It's The Journey, Not The Destination
Don't you just hate clichés like the one illustrated in the headline of this article? I know I do. But love them or hate them, most of us must admit that such adages and clichés are often grounded in truth, and this one is no different.
Many people view goals in a one-dimensional manner: you either succeed or you fail. It's understandable why people view goals in such a black and white manner, because as humans we tend to be very results-oriented, and it's this single-minded tenacity and critique that has allowed us to develop from cavemen around a campfire to modernized individuals living in a world with satellites, computers and medical miracles.
But this strength can also be a weakness when you close your mind to the big picture and instead focus purely on the end result. For example, let's say I wanted to develop a secondary income stream to help pay some extra bills. I decide that since Internet marketing is a relatively "cheap" way to enter the business world, I'll develop a website that offers dog training books to dog owners via an affiliate program.
Three months go by and my site receives little traffic, and the traffic it does receive is so unfocused that my sales conversion is horrible. Did I fail? In a black and white world, absolutely - I'm not making any money, thus I failed. But let's look at the big picture a little closer, shall we?
During those three months while it's true that did not make any money, here's what I did do:
- I learned how to build a website. Perhaps it's not the fanciest site in the world, but it gave me a solid foundation upon which I can build better websites in the future.
- I developed a better understanding of what I need to do to promote a website in the various search engines.
- I learned how to locate and join various affiliate programs that complements the theme of my site.
- I learned that because my traffic was not targeted enough (I received too many non-pet owners or non-dog owners), sales conversions were minimal.
- And most importantly of all, I took a step forward in the right direction rather than just sat back and dreamt about my goal, which is more than most people do.
My initial failure is in some ways a success, because I gained invaluable knowledge that will better help me tweak my website and promotions, or build more solid foundations for future sites and projects. Failure does not have to be the end of the road ? it can instead be an essential lesson that guides your hand through continued attempts at goal achievement.
The above example uses a business-oriented website, but surely you can see how this would apply for any task or goal. If after a week of dieting you lost no weight, you know you've done something wrong and should tweak your formula. If after a month of studying a foreign language you still don't have any of the basics down, you know you're too distracted or undedicated at your current pace and thus need to up the ante a bit. No matter what your goal may be, failure is never the end of the road ? it's a lesson that will lead to future success.
Copyright 2005 Goals and Motivation.com
About the Author: Jeffrey Rolo is an experienced human resources manager, business owner and also the owner of Goals and Motivation.com, a website offering a free 20+ page guide on goal setting. Visit http://www.goals-and-motivation.com to view this guide as well as other articles about goals and management.