Setting goals gives you some benchmark for measuring your success. Successful people think most about what they want and how they can get it. They are focused on achieving what they want and are determined to get there regardless of obstacles. That’s the power of focus. They realize that there will be problems and things they just haven’t anticipated that creep up along the way, but they realize that’s part of the journey. When something unexpected happens, they don’t just give up. They look for ways to overcome or move around the obstacles.
Unsuccessful people focus on what they don’t want. When problems come up, they get caught up in their worries. They look for someone to blame and throw their hands up in frustration. “It’s just too hard, so why bother? The world is conspiring against me. My family, friends and coworkers say I’ll never succeed – and they’re probably right.”
This kind of thinking creates a negative feedback loop. If you believe there’s no way to achieve your goal, you’re probably right. You won’t look past the obstacles and do what it takes to solve the problems life throws at you. Instead, you’ll quit and move on to something else that isn’t as hard.
When To Quit Your Goal
There’s nothing wrong with quitting. If you’ve gotten to the point where you realize this just isn’t for you, and you’d be happier doing something else, then cut your losses and find something that you’re passionate enough about to achieve your goals in that area. There’s no point in doing something you think you “should” be doing if it’s making you completely miserable right now.
Seth Godin describes this phenomenon as The Dip in his book by the same name. According to Godin, most people are pretty good at setting goals and starting projects. They get excited for a short period of time and their enthusiasm is quite high. But then they realize that reaching their goal is going to take time and require more effort than they initially realized. The initial enthusiasm wears off and they become discouraged. They hit what he calls The Dip – “the long slog between starting and mastery” – and they start to lose momentum and their enthusiasm to continue.
Running a successful business means mastering your skills and expertise in all aspects of business. Not only do you need to be exceptionally knowledgeable about the local market you specialize in, but you also need to understand how to manage your finances, attract new clients, integrate new technologies into your business, and, if you hire employees or a virtual assistant, manage other people. There’s a huge learning curve to get to the level of mastery where it doesn’t constantly feel like you need to learn something new every time you have a new client or start a new project such as a marketing campaign.
Reap the Rewards of Perseverance and Mastery
Yes, it’s worth it when you can push past that Dip – that’s the secret to mastery and the rewards are great. But most people quit before they reach that point. They quit when the going gets tough or when they realize they don’t have the resources (money, manpower, time) required to keep pushing ahead.
Running a business is difficult. Problems come up all the time. As the President of your company, you must become a problem solver. No one can give you an exact blueprint to follow for a successful company – where all you have to do is follow the step-by-step instructions and instantly have success beyond your wildest dreams. There will always be something you didn’t anticipate, whether it be a new competitor who enters your market or a downturn in the economy.
To achieve your goals, you can’t passively sit back and blame the economy, your competitors, your family or anyone or anything else for why your business is where it is. There are many successful business people who thrive in any economy no matter what competitors do. You can be too – but you can’t give in to negative thinking, blaming others, the economy, your competitors, or anyone else. Instead, you must focus on being successful and achieving what you want.