For goal setting students it doesn't get much better than this. Two friends come up with an idea (more like a crazy vision!) To put their London lives on hold for a few years and circumnavigate the globe (crossing the equator) using only human muscle as their power source. Little did they know what lay in store for them.
Try to imagine what 26 year old Jason Lewis must have thought when his friend, Steve Smith, came up with the idea in 1991. (Apparently, on one drab and wet Monday morning). No doubt there was incredible excitement in imagining all the places they might go, the challenges to be overcome and the positive impact their efforts might have on raising awareness around protecting the environment. (Remember that this was in the pre-Internet early 1990s and getting media attention and sponsorship interest in the UK, let alone the rest of the world, would have been a challenge in itself).
There is a refreshing honesty and naivety in watching 1994 video of them leaving London on their bikes to reach the English Channel coast where their pedal boat, Moksha, was being readied. And soon getting lost in the countryside! That old story about taking it one step at a time comes to mind. Only you would have to create a new cliche to describe how they pedaled their little craft across the Atlantic – how about "taking it one revolution at a time"?
Amazingly, although the East-West Atlantic crossing by pedal power (!) Was a world first, that was really "only" the beginning of their incredible experiences. I would encourage you to visit their website ( http://www.expedition360.com ) and see for yourself the years and years it ultimately took to see that initial vision to completion.
And by completion, I don't mean that they "planned, executed and delivered" in the somewhat sterile and predictable language of goal setting and project management – although there was a team of dedicated volunteers who probably used a lot of those skills behind the scenes to keep things on track.
No, goals and targets were probably changed, abandoned and created whenever and wherever required. There were constant logistics, money and fund raising issues. No doubt there were more than a few "heated discussions" – especially in a 26 feet (8m) pedal boat! And this, despite their initial guesstimates of about 3 years or so, was not an expedition where all involved could see a likely end date and then pack up, go home and reflect on the experience. This was stop-start real-life stuff – just over 1/3 of Jason's life in fact. And I'm sure he must have wanted to pack up and go home many times over the years – his initial romantic notions of escaping from a somewhat humdrum london life long dissolved and pedaled away in the world's salty waters and dusty trails.
So, what kept him (and the Team and family / supporters) going? While it might be easy to say that a vision of "walking that pedal boat across the Greenwich meridian line" must have inspired him, I think that's too trite. Would you choose to spend 1/3 of your life going through a lot of hardship (physical, emotional and financial) for such an uncertain outcome?
I suspect that what 'drove' Jason and his team on was a combination of the initial vision and those incredible experiences along the way – especially the educational and humanitarian impact he was making locally. And while I doubt that getting his legs smashed up by a driver in Colorado was something he'd care to repeat, I wonder what new opportunities that enforced layover in the US caused him to search out and take action on?
This story had a profound impact on me because I think it shows how simple the "goal creation" process can be. Start with the desired vision, see yourself in some action-taking role, and then get going. In fact, in the same year that Jason Lewis and Steve Smith were beginning their great adventure, I left the UK on one of my own. In my case there wasn't any physical danger – but a lot of sadness at leaving friends and family, mixed with the excitement of creating a new life and career in Japan.
Now 13 years have passed. It's October 2007 and Jason Lewis has come home. One chapter of his life is closing and a new one beginning. And what about you? What's your great adventure and what will you be doing over the next 13 years? Here's a tip I got from learning more about the voyage of the Moksha. Just put on your 2020 vision and start pedaling!