4 Ways to Reach Your Personal Best
- Be growth-minded, not goal-minded.I love to win, and you probably do, too. It’s natural to make winning your ultimate goals, like a sports team hungering for a championship ring or a swimmer wanting to set a record. But you have to be careful about directing too much energy into one goal. If you obsess over a singular event, what happens if you lose? Or for that matter, what happens after you win? A lot of times, the champs flounder the next season. That’s why I like to concentrate on growth rather than goals: That game is never over.
- Emphasize gradual progress. Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows fixating on the big number is a sure way to fail. Twenty kgs is intimidating—and discouraging when the scale seems to barely budge; 2 kgs is manageable. Achieve a 2-kg goal 10 times, and you drop two sizes and earn a shopping trip. Yes, emphasizing growth over goals is critical, but goals do have their place in the competition. I think of them as milestones on the journey of growth. Set incremental ones—as with the weight-loss example—and celebrate each time you achieve one before moving to the next. Developing small disciplines helps. As part of my daily work routine, for example, I read or listen to someone else’s teaching with a goal of capturing at least one quote to use in future speaking opportunities. Salespeople make phone calls daily, touching base with past clients and reaching out to prospects; the most successful ones have the discipline to make a set number of calls daily, with an occasional challenge day in which they push themselves to dial a few more.Big success tomorrow depends on the little things you do today.
- Develop your strengths. Identify your natural strengths and pursue them with passion. Research bears this out. For years, Gallup has studied the advantages of developing strengths instead of trying to fix weaknesses. One finding: People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. You won’t push yourself to new heights if your heart isn’t in your work.
- Partner with other winners. Learning to push yourself is critical. But it’s easy to lose sight of how well you’re doing or pinpoint your weaknesses if you depend only on your own perspective. The solution? Get a mentor. I have had the privilege to be coached by the Napoleon Hill Foundation and the best coaches in the world.