Think backwards to Reach Higher

We have certainly all heard it said, “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance” or “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

We have experienced what great planning and preparation can do for our execution on big sales days in our business such as the Super Bowl at Buffalo Wild Wings or the Day of Giving at Jersey Mike’s or Mother’s Day at Eggspectation or Father’s Day at Limestone BBQ. Without thinking backwards, our ability to reach higher could be chaotic and painful.

Plan. Prepare. Execute. Assess.

When you desire to reach a specific goal, it is this process that puts you on the pathway to success. Start with the end goal (begin with the end in mind) and develop your plan backwards from there. When you are clear about the goal, you can easily figure out what would be the last step necessary to reach that goal. When you know the last step, you can determine what the step before that will be.

You can develop your plan, step by step, from the end to the beginning. When you do, instead of wondering what the best first step would be, you will know precisely what to do first, what to do after that, and what to do after that.

However ambitious the goal may be, whatever your BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is, the real key is getting off to a solid start. Visualize the goal, work backwards step by step, and you will know precisely how to begin.

It works in our personal lives too. When you are planning to travel, where do you usually begin? Typically, you begin with the destination. How do you know what direction to go unless you know where you would like to end up? So, a successful plan begins with the destination and works its way backwards to the point where you begin.

Let’s take Kimberly Santiago, our quiet and unassuming bookkeeper at the H5H Support Center for example. Kimberly has spent the past year learning to speak Korean. She set a goal to visit South Korea….by herself. She prepared, she planned, she executed and now she can assess. She worked backwards to reach her goal. I asked Kimberly to share her story.

Halfway through the 13-hour flight to South Korea was when it actually hit me: I was actually about to spend a whole week in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. I honestly thought this wouldn’t come to fruition until many, many years from now, not almost one year after I first started studying the Korean language. I was beyond excited to finally experience what it was like to stay in a foreign country where I couldn’t fully understand the language, where I had no idea where any of the most famous places were, and where I could only truly trust one person (my Korean friend I met through an online language learning app) out of the millions of its citizens. I felt like a very small fish in a large ocean-like pond, but that’s exactly why I wanted to visit Korea so much. 

I wanted to reach higher and go further than I ever had before (both literally and figuratively), and my trip achieved this goal almost flawlessly. I admit, I did spend the first four or five hours in Korea at the Incheon International Airport figuring out, through trial and error, how to successfully take the subway and make it to my Airbnb safely. And of course, I didn’t strike up any conversations with random Korean people, since I’m still not fully comfortable speaking Korean to complete strangers face-to-face, especially with natives. Despite these minor setbacks, I had an amazing time in Korea getting to wander around Seoul with nothing but my wallet, my cell phone, and an endless amount of curiosity and optimism to push me forward.

Some of the most fun experiences I’ve had this year so far were spent in Seoul. I got to wear a traditional Korean hanbok and explore the Gyeongbokgung Palace (the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty). I walked around the Starfield Library, a very famous library known for its tall, unique-looking bookshelves and overall, aesthetically pleasing decor. I also took a special tour around the DMZ, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which is a large strip of land that runs across the Korean Peninsula near the 38th parallel north, effectively splitting the Korean peninsula into North Korea and South Korea. No, I didn’t get to see any North Korean soldiers or citizens, since we mostly toured in and around Paju, the South Korean city closest to the DMZ. However, I did get to see authentic North Korean currency, and I got to learn a bit more about the sad, rough history between North and South Korea, as well as what efforts were made in recent years to potentially reunify the two countries. All in all, my time spent in South Korea is something I know I’ll never forget. I would definitely recommend others to visit this beautiful country if they truly wish to do so, either completely on their own like I did or with close family members or friends.”

안녕하세요 여러분! 제 이름은 킴벌리예요. 일년 동안 한국어를 열심히 공부하고 있어요. 대학교에 졸업한 후에 한국어하고 한국의 문화에 관심이 많아서 한국어 공부를 시작했어요. 매일 한국어를 연습해요. 한국 친구랑 자주 통화해요. 온라인 친구들이랑 같이 공부하고요. 한국어 문법을 배우기 위해 한국어 영상을 봐요. 주말에 한국 드라마를 보기 되게 좋아해요. 한국에 갔을 때 기분이 엄청 좋았어요. 재미있는 곳에 많이 가서 한식을 많이 먹었어요. 미래에 한국에 다시 가고 싶어요.

We can do whatever we set our mind to. Every person’s plan is different. Every business has different obstacles, goals, and objectives. But, thinking backwards, planning, preparing, executing, and assessing will determine whether we wring the full measure from the high calling of our daily work.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

“Always take the High Road or the High 5”

Reach Higher