I was in Rome on business last week and had an extra day to see the sites.  It was my first visit to the capital city of Italy, but it wasn't my first trip to this beautiful country. I knew I wanted to see the major places like the coliseum, Trevi Fountain and other top visitor spots. I knew I wanted to spend Saturday in the Vatican Museum. As a former art history student, it was important for me to see what is often considered the most spectacular of all artistic accomplishments, Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I was not disappointed. 

I can't begin to describe the beauty and sacredness illuminated in this space. The colors were vivid and the attention to detail exceeded my expectations. You can’t photograph within the chapel and the crowds do make it a little difficult to really be present in this space. Viewing this artistry reminded me why really difficult goals are so important to an artist, in business and life in general.

Michelangelo's To Do List 
Can you imagine it is the year 1507, the year before the work began and Michelangelo is looking up at a blank ceiling and starting to set a goal of painting the stories from the Bible? Where does he get the belief in this wild idea? How does someone take on a project that looks beyond reasonable. What type of self-confidence does it take to accept such a commission? 

Michelangelo decides to illustrate all of Catholicism in an allegorical fashion with light, color and shadow. He thinks maybe I can get this done in five years. What was this project plan like? He didn't go online and start Goggling how to do an impossible task. Of course there isn't an app for this vision. 

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling
Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo 
He determines he has to build his own scaffold so that it will accommodate how he will work - for the next 5 to 10 years. To save money, he doesn't build it from the ground up but from the sides of the walls. Scholars today believe he didn't lie on his back but actually stood up in what most have been an incredibly uncomfortable position. I hope he had a really good chiropractor.

Goals for 2014
Standing in this space, I was humbled by my own meager goals from this past year while I stood in the presence of this glory and beauty. Yes, I was proud to have written and published a book but I didn't do something that was an extraordinary reach that stretched me above and beyond reason. Yes, I was proud of my work in my day job too. But what comes to life standing in this space energized me to think bigger. 

As a marketer, I of course want to grow and reach new heights. Beyond work, I am inspired to establish goals or a goal that stretches me beyond what I think is really possible. I want to reach out, like Adam, and touch the hand of God and do work that has a lasting impact and meaning. 

Where is your inspiration for 2014 coming from? What helps you set your goals at the end of each year? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

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