Forget the Wake, Steer the Boat, and Keep Your Eyes on the Goal

December 17, 2020 –

When people experience drought or lack of motivation, it is easy to lie down and wallow in the mud as often we do. They look around and see gloom, doom, and despair everywhere. Once they envisioned a bright future, they now look backward at all the pressing problems and drawing them from their goals. 

But the answer to achieving goals does not lie in the past. It would help if you did not believe that the past drives your future. Past failures are just that—past failures. What you did or did not do yesterday or last week or last month does not have to influence you today.

For example, the wake of a boat does nothing to propel it forward. A boater who continually watches the wake is headed for trouble. Successful boaters forget the wake, steer the boat, trim the sails, and keep their eyes on the goal. Professionals must forget the past, execute action plans, monitor and adjust activities according to the territory’s winds, and stay focused on the destination.

By focusing on the goal, you can trim or eliminate current actions that sidetrack you from achieving your goal. Therefore, you can align your actions with your goals. Achieving your goals—business and personal—define the life you live. Failing to achieve your goals also explains the life you live.

The admonition to “keep your eyes on the goal” assumes you have a goal or destination. American businessman and author Harvey Mackay put it this way, “If you don’t have a destination, you’ll never get there.” Before we can reach a goal, we must have a goal.

Often we confuse “wants” and “wishes” with goals. These daydreams often originate in the past, with the wake. Benjamin Mays observed, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”