ArticleJim Hughes

Want To Raise Your Level?  Lower the Bar

ArticleJim Hughes
Want To Raise Your Level?  Lower the Bar

When I suggest to people that in order to achieve more they should lower their bar, I receive odd looks.

Whilst I respect celebrity entrepreneurs like Gary Veynerchuck and Grant Cardone, I think the messages they pedal about ‘10 X’ing’ and always setting enormous goals are just...well bollocks.

There is a lot to be gained from thinking big.  There’s credence in the concept of pushing harder in order to achieve greatness.  

However there is equal danger in biting off more than we can chew.

Just imagine you were starting to learn the high jump from scratch and eventually wanted to clear 2 metres.  As you lined up for your first attempt what would happen if your trainer set the bar at the final 2 metre height?  I doubt you would even begin your run up.

What about weight loss?  Have you ever seen people initiate crash diets that require 2000 calories to be immediately cut from their daily intake?  How successful are they usually?

On both occasions, the new goal may be viable in the long run but represent such an enormous departure from the existing ‘normal’ that they scare the shit of the participant.  The result? Failure, usually before they’ve even started.

Now what would happen if you set the bar for your first jump at a height you knew you could make?  

What would happen to the dieter if the first step was to cut out a couple of snacks per day?

In isolation, neither step will lead to the final goal being achieved but -and this is the crucial bit- they enabled the ball to get rolling.

The same applies if you’re starting or growing a business.  

Listening to famous entrepreneurs telling you to settle for nothing less than 10 X may initially light a fire up your arse but very soon -when you realise how much easier it is to say than do- you will become demotivated.  

The goal will be too scary and you will feel that anything less than 10 X represents a failure.  The little snowball stays at the top of the slope without ever getting pushed down.

This is such a common story and prevents so many entrepreneurs from ever getting going.

My advice? Lower your bar.  Set yourself lower short term goals.  Don’t promise to win 5 new clients in your first month.  Promise to win 1 new client. 

Getting the snowball rolling down the hill is what is essential.  It doesn’t matter how big it is to start with, it will build up over time.  Momentum is where the value lies. 

Lower goals allow us to get started.  Getting started helps build momentum. Momentum provides confidence.  Confidence enables us to keep moving. If we keep moving, we can keep growing. 

So the next time you’re looking at the bar in front of view and wondering how the hell you’re going to clear it, ask yourself WHY the bar is set that high, who put it there and what would happen if you lowered it!