Q. Everyone advises me, “Set a goal.” But what if my goal seems wildly impossible? Something like building a business in a competitive field, getting a job for which I’m barely qualified or selling a book?
A. Great results often begin with goals that seem impossible. But if you ask, “Should I be give up when the odds are against me?” you’ll get widely different views.
Tom Stanley, author of The Millionaire Mind, encourages readers to choose a vocation where there’s a real need – and not a lot of competition.
But Gail Blanke, author of Between Trapezes, writes “Once you start believing in statistics, it’s almost impossible to believe in yourself.”
And in her blockbuster best-seller The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron warns that odds can be fatal to a creative person. (See http://tinyurl.com/28gzh )
So … how can you sort it out?
1. Separate realistic from unrealistic odds.
The odds of writing a best-seller can be high – but you may be able to reduce the odds by creating a strong platform for yourself. And while many new businesses fail, you can reduce the risk through research and planning.
Statistics can be misleading. Do 50% of all marriages end in divorce? Or do 50% of all people get divorced at least once?
2. Compare the alternatives.
Can you spend your time more profitably? If you’ve been laid off from a senior position a crowded industry, self-employment can make more sense than sending out resumes. And you may decide you enjoy writing your novel more than watching prime time television or reading other people’s novels.
(3) Design a plan for success that doesn’t depend on winning a single toss of the coin.
You want to write a book about business leadership. Begin by designing workshops targeted to your future readers. Track attendance and get feedback.
Once you attract rave reviews for your workshops, you’ll have a list of people who want to learn more. Now you start a newsletter. You start a profitable workshop program. Even if your book never finds a publisher, you’ve won.
Starting your own business? Keep a job hunt going at the same time. Most likely you’ll find synergy, not energy drains.
Targeting an impossible job? Begin a networking campaign that might lead you to an even better opportunity.
(4) Learn how you might tip the odds in your favor.
Authors get published when they’ve developed a great platform and proposal. Businesses succeed when entrepreneurs study their markets. Often you can’t find this information in a library book, but through investments in training, networking and mentoring.
(5) Visualize what your life will look like once you’ve reached your impossible goal.
Feel free to use creative visualization and affirmations. But develop a day-by-day, realistic, down-and-dirty picture of your life as a published author, business owner, or corporate superstar. Find positive, inspiring role models.
A realistic perspective helps you get ready for a large dose of success – and also helps you stay motivated for the long climb.
If you’d like some support as you assess your own goals, check out my one-to-one Career Strategy Session. Get an objective perspective from an experienced career consultant. Click here to learn more.