How to Set Stretch Goals – What Elon Musk and Google Founders Did

How to Set Stretch Goals and then Achieve It


What is a stretch goal?

If you have never heard the concept and aren’t sure what is or what are stretch goals exactly lets help you learn one of the best business goals you can set. Well-defined stretch goals are meant to get you outside your comfort zone. To push you further to achieve more and to really challenge you. They are very popular for entrepreneurs looking for fast growth. Also on crowd funding websites as a way of creating “levels” or tiers because often the owner has no idea what they will reach in their campaigns.

Did you know that Google founders Larry and Sergey had a secret room that they used to go and meet Elon Musk in. They would brainstorm crazy ideas in a safe environment without interruption or fear failure. One of the key aspects in this process is to actually schedule the time to create the space both in your calendar and then in your mind.

Your challenge is to set aside 30-60 minutes in your own secret room for some “big thinking” to create stretch goals that you would like to achieve in the next 3 months?


Blue Sky Thinking

While not quite blue sky thinking you can get quite creative, thinking of something that is achievable but also would create a significant enough impact on you or your business when achieved, to motivate you to try it.

This is potentially where you level up and do something that you might have been procrastinating over for a while or been putting certain idea off for the past 3 or 6 months (or possibly longer)

Just remember that there is a delicate balance when setting this type of goal. Make the task too difficult and you will give up quickly because it just won’t feel achievable to you. The same if it’s too easy. We’ve covered this before but it also helps if it’s a SMART goal.

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Use Psychology

Using psychology can help you achieve your goal. Here are the top 5 tips to help you.

1.Visualise the Outcome 1st

The only way to know if you have achieved something is to have a clear picture of the intended outcome. Anything ever invented, made or sold was 1st just a conceptual idea and a visualization. Then it was formed from an idea into something more tangible – so it’s critical that you don’t skip this step.

2. Make the goal seem closer from the start

Scientists have discovered that the closer your goal seems, the faster you move towards it. According to research, the 70% mark is a magical motivational place, and celebrating a 70% progress gives you a big boost to cross the finish line. Start with a few easy wins to get the 1st 5-10% of the goal done. That way your goal already feels closer.

3. Make success seem more likely 

We work harder when goals seem closer, but we also work harder when they seem more achievable. What support can you put in place to make your goal more likely to be achieved? What rewards or other incentives can you build it to keep you motivated and what can you do to track your progress.

4. Make the work seem easier

We all have limited amounts of cognitive energy, and you’re probably depleting yourself in ways you don’t realize. How can you make some of the more difficult tasks seem easier? Tackle them 1st thing in the morning when you are at your most alert and productive?

Finally think about what it would mean to you to achieve that goal. Visualize the outcome and the impact it will have – this should help keep you excited and motivated along the way.

5.Allocate the right amount of time.

We are actually really poor at working out how long something will take us. We massively underestimate our productivity. So it’s really important to try and accurately set the timeframe for your stretch goals. Because it’s a challenge it will take a significant amount of time – if it was just a quick solution you would have done it by now and also it would not meet this criteria. So think of a reasonable amount of time to complete this (and then add on 50 or even 100% to that figure


Stretch Goals Example

Here is a mock basic stretch goals example where we give you a basic what and how. What do you want to achieve and how will you complete it.

WHAT: Start a Podcast in 3 months.

HOW:  Identify the format of the Podcast by researching what is already out there in the same space. Decide on a format, name, and frequency. Write out a list of 10-20 potential initial guests. Include all your tech requirements from hosting to recording.

When you have exhausted your list break it down into a project. Look at weekly and daily milestones that are actionable and measurable. Include all resources and time required, including contingencies for thing you may not have thought of including flesh out basic templates and action plans required to begin.


Dive Deeper

Dive deeper into possible areas to exploit (existing relationships, people already connected that may be able to refer someone else). Work out the best “leverage” to give your stretch project the opportunity to flourish and not flounder.

When you are writing your stretch goals down include a worst case scenario. This will help you overcome any fears and doubts you may have about commencing the project. We call it a pre-mortem. This helps you see potential problems before you run into them so that you can hopefully avoid them.


Get a little more granular now

E.G. Write out an outreach script (Initially generic but will be tailored to each guest) 90-120 minutes.  You want to get this right as it’s potentially a cold email and lower chance of success.

Customise and send emails with tracking software to view open rates and identify the most interested prospects.

Set any follow up (Call, email sequence etc) to ensure that you have made every attempt to get your ideal guests onto your show.

Review the results (Daily/Weekly). Note the time spent on the project. Did you make it a priority to work on your stretch goals above and beyond the daily tasks you already have in your routine?

Finally, think of someone who can help you with this. Do you know anyone that is in a similar space or can just help with an intro here or there? The more help you get the more likely you are to achieve your


Cause and Effect

Whenever the effect is missing so is the cause. Execute and manage the cause and the effect will take care of itself. Now that you have a stretch goals in mind you will need to find either additional resources or additional time. Ideally it would be both. If your goal is audacious enough and worth the effort, if accomplished, you will need to fully commit by investing in it.


Finding Extra Time

If you are considering a one-to-many offer or when a a new goal or project gets greenlighted this is the perfect time to think about the tasks you currently do and the monetary value attached to them. If you continue to perform $10 or $20 per hour tasks your company will never grow to the level you’ve imagined for it. Download our time- tracker to quickly evaluate where your time (and money) are currently being spent. We lose our hours one minute at a time.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources – Hire a VA, research assistant or graphic designer to do the things that will take you to long or the intensive research. Find one direct for longer term projects or via Upwork or Fiverr

So now you know both the formula and some handy hints and tips to set a stretch goals and achieve it. It’s time to allocate the time and head off to your “secret room”

Remember there’s not much traffic when you go the extra mile.

Learn to Impose your Will – Inky Johnson



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