Few disciplines require advanced goal-setting skills more than competitive sports. Natural ability is fine, but athletes are competing exclusively against others who possess natural ability. Success requires the identification of the end goal, a clear process, and measurements of performance. First, we need to clearly identify an end goal that is permanent. The great Olympic javelin thrower Steve Backley provides us with a terrific example of how to avoid chasing the wrong goal.
Backley famously held various records for longest javelin throw, only to lose the title when other athletes made incrementally longer throws. Despite hard work and physical injuries, Backley lost his goal to someone else. While recuperating, he realized that he made a fundamental mistake in goal setting. Like the timeline of happiness, an end goal cannot be a fixed point that disappears. Backley realized that an Olympic medalist is always an Olympic medalist, regardless of someone’s later outperformance. The person who once held the longest javelin throw is forgotten. Backley won the Olympic bronze in 1992 and the silver in 1996 and 2000. *
We have many examples of end goals in life. When we earn a degree, we always have our degree. When we become a certified professional or tradesperson, we have something durable that serves us for years. When we identify our end goal, we then need to create a process and set viable performance targets. The end goal, process goal, and performance goal form the three pillars of goal setting necessary to become medalists in our own lives.
We help you develop your end goal. Financial planning provides the process and the performance targets. We provide something else too. Professional athletes have trainers to help them achieve excellence and deal with setbacks. For our clients, we are the experienced professionals who make sure that you never have to go it alone.
*Steve Backley wrote a great book titled The Winning Mind. We highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn from a world-class goal setter.