Getting from Point A to Point B

This is the third blog post in the series focused on “Programming Your Success GPS.” So far, I covered being clear about your destination–your vision–which in GPS lingo is your point B. I’ve also covered being fully honest with where you are right now–point A–as you must take an honest appraisal of your current situation. Now it’s time to chooses how you plan to get from point A–where you are–to point B–where you want to be. It’s time to select your route.

When we use a GPS system, we enter our beginning and ending points. Once we enter those two points, we then usually get multiple options for how to get from where we are to where we want to be. It’s nice having options. You get to pick how you want to get there. It even estimates how long it will take you with each route. With some systems, you even have the option to enter how you are going to get there; walking, bicycle, or car. This is a nice option. I was in Chicago last year. Some places we walked. Other places we drove. It was nice to be able to change the “mode of transportation” depending on whether we were walking or driving. The starting and ending points were the same. The time estimated for me to get where I wanted to go changed depending on how I told the GPS system I was going to get there. The same is true when we think about Programming our Success GPS. There is never just one way to achieve success. We can choose how we are going to travel, we can choose the route we want to take, and we choose when we want to arrive at our destination.

What are we really talking about here? Goals. Both long and short term. It’s always important to have properly designed goals. For example, my Freshman year in college, our first football game was against Mount Union. If anyone knows DIII football, you know about Mount Union. They are perennial National Championship Contenders and many times are in the National Championship Game. They came to “our house” and whipped us like 48-0. Great way for our team to start the season and me to start my college football career. Why do I bring this up when we are talking about proper goal setting? Good question. Here is why. The next season, we were scheduled to go to “their house” to open our season. During winter, spring, and summer workouts, our team focus was “Beat Mount!” Team captains, leaders, and eventually everyone got on board with this vision. That was our destination. Our goal. We started our pre-season workouts, two-a-day workouts, and pre-season games carrying this same goal. We were on a mission to beat the great Mount Union football team, and do it on their own field! We put all of our effort, attention, and focus on achieving this mission. Our goal was to beat them. Eventually week 1 came around, we packed up our bus, and made the trip to play Mount Union. It was a tough, hard fought game. But, things went our way and our efforts paid off. We accomplished our mission. We beat the great Mount Union. Goal achieved. I’m not going to lie. It felt great. In fact, if our teammates got together today, we could easily start a conversation about it. “Hey, you remember when….” You know how it goes. It was a great accomplishment.

Now, here is the flip side. The reality. It was a terrible goal. A terrible mission. When you play a 10 game football schedule, and your mission is to win week 1, what do you do after you achieve mission accomplished? What about weeks 2 through 10? When you achieve your mission week 1, where is your focus, attention, and effort the rest of the season? Great accomplishment. Terrible goal. It would have been better as a short term goal or objective on the way to a bigger long term goal or mission. Don’t get me wrong, it felt great. We enjoyed it. But, when it was time to go back to work the next week and prepare for the next team on our schedule, how well do you think we did when we were focusing all of our thoughts, efforts, and focus on beating the team we played week 1? We had a very mediocre season.

The reason I brought up this personal story is to prove a point. You really have to give a great deal of thought to your vision, long-term goals, short-term goals, and regular objectives you are using to measure your progress and determine success. In the context of the story I shared, we accomplished a great thing. We did something few did that was very difficult. We were proud of our accomplishment. However, because we achieved mission accomplished week 1, we really had to start over week 2. Even though the short-term accomplishment was very nice, it didn’t work out too well long- term. Looking back, it was a result of not having a proper vision. Our point B was game 1. Our supporting goals and efforts were placed in achieving it. We did. But, we didn’t really have a season goal. We had a goal to win one particular game against one particular team. Don’t be like us. Make sure you have individual and team goals for the season as well as weekly or game goals. Then you can focus your effort on determining the things you have to do each game to succeed. Once you have those, you can then set your daily workout/practice focus so that everything supports your individual and team goals.

To your success!

Jim

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