Has this ever happened to you? The month ends, you look at where you hoped to be, what you expected to accomplish, and you see you came up short. Perhaps your goal was volume, a rank achievement, or some other key success factor, and you just missed the mark.
Perhaps you experienced disappointment, confusion, or maybe even a touch of depression. “What happened? What did I do wrong?” For others, it may be a sense of futility. “Is it worth it?” This is the time some give up; they fade back into the mass of obscurity, forgetting their goals, dismissing their dreams, and worst of all, losing their “why.”
This is the crucible, my friends! This is the gauntlet! This is your fiery furnace! But also, you are facing a defining moment! How will you respond? What can you do to find the strength to continue, to persevere—to try again? From our own experience, Stacy and I have come up with a few points to remember when you face these sort of challenges.
Put it in Context
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that missing a goal or failing at something is a common experience shared by everyone. Yes – EVERYONE! In all my years of business and ministry, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t face failure, at some point, including me.
I won’t bore you with the list of the many times I’ve come up short, but what a list it is! And, through it all, I’ve come to understand and even appreciate that failure is part of the process. And overcoming failure will be part of your story—the real story that will make you genuine!
No story is worth repeating that doesn’t have some element of struggle, challenge, or overcoming. Remember that everything worth achieving takes effort! The easy things in life are depression, debt, and drudgery. Do you want those? They come without any resistance. But, all of these challenges, and more, are overcome by a resolve to move forward! Put your temporary failure in context.
Review – and learn!
Whenever you fail to make the mark, use the opportunity to assess the reason. Did you do all you could? Did you invest yourself in your goal at the right level of activity and commitment? Did you make the calls, did you seek to meet the needs, did you communicate effectively?
If you are involved in a network marketing company, you may want to look at your compensation plan and make sure you understand the structure and requirements for rank advancement. I have a colleague who thought she had everything she needed to secure one of the highest ranks in the organization.
Overall volume, check.
Leg volume, check.
But when she opened up her company portal on the first of the month, she was shocked to see she had missed the mark. What happened? Personal volume! She missed out on thousands of dollars because her personal volume was less than $50 short! Ouch! That was an expensive learning experience!
Review what happened – without judging yourself or others; and develop a plan of action that will help you overcome the next period!
Focus on the Key Metrics – Every Day!
We can all set achievable goals for ourselves at the beginning of the month, but are we keeping those goals in our sights every day? Frequently, we set aside the mundane tasks, such as data keeping and looking over our organizations for challenges until it’s too late to fix anything! The end of the month is not the day to find a problem!
Successful people remember to consistently focus on the fundamentals every day! There’s a reason that even professional football players go through the basics of blocking and tackling in preseason training – the game is won with the fundamentals! And so it is with your goals. You need a daily structure to achieve your objectives. So, set daily goals that will help you achieve your monthly goals – and then stick to them!
This may involve merely checking your daily volume and growth, and communicating corporate announcements to your team. It could be examining your autoship reports to see if anyone missed a shipment or promotion. Catch the payment problems or missed promotional levels early! Perhaps it’s a certain number of care calls, prospecting texts, or opportunity emails – set your daily goals!
One tip here – make your daily goals action goals, not achievement goals. Don’t focus on how many new customers you need to achieve a particular volume. Focus on the actions that will lead to achievements! You have no control over your achievements, but you can execute your actions.
If you want to overcome failure, develop daily metrics, daily activities, and daily goals, and then stick to them!
One of the reasons why many people miss their goals is that they don’t have a friend to hold them accountable. For some, accountability is a bad word, because we don’t really want people knowing what we are doing. But having someone call you to ask the tough questions, can get you motivated to share the news that you are on track!
Consider your experience of missing your goal. During the month leading up to that challenge, did you reach out to anyone? Did anyone reach out to you, asking how you were doing, or even more important, what you were doing? Imagine what might have happened if you had someone checking in with you!
There is something encouraging and motivating when we know someone is going to check in with us, especially if we know they have our best interests in mind. We often strive for the opportunity to give a good report! The writer of the Book of Hebrews, who wrote to people under a lot of stress, reminded his audience that they were surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. He wrote that, in part, because knowing others are watching can help us stay on course.
So, find an accountability partner! Make sure you have an open relationship with your friend, expect them to ask you hard questions, and be ready to give honest answers! They will spur you on to success!
Consider the Impact of Giving Up
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to remember the alternative: where you would be if you gave up? There is one thing that I know for sure, you will never accomplish your goal if you give up. You will never have anything worth having, or achieve a goal worth attaining, by tossing in the towel.
The thing that often separated the successful from the swarm is perspective. Most people focus only on the challenge, those who overcome concentrate on the goal. They are willing to do the uncomfortable to get themselves to a place where they can finally be comfortable.
For those who strive to achieve something beyond them, an intangible benefit comes to reality – they change! They become better friends, better children, better servants, and better spouses. They learn that one of the secrets to success is that they need to change! They need to improve!
Without the goal, without the striving, our optimism for life can fade. Joy leaves us. Many become bitter, judgmental, angry. They start to blame everyone for their failures, spiraling down to a victim mentality.
Their lives can become so empty, so sad.
Also, consider the many you have been able to help as you have worked toward your goal! If you are in a similar business as us, you can’t succeed without helping others. How many have you helped? How many lives have you touched? How many more can you reach? If your message, product, or service is beneficial to the world, you are the ambassador of change that is needed in this world!
I’m not saying there is never a reason for a course change, but never give up on a bad day! And, if you miss your mark and decide to pursue something new, make sure you continue to strive for a new goal!
Remember Your Identity
Lastly, be satisfied and pleased with who you are and who you are becoming! Remember, you are more than a rank, you are more than some particular volume! You have been given gifts that are unique, special, and powerful! You are a masterpiece!
For those of us who are Christians, its good to remember the promises of God when challenges come. We need to remember that all things work together for good! Yes, all things! And, if that is true, all things even include the missed goal.
It’s crucial to remember that missed goals are only a temporary setback – you’ll make it through this challenge!
And your story will be the better because of it! You will be better! And, those watching you will be encouraged as they see you persevere—as you live out the reality that you are satisfied with the you God created!
Dealing with missed goals comes down to a mindset. You haven’t wasted your time as long as you don’t waste the failure. Instead, keep failure in context, learn and grow, get some help for the next ascent of the mountain, focus on where you would be if you gave up, and remember who you really are! I believe you have what it takes to overcome. I really do! Give it another go, and another, and another! What a story you will have when you reach the top!
By the way, although I have written this from a business perspective, the same principles apply to relationships, ministry, and virtually any other goal you set. Put these to good use, and next time, overcome!