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Published on January 4, 2021

6 Strategic Ways to Aim High and Achieve Your Goals

6 Strategic Ways to Aim High and Achieve Your Goals

Learning to aim high is ideal for any leader who has the ambition to win big. Unless winning small is your target, aiming high is the only option you should consider as an impactful leader looking to make a mark in your field.

How exactly can you strategically aim high, achieve your goals, and benefit from the fruits of true excellence?

It is hard to go wrong when developing small micro habits, executing daily tasks, tracking your progress and thinking long term[1]. Self-improvement is directly related to one’s ability to aim high because of the fluidity of the capitalist system[2].

I’m not aware of any professional who aims high and stops learning and developing new skill sets. Life evolves, and skill sets get obsolete. New demands are born. Challenges arise. Therefore, proactive continuous leadership improvement is necessary, expected, and beneficial to us all.

Gordon Tredgold, Founder and CEO of Leadership principles, stated that the secret to success is aiming high, following by starting small and keep going. He goes further to say that, “Big success are often just an accumulation of small successes.”[3]

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In this article, you will learn why small micro habits, executing daily tasks, tracking your progress long term, continuous self improvement, and the accumulation of small successes are powerful strategic footsteps for aiming high in the workforce.

Why You Should Strategically Aim High

Simply put, aiming low and failing isn’t worth living for. What a waste of time and talent it would be for anyone to ignore strategy and avoid aiming high and risking failure over success.

Learning to aim high must be your only stance when setting up life career goals if you truly want to live with passion and purpose.

6 Strategic Ways to Aim High and Achieve Your Goals

To aim high and achieve you goals, you must be strategic. Do these following activities, adapt them to your field, and test and see if they work for you. The following is exactly what I do to keep achieving high and living a life of purpose and continuous achievement.

1. Developing Small Micro Habits

You must first develop the ability to start micro habits, like curating your sphere of influence[4].

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The people you associate yourself with make a big difference in your life. Dr. Jose Valentino Ruiz-Resto, a University of Florida Music Entrepreneurship faculty member and Multi-Grammy and Emmy Award Winner, once said, “When you associate yourself with winners, you become a winner.”

Who is in your immediate sphere of influence? It’s important to know the answer to this because they will influence both your personality and path in life.

Other small but important micro habits are taking actions when others don’t, observing patterns, and starting each day by asking: “How can I change my life today?”

2. Executing Daily Tasks

In order to aim high and succeed, you need a plan and a course of action. The goal, in my current position as Department Chair, is to build the very best department of media production among Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the state of Alabama. My plan is to develop the necessary infrastructure, e.g. having modern facilities, an up-to-date media curriculum, a place for students to congregate, etc.

In order to accomplish all of this, I must execute a variety of daily tasks, including answering emails relating to the vision of the unit, speaking with students in order to gather important youth insights, revising old and writing new syllabi objectives, and creating partnerships on campus to increase cross-collaboration.

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Even if you have big, long-term goals, the daily tasks that you engage in each day will ultimately be what allows you to achieve them. Don’t get lost in big ideas and forget the importance of small tasks.

3. Tracking Your Progress in the Long-Term

Aiming high is almost always synonymous with aiming long-term. Achieving the extraordinary is a lifetime pursuit that takes time and must be measured against a particular standard overtime. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the book The Tipping Point, stated that “Researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.”[5]

While some scholars disagree with the actual number (10,000 hours), they do agree that a considerable amount of time is required for expertise to be developed. Leaders who aim high and succeed keep an up-to-date spreadsheet with data tracking the time spent on each task, along with progress made.

Project analytics is critical in the process because when variables are measured over time, trends (positive and negative) emerge, leading to insightful conclusions. This can help you adjust your goals as you go.

4. Continuous Self-Improvement

Tiger Woods, in his quest for self-improvement, “would get up in the morning and run four miles. After that, he’d go to the gym to lift weights. Then, he’d hit some balls for two or three hours, go play around, and then work on his short game.”[6]

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Some may consider his routine insane, but none disagree that Tiger Woods aimed very high and succeeded in his golf endeavors. He has been known for always trying to improve, even after winning multiple major open golf championships.

It’s clear to me that Tiger understood kaizen, the Japanese philosophy and practice for continuous improvement. It’s without question a requisite for aiming high and succeeding.

