The famed aerialist the Great Zumbrati once walked a shaky tightrope across Niagara Falls despite a gusty wind that almost caused him to lose his footing. He was very relieved to have made it safely across. Waiting for him on the other side was a fan with a wheelbarrow.

"I believe you could walk back across pushing this wheelbarrow," the fan said.

Zumbrati shook his head and said he was lucky to have made it across without a wheelbarrow.

"But I know you can do it," the fan persisted. "Just give it a try."

Zumbrati shook his head again, but the fan kept after him.

Finally, Zumbrati said, "You really believe in me, don't you?"

"Oh, I do," said the fan.

"OK then," said Zumbrati, "get into the wheelbarrow and we'll start."

Now that's commitment: Knowing what needs to be done, setting goals to get to that point, and following through.

With the lazy, hazy days of summer behind us, it's a logical time to review your goals for the year and see where you stand. If you're on track, it's time to reinforce your effort with a renewed enthusiasm for the project or goal. If you've still got a long way to go, or even if you have to start over, remember that you still have several months until the year's end, and success remains within your grasp.

Success depends on your commitment to your goals. To evaluate your ability to commit, ask yourself these important questions:

• Can you accept people for what they are, not as you'd like them to be? To work with the people around you, put away your prejudices and judgments so you can focus on what's important. Their strengths are what are important now. Get over yourself.

• Can you put other people's needs ahead of your own? It's a paradox, but you can reach your own goals more easily by helping your collaborators accomplish theirs. They have goals and ambitions, too, and will be more likely to work with you if you cooperate.

• Do you know what you're great at? A thorough, honest knowledge of what you do better than most people is essential to making the right choices about where to put your energy. Others have most likely identified your strong points; make sure they agree with your self-evaluation.

• What gets in the way of your ability to do your job? What other problems or projects are occupying time that you could be dedicating to your goals? Once you understand what is eating up your most valuable resource — time — you can more easily refocus your efforts on accomplishing your goals.

• What tools or training would help? If you are lacking equipment or know-how, chances are you can't see the goal through to the end.

• Are you excited about your goals? If you're not really excited by what you're trying to do, your commitment won't be very strong. But if the project is worth doing, get your head in the game and play to win.

• Are you planning ahead for next year's goals? Accomplishing this year's plan will have a significant impact on future achievement, company morale and perhaps the viability of your organization.

• Can you be completely honest with yourself? You can't afford to fool yourself about your strengths, weaknesses and potential.

One terrific resource you might want to consider is a virtual training program, "Goals Mastery for Personal and Financial Achievement," offered by sales and training guru Brian Tracy. His 12-part video training course covers personal goal setting, purpose in life, overcoming adversity and a variety of pertinent topics. Check it out by going to and searching for "goals mastery."

Mackay's Moral: Don't "fall" down on your goals; commit to a season of success.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail