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Reaching Your Goals Can Be Likened To The Game of Football
In life, everyone has goals that they set and hope to reach. Visualization of your current status and proposed destination is helpful in devising your track or path. If you are a sports oriented person, think of goal setting in terms of football (Americana).
In football there is an opportunity to either win or lose each play and or series. These series of wins and losses will determine the outcome of the overall goal, winning the game. There is a 100 yard playing field that is split into 10 yard conquerable sections. The object is to break the “goal line” while carrying or catching the ball.
Each game is broken up into 4 quarters (just like a fiscal year). Each team is given 3 time outs per half where a team can get together to discuss strategy for the current or upcoming series. At half time the coach (team leader) discusses the progress halfway through the game. They can assess how close they are to their set goals and can make adjustments at that point. Sales leaders gather up information and assess how individual sales persons and regions are doing. What has worked? What didn't work?
Have A Clear Objective
You may be competing against another person, company, and many instances against yourself. Are you a long distance runner who is trying to shave off a few seconds from your best time? Or are you a sales person trying to beat your best monthly sales? In order to “Win” you must have clearly defined goals. Where do you ultimately want to reach (the end zone)? A football team has 4 chances to gain 10 yards. The objective can be further broken down to gaining positive yards on each play. Are you moving in the right direction towards the goal? Or are you losing yards from sacks, penalties, etc? If you don’t make 10 yards within the first three downs, you must make a strategic decision as to whether you should take a chance and go for the required yardage on fourth down or choose a different option (ie. Punt the ball or kick a field a field goal). The more times you reach your destination, the higher your score. Breaking your own records will not only lead to individual success but will also lead to higher team successes.
Don't Be Afraid To Take Chances
There are times when you must not be afraid to take chances. Eli Manning, quarterback of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, knew he must drive down within the final two minutes to put his team in position to score. Instead of going the predictable, safe route of 5 yard dump off passes, Eli took a chance and hurled 38 yard sideline pass to Mario Manningham which set up the game winning score. As the saying goes “The bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff”.
Starting up a new business may involve risk. Negative self talk such as "What If I am not successful and I lose everything" can stop you before you ever get out of the starting blocks. Instead, think positive self talk such as " If I am successful, I will have the quality of life that I have always dreamed of for my family and I. The person who takes the safe familiar road will always receive the familiar reward. Don't be afraid to take the road less traveled. The uncommon road may lead to an uncommon reward.
You May Be Closer To Your Goal Than You Think
Goal line stances can be some of the most exciting situations in a game. Imagine the offensive team having the ball on the one yard line, with four downs to punch it into the end zone. Down by 4 points they must score a touchdown. Imagine getting denied and stuffed on three straight opportunities. The same can be said for a performer who cannot master their routine. What about the inventor or scientist who has failed numerous times in getting their desired results? How about the singer, who has made several records, none of which have put a dent into the Billboard charts.
Keep plugging away. Sometimes the hardest inch or yard can be the difference between you reaching your goal. You may be closer than you think. Your breakthrough may only require one more visit to a potential customer or pitching another idea to your executive board. Fifteen previous record companies may have rejected the demo that you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into. If you talk to many famous recording artists, they will tell you it only takes one yes!
Music City Miracle
Think "Outside the Box"
Thinking “Outside the Box” may be the key to gaining an advantage or getting to your goal. In football, every so often you will see a coach call a “gadget play.” Boise St. is one such team that isn’t afraid to call one when the stakes are highest. During the 2007 Fiesta Bowl game against the favored Oklahoma Sooners, Boise St. found themselves with a fourth down at the 50 yard line and 18 seconds in regulation. They perfectly execute the famed “Hook and Ladder” play (catch and lateral to adjacent offensive player). After tying and sending the game to overtime, they make an off kilter decision. They score in overtime and decide to go for the two point conversion instead of the sure fire tying extra point kick. They put all of their chips in on that one turn. They decide not to pound the ball in but rather use the classic “Statue of Liberty” play. The Sooners never saw it coming and the Broncos walked off the field with one of the biggest upsets ever.
Many football purists believe you shouldn’t have to run or rely on these types of plays to gain a victory. However, when you look in the record books, the only thing that matters for that day is who received the “W”. We can use the 1999 Tennessee Titans and their Music City Miracle play in which they beat the Buffalo Bills as another example (as a Bills fan it still hurts to think about it). Down 16 - 15 with only seconds remaining on the clock, the Titans perform the now famous “Home Run Throwback” play where Kevin Dyson catches a 75 yard lateral and scampers into the end zone. The Titans ended up making it to the Super Bowl that year.
Reaching Your Goal
In summation, you must break your ultimate goal down into smaller goals. You must persevere through the tough times when you feel you are not making any headway or advances. Don't be afraid to attack the situation in an unorthodox manner as long as you receive the desired results. With commitment, you will find yourself like the football player crossing the goal line.