Let’s face it. We don’t know our own potential. We form an idea based on what we’ve done in the past, what people we know have done, and what others tell us we can do; however, our potential isn’t really based on the past, other people’s accomplishments, or someone else’s guess. What DOES determine our potential? I don’t know, probably the position of Venus when you were born or whether or not you're a middle child. The point is that goal setting is guesswork. We do our best to set the bar at a level that seems both challenging and attainable, but we don’t know where that is until we try.
If a goal doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t belong on your list of goals. It belongs on your to do list. Goals should stretch you and foster growth. It may be tempting to set your expectations low to ensure success; however, is it really success? What if you were capable of so much more? How can you know? That’s why it’s so important to set goals at what you believe to be your maximum capability or even just beyond your maximum capability. These are stretching goals that will ensure you are reaching your true potential.
When we underestimate ourselves, it is possible to set goals that can actually limit us. Let’s say you organize an event to raise money for charity and set the goal at $5,000. You expect it to take 4 hours to reach the goal, but it only takes one hour. What do you do now? Do you end the event early and go home? Of course not. You continue to work hard and try for $20,000. It seems obvious, but in many areas of our lives we quit when we’ve reached our goal and never know what we could have done. This is where stepping up you goals comes into play.
Step up Your Goals
Stepping up your goals can be planned, or spontaneous. It's taking what you would normally do, or what you plan to do and making it bigger, better, more challenging, and more rewarding. One way to step it up is to take a limiting goal and turn it into a stretching goal while you’re planning. Often times; however, we don’t even realize we’ve set a limiting goal. In these cases, it’s important to evaluate your performance while working towards a previously set goal. Ask yourself, “Is this too easy? Should I be working harder? Could I do more?” If the answer is yes, don’t let your goal limit you. Step it up and show that goal who’s the boss. And I don’t mean Tony Danza. Never settle for just checking that goal off your list. Destroy it. Annihilate it.