One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.
I’m sorry, Albert. Brilliance in one area doesn’t equate to brilliance in all areas of life. Setting only lofty, long term goals without a step-by-step plan to get there is a recipe for disaster. You’ll end up frustrated on a daily basis. Worse yet, you might simply give up because you feel like you do nothing but fail.
My philosophy is taken from the movie “What About Bob?” If you’ve known me for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard me say it “Baby steps.” Life is all about baby steps. Set short term, achievable goals that are strategic and lead to mid-term goals. Those mid-term goals will eventually get you to the lofty heights Einstein was talking about.
A football team doesn’t try to take the entire field on every down. Touchdowns are normally achieved by a series of first downs. Woody Hayes, the venerated Ohio State University football coach, loved to say “three yards and a cloud of dust”. The offense has a strategic plan, taking what the defense gives, and eventually, they score touchdowns.
Today marks several milestones for our family. Kayla has her biggest job interview to date. She graduates in a few weeks. She’s been admitted to grad school. The interview is for a job in counseling this summer, her first professional job. These achievements are a result of years of getting up and getting done the tasks before her for that day. I’m incredibly proud of her for continuing on despite setbacks and hardships.
Yesterday, I got the final-final purchase order for the distribution deal I have been working on for Treasured Locks. I started working on this deal nearly a year ago. There were many roadblocks along the way. Back to the football analogy for a moment, there were many times we were sacked. There were a couple of fourth and longs. There were requirements I thought we couldn’t possibly meet. Last fall, I gave up. I told them we could not do the deal. But, we recovered that fumble and continued the drive. Next week, we will finally ship our first order. Even this first order is just another beginning.
Two days ago I started construction on my Grief 2 Growth website. Six months ago I began saying affirmations that I intended to lead to new business opportunities. I didn’t know what those opportunities might be. I created these affirmations to lay the groundwork. Through a series of events, the vision started to come into focus. About a month ago someone suggested I take a life coaching class. It was about 20 hours of material that I needed to try to somehow fit in with the daily operations of Treasured Locks, volunteering on three different projects, and my part-time consulting work. It was a lot to ask of myself. The instructor likes to say “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I set a goal to finish the course by the day of Shayna’s Shamrock Shuffle, the second weekend in March. To achieve that goal, I broke the course down into chunks and tried to get in a couple of hours every day. After I’d finish my session working on the course, I’d look at how many hours I had left, divide it by the number of days remaining to my deadline and set a new goal for how many hours I had to do each day. I finished it the Friday before the race. I wanted to start on the website on the first day of Spring. To get there, I needed to choose a platform and learn about it. This required doing some research and finding a consultant to work with. All of these were short term goals, some that took less than a minute. But, they led to the mid-term goal of making that launch date. Wednesday was the first day of Spring and that was the day I bought the template for my site and began construction.
“Einstein was wrong” is a catchy headline. I have a confession to make. He wasn’t totally wrong. We can reach for the stars. We should bring out our highest potentials. We are capable of things that many of us don’t dare dream of. We will never achieve these goals without doing the hard work it takes to get there, a lot of it is not glamorous. There are times when we will feel like we are running in place. There will be times when we will suffer setbacks. Make a plan. Know there will be adjustments. Make course corrections. And, never give up. You’ll get to where you want to go or at least to where you were meant to be.