Hitting Your Target Takes Practice

Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.

–Arthur Schopenhauer

Imagine what the game of bowling would be like if you couldn’t see the pins you were trying to hit. In 1933, Bill Knox did just that- and bowled a perfect game.

In Philadelphia’s Olney Alley’s, Bill had a screen placed just above the foul line to obscure his view of the lane. His purpose was to demonstrate the technique of spot bowling, which involves throwing the ball at a selected floor mark on the near end of the lane. Like many bowlers, Bill knew that you can do better if you aim at a mark close to you that’s in line with the pins. He proved his point with a perfect 300 game of 12 strikes in a row.

It’s quite impressive what Bill Knox did all those years ago to prove a point about spot bowling. And it points us today to understand important personal growth and leadership principles that we need to be reminded of once in a while.

Henry David Thoreau said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals,” and this is one of the secrets to success. We tend to focus more on achieving our goals than we do on who we are becoming as a result of it.

Speaking of targets – what personal or professional goals are you currently working toward? One thing I’ve learned over the years is this – hitting your targets takes practice. Here are a few rules of thumb – simple reminders if you will, for hitting your targets and growing as a leader.

Know what you’re aiming for

Your goals and targets need to be clear. If not, how else will you know if or when you’ve reached them? This is especially true for you as a leader within your organization. If your goals and mission are not clear to you, then how can you expect your people to follow you? Your goals and objectives have to be clear otherwise you’ll never hit your target.

If you want to get better, you have to practice

Your goals for personal growth and leadership will never be achieved simply because you want to achieve them. They will only be achieved when you take action! Your goals without action will only lead to disappointment and unfulfilled potential. A simple rule for success is that you must have skin in the game. If not, you are just daydreaming.

Small bites are better than big ones

A natural tendency is to take big bites when tackling a big dream. I get it. What I’ve found over the years is that when I tackle that big goal or project it becomes more readily attainable when I break it down into smaller bites. As you do this, you will also be developing your skills along the way and you will consistently improve as you move forward.

Don’t shy away from big targets

Many times over the years I’ve seen people settle for smaller dreams than what was in their heart simply because they were afraid. I understand. But another thing I’ve learned along the way is this: bigger targets are easier to hit than smaller ones.

Writing in The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson says, “God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.”

Can I encourage you today to be bold with your dreams, your goals, and your targets? I’d like to challenge you to aim for something bigger than yourself.

Final Thoughts

We all have goals and dreams that inspire us. Make sure you know what you’re aiming for, put in the practice, tackle it one small bite at a time, and dream big!


Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson
DOUG has been speaking to audiences in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. Doug knows how to spin a story, make you laugh, and how to challenge your traditional ways of thinking about leadership. Most of all, Doug is committed to helping you grow as a leader. Doug is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. While his leadership expertise has its roots in ministry and teaching. His background also includes public relations and business. Doug understands the necessity of leadership development and why creating a leadership culture in your organization is critical to your success. He is the author of four leadership books including: Leaders Without Borders, 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, Great Leaders Wanted, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, and Leadership by the Numbers. As a speaker, Doug delivers practical and applicable leadership insights with a dose of humor and authenticity that endears him to a wide range of audiences. Doug is a John Maxwell Team member.

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