I think we too often set goals badly, and one of the mistakes we make is to set single-point goals, instead of a spectrum of success.
Let’s consider a sales rep in a pretty standard sales office. Meeting quota – making the minimum number of required sales in a given time period – is absolutely one kind of success. Another is being in the top 20%. Another is being at the top of the leaderboard that month. Another is setting a new record.
There’s nothing wrong with ambition – aim for that record! But don’t make that your only goal, and the only way you define success for yourself. Set up “stretch goals,” so that you can react to the conditions you see. Define success in a range so you can gather data without telling yourself that you’ve failed.
This doesn’t mean that you should define your spectrum of success so broadly that you essentially don’t have goals at all. I’m not a fan of participation trophies. But it means that you have to run half a mile before you can run a mile anyway, so you should set some targets in between and make “growing” a big part of your definition of success.