5. Accumulation of Small Successes

Aiming high and succeeding starts with taking the first step and accumulating small victories along the way. Let’s take the example of a journey to get a PhD. A PhD isn’t earned quickly or all at once. It is achieved over time through small successes.

It starts with getting accepted to a PhD program, followed by becoming a PhD candidate, passing coursework, to eventually being able to take “the comps” and start working on a doctoral dissertation. It is only after the former that a candidate has the chance to complete the degree through a dissertation defense.

Another great example comes from Chrysler. The great Lee Iacocca revived Chrysler Corporation in the 1980’s[7] by accumulating small successes which allowed his to acquire the Jeep Division of AMC in 1987. Great corporate leaders aim high and succeed by accumulating small successes along the way, and you can, too.

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Final Thoughts

To aim high is a philosophy worth pursuing. When implemented with sound and previously tested strategies, success is within reach. Above are just some of the strategies you might want to put in practice in your leadership bag of tricks. Higher standards emerge from such principles, and success follows the results.

More on How to Achieve Success

Featured photo credit: Joseph Chan via unsplash.com

Reference

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Dr. Luis C. Almeida

Dr. Almeida is a college professor and department chair who has taught over a thousand students with questions relating to technology and leadership.

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Last Updated on June 4, 2021

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism.

While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. — Henry Ford

Here are 10 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:

    1. J.K. Rowling

      During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.[1]

      Why? Simply because she was once a failure too.

      A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words,

      “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

      Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.

      2. Steve Jobs

        The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.

        Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began.

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        The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at AppleJobs said in 2005:

        “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

        Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!

        3. Bill Gates
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          Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. He co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure.[2]

          However, skill and a passion for computer programming turned this failure into the pioneer of famous software company Microsoft, and the then 31-year-old into the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

          In his own words:

          “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

          This isn’t to say that dropping out of Harvard will make you into a billionaire, but maybe that shiny degree isn’t worth as much as the drive and passion to succeed.

          If you haven’t found your passion like Bill Gates, this will help you:

          How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

          4. Albert Einstein

            The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

            His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that:

            “Success is failure in progress.”

            To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV.

            Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.

            5. Abraham Lincoln

              Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.

              In this great man’s words:

              “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

              Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America.

              The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.

              6. Michael Jordan

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                “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                This quote by retired basketball legend Michael Jordan in a Nike advertisement speaks for itself.

                It would be an easy misconception that Jordan’s basketball skills revolve around natural talent. In fact, in his earlier years,  basketball coaches had trouble looking past the fact that Jordan didn’t reach the minimum height. It was years of effort, practice, and failure that made the star we know today.

                Michael Jordan’s success all came down to his Intrinsic Motivation, one of the most invincible types of motivation that drives people to succeed.

                7. Steven Spielberg

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                  Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realize therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times.

                  While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years.

                  Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all.

                  “Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.”

                  Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved.

                  To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.

                  8. Walt Disney

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                    Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army.[3] One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.”

                    Yet today, The genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come.

                    The logic behind this is simple:

                    “We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

                    9. Vincent Van Gogh

                      During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37.

                      He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art.

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                      He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived.

                      He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture.

                      In the words of this great, but tragic man:

                      “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

                      10. Stephen King

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                        As a paranoid, troubled child, tormented by nightmares and raised in poverty, it is no surprise that Stephen King grew up to the title: “Master of Horror”.[4]

                        An addiction to drugs and alcohol were his mechanisms to cope with the unhappiness he felt with his life. The frustration he felt towards multiple rejections by publishers in combination with illicit substances caused him to mentally contemplate violence towards his own children.

                        These intense emotions were those that he focused onto his writing. And that’s why he said:

                        “We make up horros to help us cope with the real ones.”

                        Writing became his new coping mechanism, and this is how the master author we know today grew to success.

                        Fail More Often in Order to Succeed

                        Like Albert Einstein said, failure really is just success in progress. If you’d rather not to fail, you will probably never succeed.

                        Success comes from moments of frustrations when you’ll be most uncomfortable with. But after you’ve gone through all those bitter times, you’ll become stronger and you’ll get closer to success.

                        If you feel like a failure and think that you’ve failed all too many times, it’s not too late to change things up! Here’s how to turn your limitations into your opportunities:

                        Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.

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                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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