Missing the Mark Does Not Equate to Failure

missing the mark does not equate to failureAs a leader, we often get a reputation for being hard on ourselves. That’s because we’re relentlessly trying to do things the right or best way to achieve our goals. But no one is born perfect, so sometimes we fall short of our objectives in spite of putting forth great effort. At MAP, this topic frequently comes up in our accountability meetings. When we’re checking in with well-intentioned, hard-working, goal-driven leaders, they’re surprised or even upset when they realize they’ve not made all their marks. However, while achieving goals 100% of the time sounds ideal, it’s generally an unrealistic expectation. Most people hit their targets with about an 80% success rate. That remaining 20% then creates opportunities for learning and growth. So remember, missing the mark doesn’t necessarily equate to “failure.” In fact, getting things wrong is part of getting them right. If you find yourself occasionally falling short of your goals, simply recognize this as an opportunity to explore what happened and, more importantly, take corrective action, so you can do better next time.

Feeling frustrated about falling short of your goals? Keep these points in mind:

1. Learning is a process.

Greatness doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does goal achievement materialize at the snap of a finger. It takes time and patience as well as discipline, as discussed in MAP’s newest book, “The Disciplined Leader.” When you approach the process with discipline, using consistent actions and mindsets that will enable and empower success, you’re going to reach your goals more quickly and efficiently. Yet still, there will likely be setbacks and challenges. Realize those are there for the learning so embrace them, acknowledging that those hurdles and what you learn from them are simply part of the goal-achievement process.

2. Little successes count.

Sometimes in looking at our achievements, we tend to focus only on the end goal—as in, “Did we make it or not?” But smaller successes matter, too. For example, external circumstances can affect our ability to make a major goal, yet, in spite of odds stacked against us, we still make small measures of progress toward it. What’s more, little wins over time can add up and even create a compound effect in terms of getting closer to our objective. Like add-on sales in retail, lots of small successes can contribute significantly to the bottom line. So don’t discount these “lesser” wins.

3. The experience is a gift in and of itself.

When you go through the ups and downs that commonly come in the process of learning and goal achievement, you undoubtedly get a lot experience with how to hold yourself and others accountable. The more you have of this invaluable experience, the more skilled you become at managing and achieving your goals. So tough as it may be, view the process and all you’re learning, including all the highs and lows, as a gift. Allow it to be a teacher and to better position and empower you for what’s to come.

How do you manage your emotions when you find you’ve “missed the mark”?


​ The Disciplined Leader

What do the best leaders have in common? The answer is one word: Discipline. A disciplined leader is one who identifies and focuses on the Vital Few: the 20% of activities that will drive 80% of the results. Learn More

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