there to remind me just how important this was. (Plus, Betsy yelling “I just spent 2 hours painting you. Now, get your blue ass out there.”)
Will there be people that do not support your decision? If you find that everyone is supporting you then you have not told enough people.
Set a specific date
By setting a date and sharing that date with others you can really begin the planning process. Saying “I’m going to ride in the parade in the future” it not going to motivate you. Telling people you will “downsize your home in 5 years” is not specific enough. What you will find is that in 5 years you are still saying the same phrase and you are no closer to achieving your goal. Pull out a calendar and select the specific date you are going to achieve your goal and start working towards the date.
What is your big audacious goal? What is the date you want to achieve it? Who have you told about it?
To all of you gearing up today to ride or watch the parade, have a great day. I’ll be thinking of you.