You’ve probably heard the way to eat an elephant is to take one bite at a time. In business, this is fundamental because it decidedly identifies the road to success. This road, it should be well understood, isn’t an easy path and will have plenty of bumps along the way. These setbacks or failures, are excellent parts of the learning curve and are typically more valuable than successes. Savvy entrepreneurs embrace this truth and use it in a strategic way.
Some of the largest and oldest companies were born from simple ideas. These giants grew from obscurity, not because of all they offer, but because each accomplished a goal which made them instrumental to the world of commerce. In 1939, after many frustrating years, inventor Charles Goodyear discovered the process of vulcanization. Though the legendary achievement is etched in history, the backstory is quite telling. Goodyear spent years trying to turn his concept into reality. He went dead broke, went into extreme debt, yet, endured and persisted on one single goal.
How to Accomplish Your Biggest Goals in Small Steps
Of course, not every entrepreneur suffers such extreme adversity. It’s true that the majority of businesses do experience fits and starts, but, overcome and go on to achieve enough to turn a respectable profit. The way this happens is through a series of phases which include periodic cycles of failures. These aren’t due to lack of motivation, not being smart or talented enough, but, the result of trying to accomplish too many things at once.
When people set out to begin a major work project or adopt a healthier lifestyle, it’s easy to become discouraged when picturing the long road ahead. By the same token, even smaller-scale plans like keeping a medical appointment or a standing date to the gym can become easily derailed by the busyness of our daily lives or a simple aversion to the doctor or the treadmill. —The Wharton School
Let’s get back to how to eat an elephant. The key to tackling any big goal is to do so in a smart and workable manner. Though most people understand reaching a goal takes time, their enthusiasm causes over-reach and that’s when things start to go wrong. You just can’t do six things at once and expect to master all of them. Too many directions, which is to say, too many projects, is a recipe for failure. So, the key to success, is the opposite — do one thing at a time. Here’s how to accomplish your biggest goal in small steps:
- Set a big goal to reach. The first step is to set a realistic goal. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but, these can be too large to reach before feeling discouraged. One of the reasons entrepreneurs achieve success is they have a vision that’s focused and workable.
- Identify a realistic path to take. Another component to achieving your big goal is to map out a realistic path to take. Break the process down into phases — these don’t have to include every possible detail or include all contingencies. Martin Luther King remarked on this when he said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
- Start with one small, incremental step. You’ve probably heard different adages about the first step being the hardest. It’s true and to feel a sense of accomplishment while building momentum, the first step ought to be small.
- Take a moment to reflect the accomplishment. After each incremental step or phase is complete, take time to reflect on your accomplishment. The sense of pride is inspiring, and, it reinforces your self confidence.
With every step and phase completion, you can look toward your ultimate goal but stay focused on the here and now. This will help to motivate you, and, it’s a great way to appreciate your hard work.
As a side note, it would be an honor to help out my LinkedIn connections with their business. At minimum, I’d love to connect and be in touch. We can do this by you signing up & getting my Top 5 Business Tips each month; and it’s free! May Your Business Succeed Beyond Your Dreams! ~Best, John Waters