Keeping track of progress career goals Chris Saraceno

Think about your favorite movie or book. Now, imagine that the hero or heroine was never faced with a challenge. Rocky doesn’t train very hard and still beats Apollo in the first round. Darth Vader doesn’t show up and Luke Skywalker makes an easy shot to take out the Death Star. Indiana Jones walks in, takes the Holy Grail, and goes home.

One of the things we love about our favorite stories is seeing how the hero grows because of the challenges he or she must overcome. And it’s here that we should remind ourselves that we are the leading men and women in our own stories.

Challenges aren’t something to fear; they’re something that will allow us to grow stronger. Challenges are opportunities.

Lean times may come, and they may be uncomfortable, but the struggle builds character. The determination needed to get through difficult circumstances forces us to develop valuable mental and emotional toughness and grit. These are traits necessary to persist and consistently grow.

Embrace the Struggle

The struggle to become more than we started out with is what builds ambition and motivation. When faced with times like the pandemic we’ve all just gone through or dealing with low inventory due to the current chip shortage, for example, we’ve had to learn new methods to achieve our goals. We’ve had to dig down deeper to find the fortitude — the grit — to accomplish what we’ve set out to do.

High achievers understand that it’s important to use our struggles to build ourselves up instead of letting them drag us down to the point where we forget our dreams. Like an athlete, when we encounter resistance, we can use that challenge to become stronger and to accomplish more tomorrow than we were capable of doing today.

When presenting a vehicle to a client, we’re familiar with some of the usual objections. If we’ve been in the business any length of time, we have answers that will, hopefully, allow us to overcome them. We’ve learned these rebuttals through training and experience. Imagine, now, that a customer has an objection that we’ve never heard before. Should we just give up, or should we try to find an answer that will satisfy the customer and move the process forward?

Whether we make the sale or not, we’ve just learned a valuable lesson. We’ll be better prepared next time and have more experience to pull from to serve our future clients.

Heads Up, Eyes Up

Also, when faced with obstacles, it’s easy to lose sight of our goals. We’re too worried about “right now” to focus on our ultimate target. To combat this, my Theory of 5 mentors and I have found that goals must be written down. Without stated targets, it is rare to achieve the focus necessary to put our energy to its best use — “winging it” just isn’t as effective as building a strategy.

Often, my mentors and I have found that people who don’t have written objectives — those who are content to “hope for the best” — end up working for people who have kept their own goals in sight.

Take Control

The one constant that we’ll face — in our careers and in our lives — is that we will be challenged. As the pandemic taught us, there are factors that are beyond our control, and they always will be. What we can control, and what we must control, are our attitudes.

Our attitudes are what makes the difference between the most successful people and those who are content to complain. When things become difficult, we have three options:

  • Give up
  • Wait, and hope that things will get better
  • Look at the situation, determine what it will take to achieve our goals, and get to work

This is all a part of building the mindset that gives us the best chance of success. While we can’t control all the circumstances around us, we can — and must — control our attitudes, our outlooks, our beliefs, and our convictions.

Let’s spend some time digging deeper into setting the goals that will encourage and inspire us to do great things.

Did you enjoy this article from Chris Saraceno? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.