Setting Goals and the Sliding Scale of Success
By Chase Tanner
When I started my season this year, my goal was one first place tournament finish and one Virginia trophy smallmouth bass. When I met that goal the first week of the season, the question was…”What now? What’s next?” I could have stopped there and called my season a success, but contentment is, in my opinion, the biggest obstacle to becoming truly successful. I considered those two goals to be obtainable, met them, and set a new goal of two wins and five trophy bass. A big step towards my ultimate goal of Virginia Smallmouth Expert Angler. Setting goals is the most important thing you can do for yourself if you want to become successful in what you do. It’s a universally applied concept in all facets of our lives. I look at it as a sliding scale. Set an ultimate goal, and then give yourself smaller milestone goals to meet along the way. It’s hard to stand at the base of Everest and say to yourself, “I’m gonna climb this.” Go look at the gear required and then make plans just to get to base camp. The first step leads to the second step of your journey.
One of my milestone goals this year was to win the August VKBC online tournament. It was a grueling battle that saw 3 different people atop the leaderboard 15 different times. I fished 18 out of 31 days in 100 degree weather and found myself mired in a slump with a week left and a 1/4 inch out of the lead. My goal slid from catching a 20″ fish to just catching a fish. It’s ok to ease back off your objective if you find yourself struggling. My goal of not skunking that week helped me keep perspective and consider those incredibly tough trips successful. I even found the tournament winning fish at 18.75″ and met my August mark in the process. I slowed down and enjoyed my achievement but set more goals for myself. 5 citations became 10, 2 wins became 5.
There is no quit because there is no end. Success is a life long competition against yourself. You can be your biggest obstacle or biggest asset. Fight complacency, set goals and work hard to achieve them. Slide the scales, It is worth the effort. I promise. I’ve sat on this story for a while because I wanted to release it upon meeting my biggest milestone this year. I boated my 10th Virginia Citation smallmouth last night and I find myself asking again, “What now? What’s next?”