Expert advice on goal setting and achieving your goals.

Goal Setting Advice from an Underdog

I love watching the underdog succeed. I can’t help it, I’m American. This country was born fighting an impossible war with improbable odds to win our freedom from tyranny. Watching the underdog sets our emotions on fire. Whether it’s the last minute comeback of a losing sports team or the person who fought off a deadly disease; we are invigorated by the human struggle.

However, watching the underdog succeed and being the underdog are as different as night and day. Sure everyone will come up to the winning underdog, pat them on the back, and say they always knew they could do it. But the underdog that says they always knew it would work out is a liar. The truth is coming back from insurmountable odds takes dedication, persistence, and a little bit of luck. We love to ignore that last one because after all we’re talking about the human spirits need to succeed. The fact is Steve Jobs was not unique. You can read his biography and study his life but at the end of the day there are hundreds of thousands of people, maybe even millions, that have the same exact level of dedication and persistence. It’s that little bit of luck that makes them Steve Jobs.

So you’re not going to be the next Steve Jobs. That doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel, call it a day and become a greeter at Walmart. You have to be happy with you. Only you can set your life goals. Many people start from the top and try to work their way down. “I want to be rich” isn’t a life goal unless you have a plan that shows how to get there.

Starting Small Gets You There Quicker

Have you ever played the card game War? Think back to your childhood or if you have children you might have played it more recently. It’s a slow moving game where each turn the opponents throw down a card and the higher card wins. If two cards match, on the same turn, there is a war where more cards are on the table for the taking. The winner of the game is the one that collects all the cards. I’ve personally played games of War that have lasted well over two hours. It’s a slow moving game – just like success.

Tom Daley, the fresh faced British diver from the Olympics, didn’t wake up one morning climb to the highest diving platform and get handed a medal. He literally climbed his way to the top. Rung after rung on the ladder and not without tremendous setbacks. In 2011, his father died from a brain tumor at age 40. That’s enough to stop anyone in their tracks but Tom pushed forward. The underdog takes small gradual steps to come from behind.

If you run a company, regardless the size, a business plan helps layout a path towards success. However, I don’t feel the business plan goes far enough. It’s great for getting focused, but many times it lacks enough detail to be effective. Often times a business owner will step through the process of writing the business plan and then put it in an office draw.

Out of sight is out of mind. A year later when that business person opens that draw again they often laugh at the naivety of the document. Yes, it’s great for your overall marketing plan and estimating the ROI from advertising. But the devil is in the details and we often get lost in the day-to-day running of our business and lose sight of the original plan. Take that business plan out of the draw and step out each element. If the marketing section called for a postcard campaign detail the number of times you plan to send it. How many are you sending and are you going to follow up with a phone call?

In this economy, everyone is an underdog. Even if you have the house, the boat, and the car you’ve always dream; there is someone on your heels ready to knock you down, pushing you in a corner and ready to take your place. The way the underdog wins is by setting small goals and stepping up the ladder one rung at a time.
Halyard Consulting is a New Jersey based Internet Marketing company focused on improving online results for businesses with geographically specific clientele. Halyard Consulting was founded in 2007 when owner Jonathan Goodman recognized the difficulties small businesses had gaining top positions in the search engines. Since then our focus has been to improve the search rankings of businesses with geographically specific customers.The Halyard Consulting Equation: Great Content + A Search Engine Friendly Website + Social Media = Success.

-what was your biggest takeaway from the ideas above? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.