By Michael Gunther

This past weekend, my partner Steve, our nephew Zach, his fiancée Trish and I decided to go hiking near our home at a place called Bishop’s Peak. Although we moved to the Central Coast nearly nine years ago, we had never climbed this mountain. As I reflected on the hike, I realized there were many similarities to achieving one’s goals for 2012.

First, when we arrived at the trailhead there was no parking, which forced us to go back about a quarter of a mile just to find a parking space on a side street. Our hike began further back than we anticipated and it appeared that many other people were trying to achieve the same goal. Sometimes people will stop moving forward with their goal if they hit an early set back or believe the market is too competitive. You should still move ahead.

The initial part of the trail encompasses a grove of California oak, twisting and turning through a forest. Even though we lost sight of the peak of the mountain, we encouraged ourselves to stay on the path, trusting that we were headed in the right direction. I’ve seen people who, while implementing their plan, get so caught up in the day-to-day tactical aspects that they may not have sight of the goal but they keep plugging along. With your own goals you have to also continue to move forward, believing you’re headed in the right direction.

Along the trail we came across people running, rock climbing up the granite sides of the mountain, etc. It made me realize that we have to keep our minds open to multiple ways of accomplishing our goals. If your original method or tactics don’t work out, there is always another path that could get you to the goal. In fact, you may push yourself in the future to try reaching your goals using a different method or approach in order to achieve a different level of success once you reach the top.

On one point of the path, as we circled the mountain, it started heading downward. We began to question whether we were on the right trail as we appeared to be going down instead of up—we felt like we were getting further and further away from our goal. We soon came upon some fellow hikers from the opposite direction, who assured us that we were on the right trail, and informed us that it was going to get tougher ahead. When you’re on your path towards goal achievement, it’s imperative to find individuals who’ve been there before so you can check in with them, share your current state, and affirm you’re on the right track.

We assessed our status as we continued forward, comparing the city below to the peak of the mountain. As we got closer we could see other people at the top of the mountain. We became excited to see that we were getting close to achieving our goal, even though the trail had become steeper, more narrow, and full of rocks and outcroppings. We had to become more aware of every step we took, and we became more cautious as we proceeded forward. When pushing yourself towards your own goals, often it gets tougher as you get closer. You’re typically entering a new territory of skills and perseverance to make it happen. You have to push harder near the end, even though you may already be fatigued. Many people give up on their goals at this time, even though they’re so close.

We were approaching the crest of the mountain when we realized that we still had numerous granite boulders to climb to truly get to the top. Being so close to the end, we were energized to complete the goal. We now had to channel different skills than earlier, climbing between boulders, careful of our footing on the slippery granite. Then, we did it. We made it to the top of the mountain and it was incredible—360 degree views of the Central Coast! It was well worth the adventure.

On the path back, we discussed the great views and our successes. We now knew what to expect and would like to hike this trail again, but maybe from a different pace or approach. It’s important to evaluate your successes and enjoy the moment as you reach your goals, but also to be begin figuring out how to stretch yourself and your abilities next.

Bottom Line

As you begin the journey to achieve your goals this year, remember to keep an even pace and focus on the end goal. You may hit some ups and downs, but have faith that through your persistence and ever improving abilities you will be able to achieve your goals in 2012.

This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career. To read the previous articles in this series, visit his blog at www.Collaboration-llc.com.

Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration LLC, a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education and consulting services. Learn more at www.Collaboration-llc.com.

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