When I was a homeless kid in Southern California my goalpost was going to college.
When I got accepted to college my goalpost moved to graduating college with honors.
When I graduated with honors my goalpost moved to a high paying job.
When I got a high paying job my goalpost moved to building a business that replaced my salary.
Once I replaced my salary with that business my goalpost moved to tripling my salary.
When I tripled my salary my goalpost moved to having a 7 figure company.
At each successful point in my career and entrepreneurial journey I never took the time to call myself ‘successful’. Instead, I moved on to the next thing. Then the next. Then the next.
As ambitious entrepreneurs and business professionals it can be easy to get caught up in the hype of our goals. We place them on a pedestal and revere them, not taking the time to ruminate on the success we’ve already achieved based on our previous definition of success.
We replace our definition of success with a new, even better definition, and spend little to no time considering the monumental gains we just made.
You need to look back at your success in order to appreciate what will happen when you move forward.
Define Your Goalpost
“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals” — Deepak Chopra
I’m going to guess you probably have at least a dozen goals in your head right now, whether for your business or your career. Even if you don’t have them written down they’re likely floating around your head whispering sweet nothings to you throughout the day.
Throw them all out. Start over.
Instead, meditate on what your one goal is, and make it big. You’re not making a to-do list, you’re changing your life.
For example, my goalpost right now is writing my book, Founding Fathers. Notice I didn’t say ‘writing my book and hitting #1 on Amazon’s Best Seller List’ or ‘writing my book and getting it endorsed by Gary V.’ Adding caveats to your goalpost is what moves them, and you’re not moving your goalpost anymore. Instead, you’re going to score, and then move on to another field entirely.
Write your goalpost down. Do it. Now.
Play The Field
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them” — Henry David Thoreau
Now that you’ve defined your goalpost, it’s time to play the field (no, not like that).
Imagine a real football field, with your goalpost at the end of it, and work backwards from your goal to define all the things you can and should do to move down the field.
For example, with my goalpost of writing my first book, working backwards looks like this:
- Goalpost — Finished Book Manuscript
- Design a book cover
- Finished draft
- Finished chapter 2
- Finished chapter 1
- Finished introduction
- Choose a title
- Choose a book theme
Some of these things are going to barely move me down the field (ie designing the book cover) while others are going to provide huge amounts of momentum (ie finishing the introduction), but regardless each moves me down the field closer to my goalpost, and each is necessary for me to reach it.
“Self-acknowledgement and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments.” — Jack Canfield
Once you’ve reached the goalpost it’s time to stop.
Look at what you’ve accomplished.
Understand that you’ve done something incredible. Really understand it. Don’t let your mind snap to your next goalpost. Instead, celebrate your win and live in the moment.
The easiest way I’ve found to do this is by defining what you’ll do to celebrate your achievement at the time you define your goalpost.
For example, when I finish writing the manuscript for my new book I’ll be unplugging for a week and get out of town with my family. Unplugging will force me to not think about my next goalpost, my Twitter following, the emails I need to respond to, and Slack messages I haven’t seen.
Being with my family will allow me to celebrate in the context of the life I know I’m blessed to live, and put my goalpost in the proper perspective. That I’m working for something more than a book, fame, or fortune, but family and freedom.
Want more? Sign up for the launch of my new book, Founding Fathers to learn how the world’s most successful entrepreneurs balance fatherhood and business, and get the eBook free when it drops.
Originally published by Jake Hare on Dadpreneur Club.