Watch the video above or read the full text below to learn how setting goals the right way can enable you to hit 8 out of 7 targets!
My wife, Mary, and I have a friend named John who is an excellent marksman. John competes at the expert level using various styles and types of handguns and rifles. He often practices at a shooting range complete with tunnels and other challenges both indoors and out. The firearms he and his fellow marksmen use for competition have lasers attached for accuracy. These weapons are fast and accurate when in the hands of an expert.
Not long ago, John invited us out on a Sunday afternoon to watch him practice for a competition. I grew up around guns and this sort of thing is right up my alley; Mary, on the other hand, really couldn’t have cared less. So, we went out that Sunday and watched John and the other marksmen go through the course; it was pretty impressive. When they had finished their drills, John turned to us and asked if we’d like to take a turn. Heck yeah, I’ll try it!
John and a few others took us up to a separate range. This range had a horizontal target bar maybe 100 feet away from the shooting platform. The target consisted of seven metal plates, each in the shape of a fan, lined up along the horizontal bar. When each separate fan was hit – or should I say IF a separate fan was hit – it would fall down.
John, being a good host, went first. He raised the weapon, held very still, and then without warning, got off several rapid rounds – five out of the seven fans went down. I was so impressed I wanted to shout and start clapping; but that wouldn’t have looked too cool! Anyway, it was pretty fantastic. Then he handed the gun to me and started to give me a few instructions. But, I waved John off as I reminded him and everybody else that I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where large families of avid hunters and gun enthusiasts are the norm; so, I’m very familiar with guns. (Just try and help somebody with an “I know it all” attitude!)
So, I got in my stance, took my best aim, and shot off the entire clip. John slapped me on the back, “Hey that’s pretty good for a first-timer; that’s impressive.” I had shot down three out of the seven fans — I was pretty happy with my demonstration.
Next, it was Mary’s turn. Now, Mary has never touched, let alone shoot, a gun in her life. I’m not even sure if she’s ever been this close to a real gun. Her feeling is that she has no need for them and doesn’t care about them. John slowly explained the fundamentals of handling such a weapon. Truthfully, It sounded to me like he might be patronizing her, but she was patient. He proceeded to teach her how to hold the weapon, how to stand, and how to aim.
Mary took the gun in her hands and held it up to aim. Then she stopped, she didn’t know what to do next. John, again slightly condescending in my opinion, explained about the little red dot from the laser, how to put the red dot on the target, and that she should just “squeeze” the trigger. “That’s all you’ve got to do,” he said.
One more thing I forgot to mention . . . If you are fast enough and accurate enough, it is conceivable to get two bullets off so rapidly that a shooter could actually hit the same target twice before it falls down. Very, very few people can do it in the world – maybe a few of the best pros. You can see what’s coming, right?
So, back to Mary. She set up her stance, aimed and fired. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. She got two bullets off in rapid succession, hitting the first target twice before it fell down, and then shot the remaining six down. She hit all seven of the targets. Actually, she got eight out of seven! Eight out of seven! My wife. If you want to shout and applaud for her, go right ahead. Eight out of seven. How’d she do it? John and I just stood there looking at each other dumbfounded. When John regained his wits and his voice, he turned to her and asked, “Mary, how did you do that?” And I’ll never forget what Mary said. She said, “You told me to put the red dot on the target and squeeze the trigger. So I did. I did exactly as you told me to do.”
You see she didn’t know it was suppose to be tough. She didn’t know she was required to have good balance. She didn’t know that the gun would recoil. She didn’t have any beliefs about the process other than what was necessary for a positive outcome. And, because she was coached forwards (by telling her exactly what to do and how to do it right), she was able to get eight out of seven.
Think about that for a minute and how it might apply to you and your work environment. Are you satisfied getting three out of seven? How about four or five out of seven? Maybe you should goal-set to get eight-out-of-seven results every day. Of course, that means you might have to think and work a little more differently than you have in the past. I’m pretty sure all of you know what an eight-out-of-seven day would like for you. Is it worth the effort?
Let me put it this way: You’ve got an appointment with a brain surgeon. Upon entering his office, you notice a gorgeous antique desk, beautiful paintings, brass lamps and the requisite diplomas and awards hanging on the walls. One such award proclaims: For Achievement in Getting Three Out of Seven. Would you hire this guy to handle your surgery? I’m not sure I’d hire him to handle my lawn mower!
Three or four out of seven is probably considered mediocre, and some of you have been satisfied with mediocre. There are all sorts of excuses and reasons to remain mediocre. Some people are happy just to have a job and to know that they’re average or doing ok. And, I’m happy for them that they feel satisfied. They’ve determined that being in the middle of the pack (or belonging to a pack at all!) is good enough for them.
What’s it like for you? What’s good enough for you? I’m telling you that if you want to be in business three years from now, you must get eight out of seven. All those who aim for only four or five out of seven will soon find themselves working for someone else, if they’re lucky.
Take a few minutes in the next day or so and make a list of what eight out of seven looks like for you and for your business. Once you decide what a successful day – an eight-out-of-seven day – looks like and why you want it, make a commitment to yourself to never again accept anything less.