Newsletter – Tackling the Impossible

Tackling the Impossible


  1. Tackling Impossible Goals and Getting Partial Credit
  2. Quote of the Month – from subscriber Dr. Chris Adie

Shark! Shark!

Over the years I’ve accidentally become a specialist in tackling the impossible, and getting partial credit for it. It stems from being a member of the Wiefling family, a clan known for persistence in the face of ridiculous odds. Let me give you an example. Just last week my brother stopped by with some meat from a shark he’d caught with a couple of his buddies. It seems he’d been out on a 16-foot boat with two other guys and they’d managed to hook an 8-foot-long, 220-pound shark. My brother Russell insisted on pulling it aboard despite the fishing guide’s admonitions to cut it loose. Suffice it to say Russell persevered, and I will be enjoying grilled shark for quite some time.

Genius or Madman?

As you can see, it takes either a madman or a genius to do what others think cannot be done. Not that it’s always done with a great deal of grace, mind you. Tackling the impossible can be messy, and you have to be willing to build a tall junk pile. Success is uncertain, and it can be risky both personally and professionally. Progress is often non-linear, and the outcome may be impossible to predict right up until the very moment that success is assured. And no matter how confident someone appears or how capable he or she truly is, tackling the impossible can be a daunting task. There are bound to be days when you’d rather be watching the whole thing on TV, rather than living the adventure!

How can you keep going when you feel like quitting? Many people hit bottom at some time while striving towards an ambitious goal. It’s perfectly natural after the initial excitement wears off. Early signs of progress can be scarce, the enormity of the tasks begins to dawn on us, and there are plenty of well-intentioned people who are over-eager to help us understand exactly why what we’re doing is highly unlikely or darn-near-impossible. (By the way – treasure these people when you need a good reality check on your implementation plan, but don’t seek them out when you need a dose of inspiration or a “conversation for possibility.”)


What is it that keeps people going in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles and repeated disappointment? Calvin Coolidge said it best: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Genius will not. Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Try out these 6 guidelines to keep going when you feel like giving up:

  1. Precisely define what you want and how you will know when you get it.
  2. Make public your commitment to this goal.
  3. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who believe in you.
  4. Weed your life of toxic people who do nothing but undermine you.
  5. Any motion is good motion — keep moving, and correct your course.
  6. Stay committed to your goals for 5 minutes longer than you can stand it!

You wouldn’t stop on the 90 yard line of a 100 yard race to have a Coke. So don’t stop just short of achieving your goals. The next step may carry you over the threshold!

Write me your stories of persistence in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Quote of the Month (from subscriber Dr. Chris Adie)

“He either fears his fate too much or his Desserts are small that puts it not unto the touch to win or lose it all.” – James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612-1650)

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