Before Pete Carroll became a championship-winning college and NFL head coach, he had to start near the bottom of the coaching ladder and gain experience. His first coaching job came while he was a graduate assistant, working as the wide receivers and secondary coach at the University of the Pacific. UOP was certainly not known for its football success. Still, Carroll put his heart into the job and tried to make his players the best they could be.

Pete Carroll inspired his UOP secondary to lead the country in interceptions

Before the start of the season, Carroll tried to energize his defensive backs. He challenged them to lead the nation in interceptions that year. Even though Carroll described his players as young and average, he only saw the positives of making the unrealistic goal. Even if they didn’t achieve it, the pursuit of that goal could still bring remarkable results.

Bolstered by the positive energy the challenge provided and working day in and day out to achieve it, Carroll’s UOP defense recorded 25 interceptions that season, near the top of all colleges in the NCAA.

When have you set a wildly unrealistic goal?

When is the last time you set a wildly unrealistic goal? I don’t mean that you should set one that is impossible. You can set one higher than you think you can achieve, though.

The only competition that matters is the one that takes place within yourself.

The problem with SMART goals

People love to use the SMART plan for setting goals. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound seems logical. In my opinion, though, goals set with this system tend to be tasks more than career-building goals. They are rarely inspiring. They don’t push you to work harder than you ever have before.

What if you don’t achieve your unrealistic goal?

You might wonder why setting unrealistic goals could help you. After all, why pursue something that you likely won’t achieve? Here’s the catch: Even if you don’t reach it, you will climb far higher than if you set more modest goals.

The upside of an unrealistic goal

Whatever you do – whether it’s a sport, your career or school – set a target that seems out of reach. Make sure it’s one that could completely change the trajectory of your life. Imagine all of the great outcomes from reaching that goal. Let it inspire you. Then work like you never have before to make it happen.

Maybe you can try to lead your company in sales. Maybe you can make the All-Star team for your region. Maybe you can raise your C average in school by getting an A in math class.

Once you declare your goal, you’ll be inspired to take action to make it happen. And rest assured, even if you don’t make it all the way, you’ll be farther along than if you had never set that unrealistic goal.

Ready to win in every aspect of your life?

I’ve created a checklist of 12 qualities of the world’s best athletes and coaches that will help you win in your work and life. If you adopt these traits, you will succeed in every aspect of your life, every single day.

Get the checklist here!

Source: Win Forever: Live, Work and Play Like a Champion by Pete Carroll with Yogi Roth and Kristoffer A. Garin

Recommended Products and Resources
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