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By David H. Sandler

I have never been able to understand why some people can only see as far ahead as the end of the current day. Instead of aiming for long-term goals, they just wallow in their everyday problems. Sure, the job of running a business, selling, and hanging on to your clients day-to-day can be a full-time job. But a crucial part of that job – any job – is to look far ahead, to anticipate change and new challenges, and be prepared for them.

If you know what you are trying to accomplish over the long haul, that often provides sufficient motivation for doing the day-to-day "grunt" work to get you there. What difference does it make on a daily basis what you have to do, if each day gets you closer and closer to the end result? What difference does it make if you are turned down or turned out by a close-minded prospect? What sense is there in spending today pouting over what happened yesterday or, even worse, what might happen tomorrow? If your goals are clear, and you understand the path to achieve them, then it’s simple arithmetic: Do this plus that to arrive at your goals.

But it’s not always that easy to stay motivated over time. Imagine brick-laying. It’s easy to look at each brick as identical to the last, and look at bricklaying as drudgery, meanwhile forgetting that – together, one by one – those bricks are building a great edifice. By establishing a goals program, we help ourselves to look beyond the day-to-day "bricklaying," to see our progress in relation to the overall goal.

After all, even an eagle must build its nest one twig at a time. Only then can its nest become its launching pad!

By keeping our goals in sight, and our daily grind in perspective, we keep ourselves motivated through the dark days when we feel like we’re slipping backwards. And, by establishing intermediate goals, or milestones, we provide ourselves with opportunities to enjoy an occasional high, days when we can look back and see that we are making significant progress, moments when we can look ahead and see that we are on course. These moments of celebration give us renewed enthusiasm for moving through obstacles, and not around them. They answer the question, "Why?"

Goals do not have to be glamorous or earthshaking. They do not have to reach into the next decade. They just have to be ours – small goals. Goals that take us through tomorrow into next week, next month, and as far into the future as we dare to dream.

But, they must exist if we are to be motivated to achieve. We can’t borrow goals from our neighbors. We can’t order them out of a catalog. So where do we obtain goals? They are in our minds, intimately woven into the fabric of our personalities.

You can do it – if you dare to dream, dare to plan, and dare to build, brick by brick.

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From The President’s Club Report, ©1998 Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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