Charting realistic goals begins with self-assessment

Top performers do much more than dream. They develop a series of realistic goals that will propel them to where they want to be. They continue raising the bar, setting increasingly ambitious goals, until they achieve their ultimate vision of success. Then they start the process all over again. In every case, this process begins with a realistic self-assessment of their current skills and capabilities.

Self-assessment can be a tricky business. In business, some people may feel that their dreams are beyond their capabilities. They imagine insurmountable obstacles and decide that they simply can’t “go high” in their careers. But that is not the case. Anyone can become a top performer. You – yes, you! – can become a top leader in your organization.

Let’s start with a self-assessment. Take a moment now to reflect on three basic questions:

1. What is preventing you from achieving your business goals?
2. What barriers are standing between you and your dreams?
3. What goals must you achieve to overcome them?

As you reflect, you may realize that some of the obstacles standing between you and your business goals have very little to do with business. Consider every aspect of your life that might be preventing you from becoming a top performer:

• Do I fully understand my company’s products and services?
• Do I fully grasp my competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
• Do I truly give my best effort every day and tackle the most challenging tasks first?
• Am I getting enough sleep?
• Am I exercising regularly and rigorously?
• Am I maintaining a healthy and balanced diet?
• Am I maintaining my most important personal relationships?

No doubt you can come up with additional examples. Write all of them down. You now have a firm basis for creating an “obstacle elimination plan”!

Successful people achieve their vision by pursuing a series of realistic goals that they attain one by one in the same way we climb mountains: one step after the next. But, the number of steps we must take depends on where we start on our journey.

Effective plans are realistic and achievable. But to get there, you need a realistic plan that reflects experience, past performance, and stage of professional development. These plans must address the unique sequence of goals you must fulfill to become number one.


Susan Ershler

<!--paging_filter--><p>Susan and her husband, Phil, became the first couple in history to climb the Seven Summits. She is a sought-after international speaker who has served in leadership positions for Fortune 500 companies for more than twenty years. Her client list includes such industry giants as Aflac, Boeing, Cisco, Eli Lilly, Microsoft, Nike, and Wells Fargo, to name a few. She is co-author of Together on Top of the World and lives in Washington State.</p> <p> <a href=""></a></p>