An Interview with the CC Press Authors of “The Moonshot Guidebook: A Launchpad to Your Higher Purpose”.
When man first landed on the moon, the world went wild; cheers could be felt around the globe. That kind of feat seemed impossible—until it wasn’t. Leaving your mark on the moon may seem like a distant dream, but for the authors of The Moonshot Guidebook, launching for the moon, that impossible dream, is closer than you think.
Jeremy DeRuiter, Michael McFall, and Laura Eich have combined their years of experience within the Biggby Coffee franchise to support people in visioning and building the lives they love. As a conscious coffee franchise in the US, Biggby Coffee aims to impact workplaces all over America, supporting leaders and franchise owners to grow, inspire, and elevate one another in creating a purpose-driven company culture.
Their book, The Moonshot Guidebook, works as a launchpad for big dreams and big purposes, all the while providing a map on how to climb to the stars in practical, goal-oriented ways. The Moonshot Guidebook is a visioning tool to help support people in answering life’s big questions: Who am I? Where do I want to be in five years? What is my purpose in the work that I do? Through this guided workbook, readers are challenged not only to vision their moonshot, but powerfully transform how they see themselves and their purpose in this life.
The Origins of the Moonshot
The concept of visioning had always been a huge part of Mike’s life. As early as the age of seven, his mother walked him through visioning exercises. Once, in the car on the way to a hockey game, his mother asked him to vision how many goals he would score and the details of each of those shots for those goals.
So he did what his mother asked. He visioned that he would score three goals and how he would score them. Anyone who knows hockey knows that to score three goals in a game is a big deal—a significant event. Though Mike didn’t know it yet, this was the very beginning to visioning his moonshot.
“I played the game and scored three goals almost identically to how we talked about it,” Mike says. “Driving home, I had this really sort of odd, weird feeling…. It didn’t take long for me to figure out, ‘Holy shit, this stuff works.’”
The Moonshot Guidebook started as an internal piece for Biggby Coffee. Within the company, they have forums, which are groups of seven to ten franchise owners and home office employees who get together in a regular cadence and support one another through their work. In the very first forum, they began talking about the visioning process, inspired by elements of The E-Myth Revisited and Good to Great. They answered questions such as, what do you want your life to be like, where do you want to go to, what to do you want to do, and shared their answers with each other. The group requested that they put together a manual of sorts. The first iteration—a rough guide composed in Microsoft Excel—was so incredibly well-received, they continued to iterate and refine, culminating in the publication of The Moonshot Guidebook by Conscious Capitalism Press in 2020.“
Once you start declaring where you want your life to go and how you want it to be, and seeing people respond to it, it has a certain kind of magic,” Laura says. “That was the fuel to taking on The Moonshot Guidebook.”
How Visioning Works
There are two schools of thought to how visioning works, Jeremy says. The first is thinking when you speak your truth out into the universe, it will manifest. The second school of thought says that visioning works when you write down what you want to happen with as much detail as possible; when you do this, you open up this part of your brain that’s filtering out so much information, minute-by-minute, day-by-day.
“There are so many things that escape our attention, but if you take the trouble to write down those details, it hits the radar in your brain differently. It helps you to see opportunity.”
The Moonshot Guidebook encourages anybody—not just Biggby Coffee employees, but you, too—to write down those radar-hitting details. This guidebook is written with a rhythm in mind to help guide you through the process for one year. The year is broken down into three four-month long sessions. The biggest bit of work you do is focused at the beginning, when you are asked to dream anew. Once you start off with this big dreaming moment, you are then asked to condense it down and plug it into an actual plan. The guide challenges you to set a five-year goal, so you know you are comfortably on your way to your moonshot. After that, you have one-year goals, four-month goals, and then weekly goals, all of which point back to your moonshot. With each goal, you are asked to pause and dream, take action, and stop and check in to measure progress.
Some of the visioning exercises that are in The Moonshot Guidebook ask you to write down things you want, trips you want to take. But it also asks you to write down how you want to be as a person.
“Spending time considering that notion, writing it down, and sharing with other people really does influence the way you react to different situations in your life,” Jeremy says. “You can draw yourself to those qualities by being really clear on the way you want to be.”
The Magic Behind Moonshots
Mike, Jeremy, and Laura have hundreds of magical stories of the impact visioning has on not only their lives, but other people’s lives, too.
For Jeremy, being a part of the forums at Biggby felt “addictive.” The act of sharing their moonshots with each other powerfully pulled their group together. There was a bond that formed by talking so openly about what their dreams were.
When Laura was in her twenties, she was also a part of one of those early visioning forums. While working on her primary aim inspired by The E-Myth, Laura was struck with the notion that she wanted to love people in whatever she does, or she would not feel fulfilled. That group helped her formalize that moonshot into something she could articulate.
“I was thinking, ‘How do I do that? How do I love people?’” Laura says. “I had to pull myself out of there for a second and look at the company I was working for—Biggby stood for loving people. It’s part of our values, part of our culture. I realized that was why Biggby felt like the right place for me. It instantly happens when you do this work—you realize that’s the thing I need to do. There’s a profound moment that happens when you say something out loud that you’ve been thinking and then you witness it happen and it just feels like magic.”
Mike experienced one of these magical moments ten years ago.
“I was single. I had been divorced; I had a son. I really wanted a family. My brother said to me, ‘we’re going to dive into this thing.’ We sat at a picnic table. He pulled out a piece of paper and told me to describe every detail I wanted in a wife. So I did. There were eighteen items total. That was June or May of that year. That September, I met a woman who checked seventeen and half of those eighteen boxes.”
Mike pauses, and grins. “She’s my wife, and I’m having dinner with her tonight.”
