Life is a series of ups and downs for basically everyone, both personally and professionally. Rarely do people find success without ever having faced some hard times. On paper, underneath my listed accomplishments and accolades, it may look as though I never struggled, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The Struggle Was Real

Getting to my goals wasn’t easy. For you to get anywhere near your goals, you have to start with setting them. I learned that the hard way. When you’re 51 years old, unemployed (having been fired), and you only have 4 months of money to live on, desperation sets in and lights a fire under you.

In 1981, I took my first step toward achieving my goals by reading the book “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. It’s about how a person activates their goal seeking mechanism in order to achieve extraordinary things. I depended on this book so much that I read it 69 times in the last 37 years. Why? Because each time I read it, I gain new insight and inspiration.

To continue my growth, I went through Ron Willingham’s course on Managing Goal Achievement and read “Goals!” by Brian Tracy. I used all of the lessons I learned from these to help me achieve great success as a salesperson, sales leader, and entrepreneur. However, the lessons I learned have been 10 times more important when I wasn’t successful.

Goal Setting: Take That First Step

When I was going through that rough time in my early 50s, I had to apply everything I learned about goal setting to get out of the rut. I started by giving myself one overarching goal: to start and build a 5-million-dollar company. I didn’t have a clue as to how I would do it, but I accomplished the first step by having a goal laid out with exquisite clarity.

Something I learned about goal setting is that if I believe it can happen, and that I’m worthy of it, I don’t need to know how it will happen yet. My goal seeking mechanism does that on its own. It will inevitably kick in, and the path will become clear. That is exactly what happened for me.

Suddenly, I saw the path, and it started with me accessing my business network for help. I reached out, asking for guidance about what I should be doing, and just 3 months after having been fired, I was hired to do a consulting project. At the time, I also had my own company (consisting of just my wife, my 1-year-old son, and myself) and another project from a contact in my business network (see how important that network is?).

That beginning led to a company that does well over $5 million a year and has almost 30 employees. And I have since created 5 rules for setting and achieving stretch goals and even have a virtual training program on goal setting.

To Start is the Hardest Part

Was any of this easy? Heck no, it wasn’t. It was especially difficult for my wife who, as co-owner, was also responsible for writing proposals, creating training decks, and taking care of a 1-year-old. It was hard, but we made it work. Unfortunately, most people want to be successful but are not willing to do what it takes to become successful.

Learning how to set and achieve stretch goals will be your best ally, whether you’re succeeding or you’re struggling. Without that knowledge and the belief that my goal seeking mechanism would kick in, who knows what I would be doing today?

You can’t hit a target you don’t have. So, make goal setting your new best friend. You’ll be glad you did. #BeIncredible

Interested in setting and achieving your own stretch goals? Click here to learn more about Jerry’s online Goal Setting course.