“without a goal, you can’t score” …and you are probably somewhat de-motivated…
In sports, the goal is very clear. In football – a 24ft by 8ft steel or aluminium frame with a net… so you can clearly see if the ball goes in.
In sports, the victory condition is very clear… more goals than the other team.
In our lives, some people take the time to get clear on their specific goals… and they know when they score.
Others have only a vague idea…
Others are just kicking a ball in the dark.
Clarity on your Goals: in sports, and in life
Here’s what ChatGPT has to say on my sports metaphor and its application to our lives…
Clarity of Purpose:
In sports, particularly in football, there’s no ambiguity about what the objective is: to get the ball into the goal. This clear-cut aim provides direction to all the players on the field.
Similarly, in life, having a well-defined goal can give a person direction and purpose. Knowing what one wants to achieve can be a guiding light in making decisions and choosing paths.
In football, success is often quantified by the number of goals scored. The more you score, the closer you are to winning. It’s a tangible, measurable outcome.
In life, having specific goals allows us to measure our progress. Whether it’s a career aspiration, a personal project, or a health objective, breaking it down into measurable milestones can help us track our progress and celebrate small victories along the way.
Motivation and Drive:
Players on a football field are driven by the adrenaline and the desire to score and win. The clarity of the goal amplifies their motivation.
Similarly, having clear goals in life can be a powerful motivator. When we know what we’re striving for, we’re more likely to put in the effort and stay committed. In contrast, lack of clear goals can lead to feelings of aimlessness or stagnation.
Navigating Through Darkness:
The analogy of “kicking a ball in the dark” vividly portrays a sense of confusion and aimlessness. Just like a footballer would struggle to score without seeing the goal, individuals might find it challenging to achieve success in life without knowing their true goals.
Knowing where the goal is can be the difference between random, uncoordinated efforts and strategic, purposeful actions.
Flexibility & Adaptation:
While the primary objective in football remains the same, the strategy might need to change based on the opposing team, field conditions, or even the game’s current score. Having a clear goal doesn’t mean there’s only one way to achieve it.
In life too, while our main goals might stay consistent, the pathways to achieving them might need adjustments based on changing circumstances. Clear goals allow for better judgment on when and how to adapt.
The Power of Visualization:
In football, players often visualize the trajectory of the ball, foreseeing their moves. This visualization is anchored around the clearly visible goalpost.
In personal and professional pursuits, visualizing our goals can be a powerful tool for manifestation. When we have a clear vision of what we want, our mind and body can work synchronously towards achieving it.
The world of sports offers rich metaphors for understanding the significance of goals in life. Just as athletes need a clear target to direct their energies towards, individuals can benefit from defining and visualizing their life goals. This clarity can be the driving force behind actions, decisions, and eventual successes.
There is an old story of a person trapped on the roof of a building as floodwaters are rising.
A boat passes and the occupants shout “come down, we’ll take you to safety”. The person says “No, God will save me”.
Another boat passes. The occupants shout “come down, we’ll take you to safety” The person says “No, God will save me.”
The floodwaters rise and the person drowns. At the gates of heaven the person asks God “why didn’t you save me?” and God replies “I sent you two boats, why didn’t you accept my help?”
On Being Active while Being Patient
Passive Patience is waiting for what you want.
Active patience is preparing yourself to be maximally prepared to find the right types of opportunity, and to have the skills, resources and network to really make use of the opportunity when it finally comes.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about the life strategy of “Stand in the Traffic”. Shane Parrish in a recent Farnham Street newsletter item reminded me of the concept. His framing of the concept is “Active Patience”.
If you’ve not read about “Stand in the Traffic” as a life strategy, check out the original post:
On Active Patience
Patience in itself is not a negative trait. Patience is the ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset.
Patience is a necessary attribute for achieving long-term goals.
Patience can be divided into two forms: passive and active.
Passive patience is waiting for something to happen without taking any action to bring it about.
Active patience involves taking steps towards your goals while understanding that results may take time. This form of patience acknowledges the necessity of individual effort and also respects the nature of time.
“The least effective form of patience is passive: –
A person who is passively patient waits for the universe to give them what they think they deserve. Five years from now, they’ll still be waiting. Passive patience violates Newton’s third law, which states, ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’
No action. No result.
The world isn’t indebted to you, and no one is destined to come your way, tap your shoulder, and present you with the golden opportunity you’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t work that way.
The most effective form of patience is active patience.
Active patience implies taking significant steps today to set yourself up for future success. It’s about strategically preparing for what lies ahead—saving more than you spend and investing wisely, developing the necessary skills for future job prospects, choosing kindness over cleverness, and so on.
Here is the key lesson: Active patience puts the world on your side. If you go positive and go first, and you do so consistently, the world does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.”
