Last night I played tennis with my wife.
And I lost.
You see, my wife used to be a competitive tennis player. And she's started to play a lot again. So she's really good.
Now, even though my wife and I aren't really competitive when we play, losing over and over again isn't much fun.
But it didn't bother me at all.
Because I wasn't playing to win. I know that there's no way I can win. Unless maybe I got a bit lucky and/or she happened to play horribly and I happened to play great that day. But winning via luck wouldn't be overly satisfying either.
Because my wife is so much better than me right now, I was playing simply to get better. So that maybe in six months or a year from now I can win.
There is a really important business lesson here. Many of you have set big goals for your businesses. Which is great, because setting big goals is critical to your success. For instance, maybe your goal is to grow your business and sell it for $10 million.
In virtually all cases, this goal will take several years to achieve. And during these years, you need to constantly make progress towards achieving this goal, and you must stay positive.
Consider this -- if you sat down weekly and assessed whether you achieved your goal of selling your company for $10 million, you would say "no" each week. Essentially you would fail to accomplish your goal week after week after week. And at some point, with all that failure, your attitude would become negative, your energy would drop, and your chances of ultimately achieving your goal would drop precipitously.
The solution is to do what I'm doing with my tennis. Set a big goal. But, also set lots of smaller goals. My main goal yesterday was to improve my backhand. Next week it may be to work on my serve. And so on. And each time I set and achieve a smaller goal, I will be a step closer to achieving my bigger goal.
If you haven't done so already, write down your big business goal. In fact, you should have it written down on a piece of paper that you look at every day. Next, write down all the smaller goals that you will have to accomplish on the way to achieving your big goal. Finally, organize these goals into a timeline and use them to create your daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals and To Do lists.
Ultimately, your goal is to win in the game of entrepreneurship. But you don't always have to win. Rather, you need to constantly move closer to winning. You can achieve this by setting smaller goals that you can accomplish on an ongoing basis. And planning it out so that these smaller goals move you closer and closer to achieving your biggest ambitions.