Those of you who know me know my blood runs orange – Clemson orange. And, while I am disappointed in our loss this past week to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Clemson and those players are still the winners.

You’re not good enough” “You can never achieve that level of success” “You’re foolish to even try” It was just a lucky break

We’ve all heard these words at one time or another – whether spoken by others or as a result of our own self-doubt. But at the end of these words, legends are made, if only we reach for the stars.

For example, in the 2017 pre-season college football rankings Clemson was ranked #5 despite being the reining college football National Champions. This ranking was based on the fact that Clemson was losing some of their best talent to the NFL and the likelihood of others’ adequately filling their shoes was considered slim. In addition to be ranked #5, Clemson was also predicted to end up 3rd in their conference behind Florida State and Maiam. Wow, from reining National Champs to 3rd in their division – quite a fall in the expectations of the “experts”.

The stage was set for a mediocre season and had Clemson listened to their critics, no one would have been surprised if this was a rebuilding year. But a leader with a vision is a powerful thing and in their capable hands followers are inspired to greatness. Dabo Swinney is just such a leader and he has a vision to build, not just a football season but a football dynasty at Clemson. Although there were doubters, he established stretch goals and devised action plans to achieve them. He mentored and groomed his players and provided developmental opportunities so they could hone vital skills – both on and off the field. Then he gained the buy in of his team and inspired them to greatness.

It would have been easy to rest on his laurels from the previous National Championship season, but that’s not a trait of exceptional leaders. Instead, Dabo challenged himself and his team to resist the doubters and reach for the stars. And although the team fell short of the 2017 National Championship, they achieved far more than expected by the so called “experts” and in the world of goal setting this is considered “breakthrough” performance. In other words, Clemson achieved far more by setting stretch goals than they ever would have had they listened to the critics and lowered the bar.

What do you want to achieve in 2018? Are you inspiring greatness or are you listening to the critics? Download our goal planning worksheet here and get started on your best year ever. Even if you fall short of the goal, remember, falling short of a target is not a failure as long as improvement is made. The only failure is the failure to try.

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