How can you Stand in the Traffic, or take a stance of Active Patience in your most important goals?
I’ve met some excellent business managers… who are extremely poor managers of their own life.
They get results. They support others. They build capable, effective teams. Their business grows.
…but they are not joyful.
They are not waking up motivated each day.
They are not finding themselves energised through the day by the activities, people and places where they spend their hours.
It strikes me as a sad trade – to be a good manager of external resources, but lacking any degree of effective control or direction of your own inner state.
Our mission at Vistage is to “improve the effectiveness and enhance the quality of life of CEOs”. I believe that the most important word in that sentence is the “and”. Achieving results at the cost of your health, your relationships, your sanity… not a great trade. What would it take to achieve both increased effectiveness and enhanced quality of life?
Reputation… “the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone”; “a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular characteristic.”
Your reputation shapes how people see you.
“A man with a reputation for getting up early can stay in bed all day”
The reputation you have shapes how everything you do is viewed by those around you. As the Irish proverb says “A man with a reputation for getting up early can stay in bed all day”. A person with a reputation for positive impact can fail… and the senior people will say “it must have been a difficult project”… A person who doesn’t have that reputation for positive impact will have everything they do viewed.
Ideally you are both competent and have a positive reputation. If you are incompetent, it would be best for the world that you have a poor reputation. However there are two dangerous situations… someone who is competent… but does not have a positive reputation; and someone who is incompetent.. but has a positive reputation.
This video is for those who start from a place of competence. Where you have competence… I want you to take the time to think about what generates a positive first impression.. and over the longer term, a positive reputation.
Jim Collins says that “Return on Luck” is one of the significant factors in extreme success.
It is not that successful companies or people have more luck… it is how they follow through on their lucky breaks that makes the difference.
One person might meet someone who could open a door of massive opportunity… but doubt and confusion mean that they don’t pursue the chance.
Another might meet the same person… and have the motivation, vision and competence to take the opportunity and turn it into a gold mine. Whether you are lucky or not today, you can invest in developing your clarity of vision, your competence, your network of trusted relationships – to be ready to maximise your return on luck when an opportunity comes to you.
Where Opportunities come from
“Stand in the traffic”
Prof Paris de l’Etraz, IE Business School, Madrid
Whilst luck is not controllable… there is something that I can do to increase the chances of lucky breaks occurring.
Prof Paris de l’Etraz of IE Business School in Madrid teaches a course on managing your life. One of his sessions is titled “Stand in the Traffic“. He says that it is important to place yourself physically and mentally where many opportunities are likely to flow. Your sofa at home is comfortable… but no opportunities are flowing past. If you spend your days at a business school… a lot of people, ideas and opportunities flow past.
Lucky Opportunities tend to be Stumbled Upon
The author of the Atomic Habits book, James Clear, has a wonderful weekly email newsletter. Here is a thought that he shared on opportunities…
from James Clear…
“Lucky opportunities tend to be stumbled upon, not handed out.
If you’re waiting for someone to hand deliver an excellent opportunity to you, it’s unlikely to happen. But if you are exploring and moving—if you’re in the mix and engaged—then you’ll stumble upon many opportunities.
The active mind comes across a lot. Keep tilling the soil and you will occasionally unearth something wonderful.”
My father is by all accounts a successful leader. There are 3 “superpowers” that he has that I think have helped him have such a positive effect in each of these environments.
My father has had a long and successful career in business leading to a decade as the Chairman of the Board of Accenture, and then as a board member for several public companies, and now as a leader and advisor for arts, culture and universities.
2 years ago, I shared a list that my father made back in the 1980’s on “Leaders and Non-Leaders” which listed 40 contrasts helped him guide his journey as a business leader.
3 of my Dad’s “Superpowers”
Remember people’s names
Decide fast & Don’t think of it as “your decision”, (this allows flexibility to change without emotion/sunk cost)
Never lose sight of the overall purpose & long term
I was in the medieval town of Pedraza again this week, where I made this video.
Check out the video below to hear how the challenge went… and how to use this thinking in your own life and business…
The teams that made the most money didn’t use the five dollars at all.
They realised that focusing on the money actually framed the problem way too tightly. They understood that five dollars is essentially nothing and decided to reinterpret the problem more broadly: What can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing?
In our own lives and businesses it is very easy to limit ourselves to “how do I do more of what I am already good at?” or “How do I use my current capacities to maximise return?”.
How do you do strategy for your life and business?
Skills – read, study, practice (dedicate at least 10 days per year to professional development… or you are becoming “talentless” soon)
Spirit/Purpose – who are you? what do you stand for? where are you going? what are your values? (Finding Purpose: Step 1)
How are you building the foundations of your house, and of your life?
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