Several years ago I was at a kid’s football game and watched him run the wrong way. He ran like the wind to the wrong end of the field. The problem was, he scored for the competition. I’ve seen it happen in basketball, baseball, and soccer too: kids that don’t quite know the rules yet. They just know they are supposed to run somewhere, and by golly, they are going to run. LOL.
It is not so cute or funny when a grown-up makes a mistake like that. You might remember Chris Webber’s infamous “Time Out!” when there were no time outs left. In 1993, that cost Michigan the title against North Carolina. In a moment, a whole season went down the tubes for the team, the alumni, the coach, and the fans. A brilliant season was lost in a second. I am sure it took years and possibly some serious therapy to deal with that one flub. Unfortunately, that is what sticks in the minds of the fans and historians.
It is not so cute or funny when we see adults in business or in their personal lives lose sight of their goals. It can be a lapse in judgment (think President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky), or it can be not knowing the rules and getting fired (most of us know someone who has been let go for breaking the rules).
Goals are important. They are what we work for and live for. Why do we sometimes sacrifice a lifetime effort for a moment’s pleasure? Or, we forget the basic rules and think they don’t apply to us (think DWI)
Principle 1. If you have a goal, don’t forget it. The game is not over till it’s over. One momentary lapse in judgment might cost you your job, your marriage, the respect you desire from others. It might cost you your freedom, or worse, your life. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Principle 2. Even if you remember the goal, you have to stay focused. Chris Webber’s mistake cost him dearly. Keep your focus and always be thinking about your next move and the move after that. Our lives are like a game of Chess. Nobody wants to be the pawn that is sacrificed.
Principle 3. Know where the Goal Posts are. That sounds pretty simple, but many people say they have a goal. When you ask them how they are going to get there, they just look at you like the cow at the gate. You almost expect them to Mooooooo. What you want to tell them is that they have to Mooooooove. LOL. You have to set your goals, then do the things that you need to do to achieve them. Setting is great, but doing it is what really matters. Remember that when it comes to goals, setting and no doing becomes your undoing.
Principle 4. Never forget that your goals affect a lot of other people. It is not just about YOU. What you do with your goals will affect everyone around you. You don’t live on an island by yourself. Even Robinson Crusoe had Friday. In case you were wondering, that is where we got T.G.I.F.
My heart goes out to all the Chris Webbers of this world. I have personally done so many dumb things in life, I can’t remember them all. It just was not caught on national TV, or by a reporter (think Watergate). My hope is that you identify your goals and never lose sight of them. Train, think, and focus on the goal. Never sacrifice your goal for a moment of pleasure. Anticipate the moves you have to make, then make them.
Make sure you don’t compromise your morals or your character to get them. If you have to cheat, steal, or destroy someone else to win, that is a hollow victory that you don’t want to be remembered for (think Lance Armstrong). Keep that first and foremost, and it becomes a game changer. Here is to you achieving your life-long goals and changing the world for good.