The Impact of Sharing Moonshots With One Another
Visioning is beyond goal setting, Laura says. Visioning means you are emotionally attached to this future, this dream you’ve cast and the reasons you cast it.
“There was a woman in our organization that wrote down four years ago that she wanted to become a foster parent,” Laura shares. “She had her first foster this year. You better believe we were all just a little bit weepy when she achieved that.”
Mike tells a story about another woman whose moonshot at the time was to grow her business enough to where her husband could leave his job. They didn’t get to spend time together like they wanted to, and he was miserable at work.
Well, guess what? Her husband has left his job, and they now drive an RV around and spend a lot of time together. When MaryAnn and Mike spoke to one another not too long ago, she kept saying, “You guys did this for me.” She was so thankful to the Biggby organization for showing her this visioning work.
“We have hundreds of stories like this,” Mike says. “It’s why we get up in the morning. It’s why we go to work. I just love hearing it. It makes everything worthwhile.”
Moonshots Unite the Company Together
As a franchise organization, Biggby Coffee has a lot of moving parts—they have all kinds of employees working together, from baristas, software developers, graphic designers, franchise owners, salespeople, and so on. But when you work for a company where everyone can agree on that one thing—to look at the company’s purpose and execute on it through what they do every day—it connects people in a much more powerful way than just being coworkers.
“We describe ourselves as a family more than a lot of companies do and it’s because we are working toward something more—our higher purpose, to support you in building a life you love,” Laura says. “We have this whole community, united by our purpose, which connects to Conscious Capitalism.”
Biggby Coffee is trying to set the bar in relation to how organizations should engage with people. Mike advocates for leaders and companies to take on one or two stakeholders and set the bar for how they will show up consciously in their communities.
“We, as leaders, should increase our commitment to the values of Conscious Capitalism. And grow extraordinary businesses at the same time so we can supplant the old way of being and thinking.”
As a coffee franchise within the United States, Biggby Coffee gets to intersect with people that are generally just starting out in life. Jeremy says that if their company can leave a big impact on young employees—if they can have a sense of personal vitality, if they can have a sense of belonging—and Biggby Coffee can encourage this work of The Moonshot Guidebook while they are with the company for just a couple of years, there can be real power and change in direction for their lives.
“It’s really powerful in terms of all of these seeds we are sprinkling across the American workplace,” Jeremy says. “Our employees understand what it’s like to work for a purpose-driven company, and if they leave, they will want to create that kind of culture if they are entrepreneurs themselves, and they will want to drive for change if they are signing on to work at other companies that aren’t as purpose-driven. It’s a very virtuous cycle that we have the opportunity to kick into motion, across the world, across lifetimes.”
Quick Q & A with Jeremy, Mike, and Laura
Q: What’s your favorite part about the Moonshot visioning process?
Mike: We have in The Moonshot Guidebook the development process, where you give ten very descriptive details about what the moonshot is going to be like when you are living in it. It gives me chills every time I do that. I love it. The most powerful part of the work is that emotional attachment to what it’s going to be like in the future.
Laura: I think a lot of people go through life wondering if they are wasting it or why is time going by so fast. Questioning, am I in the right place, am I doing enough? There’s a lot of comfort in having done that work upfront so I know where I want to go. It’s affirming to me that I know why this feels right. I can articulate and feel assurance in my life’s choices.
Jeremy: Because it is an iterative process, you really get clear on who you are and what you want. I am very confident in my values and how I want to be and where I am going. You get clear on your strengths and drivers and how to invest in that within your life.
Q: What is your moonshot?
Jeremy: There’s two different types of moonshots. One is big moonshots, where you can say, “Yes, I have crossed that finish line.” Then there are moonshots that are quieter, a way of being, of living your best and truest self.
My moonshot is half and half: 1) To laugh at home every day, to chase my curiosity and share what I have learned, and 2) To help scale Biggby and the Life You Love Laboratory until we are touching the lives of one-hundred-thousand lives per year. The last bit is a finish line, but most of it is the day-in and day-out of how I want to live my life.
Laura: For my moonshot, my primary aim is to love people, unconditionally, relentlessly. It’s a way of being, it’s a part of who I am. The finish line is to raise and give a million dollars to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Mike: My moonshot is to own the Detroit Red Wings. I have to be a billionaire to pull that off. I’ve got one opportunity in front of me to become a billionaire and that’s this company.
Q: What advice would you give someone struggling to keep going with visioning their moonshot?
Laura: When something scares me or makes me shut my book and throw it on the ground, it’s usually a sign I’m on the right track. I just have to reframe it. Things that scare me become opportunities and things that seem impossible won’t be impossible after I do it. Reframing has turned everything scary into motivation.
Mike: If there’s been one criticism about this project it’s that people are intimidated by the vastness of the moonshots that they hear other people committing to and they don’t think that they have the chops to engage. But I think that it’s relative. There is no right or wrong answer. Don’t let fear get in the way of really cool thinking and work. You don’t know where it’s going to end up. Just start. Just start with anything.
Jeremy: Stay in the work. Come back to it. What was once unsettling, just by nature of time, won’t be. You were in a distinct moment in time when you wrote what you did in the book. Then you go out and life happens to you and you happen to life. Then you return to those words again and again. And each time, you will reaffirm who you are and what you care about and where you go. You gotta lean in and keep going.
The Moonshot Guidebook: A Launchpad to Your Higher Purpose
By Michael J. McFall, Jeremy DeRuiter, & Laura Eich
The Moonshot Guidebook—initially a visioning tool for BIGGBY Home Office employees—will help you to refine a vision for your life by helping you to establish your Moonshot!