Let me ask you a question. What comes to mind when you think of the following things? Passion. Commitment. Dedication. Goal Setting. Perseverance. Training. Personal Sacrifice. Dreams. Risk Taking.
Those words sure don’t sound like they are describing a game, do they? Those are some pretty serious words. And yet those are the very words to describe the forty some odd football players who’ll be competing in today’s Superbowl match. Tell me. Do you think those guys think it’s a game?
Now, many of you out there are probably NOT sports fans and are wondering, “What’s going to be in this for me?” Well, even if you don’t know a football from a disco ball, you will get something from this blog. You don’t have to be Peyton Manning to know that sports can be a metaphor for success in every area of life.
What do I mean when I say “your Superbowl.” What I mean by this is, what is your big goal? You know the one. The big fat hairy goal that everyone tells you is too hard to achieve, why do you want to do that, you’ll never make THAT dream happen anyway, why don’t you pick something safer and easier to achieve.
That is the dream I am talking about when I say “your Superbowl.”
Fifteen years ago, there were forty little boys lying in their beds all across these United States dreaming of one thing. “I want to be a football player and play in the Superbowl.” Of course, there were millions of little boys thinking the same thing, but THESE little boys believed it could come true. There was something deep in their souls that whispered, “You could do this, you know?”
So what did these boys do? I’ll bet you that every one of them had someone in their life who said to them, “What makes you think you can do that?” Did those boys listen to the critics? No.
Did those boys take it when they were told their dream was too big? No! Those boys laid in their beds every night and imagined what it would be like to play in the Superbowl. I’ll be they could hear the announcer calling their names, and see the crowds. I’ll bet they felt the excitement of putting on that uniform, and going onto the field. These boys probably envisioned themselves making a winning pass, or dumping Gatorade on the coach’s head. It was real to them.
Did those boys stop at daydreaming? Of course not. I know that I once dreamed of being Marie Osmond. Don’t laugh at me! My little brother will attest to the fact that I made that poor boy practice with me (He was Donny, of course) “I’m a little bit Country, I’m a little bit Rock N Roll…so that we could be famous. Everyone has their dreams and that was mine.
What makes the difference between a dream and a goal (other than talent)? I’ve heard it said that a goal is just a dream with a deadline. So those little boys took those big dreams and made them into a goal. They joined football teams, went to practice, kept their bodies healthy. They didn’t just dream, they took action. They made sacrifices and took risks. Was it a sure shot? No. There are more football players that don’t make the Superbowl than there are that do, that’s for sure. But those boys wanted that dream, and they were willing to risk everything to make it come true.
Do you want your goal that badly? Or, are you just wishing about it, thinking about it, or making your little brother do it for you? Have you really COMMITTED yourself to achieving your goal?
You see, you have to. That’s what you have to do to achieve the big fat hairy Superbowl goal. Anyone can be average. Is that what you want to be—average? I don’t think so.
Okay, so how can you achieve your Superbowl dream? I mean, chances are, you are not a little boy reading this blog and dreaming of football. You’ve probably got a different dream, and are in a different place in your life. How can you achieve your dream?
Let’s take a look at what those Superbowl players did.
First, they had a clear-cut goal. “I want to get to the Superbowl.” That is very, very precise. How clear is your goal? Will you even know that you’ve achieved it? For example, a lot of people say, “I want to be rich.” Well, what does that mean? What is “rich?” How much money is that? How will you know when you’re rich? You have to answer that question. You can’t just say, “I want to be rich.” That would be like a football player saying, “I want to play a sport.” Not specific enough. You have to be specific.
Next, they had to know what to do to get there. With sports, it’s pretty clear-cut. Some other goals, it’s not. Again, using the “get rich” goal, do you know HOW you’re going to get rich? Specifically. What are you going to do Monday, Tuesday, next week, at 6:00 pm to get rich? What is the route you are going to take? Real estate? Investments? Saving money? Inventing a product and selling it? How are you going to get rich? You have to know HOW you are going to achieve that goal.
Then, and this is the tough part, they SACRIFICED to do it. Seriously, if achieving your goal was easy, you’d have already done it by now. Do you think these football players like being away from their families? Do they like having to watch what they eat, workout every day, and suffer through pulled muscles and the pain that comes from being a professional athlete? Probably not. But they were willing to do what it takes to achieve that big, fat hairy goal. Say you want to be a doctor. That’s your goal. You are going to have to sacrifice A LOT to achieve that goal. I know when I was studying for my PhD I had to sacrifice a lot. I live in Southern California, and my friends would all be at the beach playing volleyball. “Come on Traci. Come with us! We miss you.” You know where I was, instead of at the beach with my friends? In the library. Researching some obscure topic in psychology instead of drinking margaritas like the other twenty somethings. Why? Because I understood that in order to achieve my goal, I was going to have to sacrifice something.
Are you willing to sacrifice? Are you extraordinary? You see, an extraordinary person is one who starts out ordinary, and goes the extra mile. What’s that extra mile for you? Are you willing to give up eating at fast food restaurants, if your goal is to lose weight? Are you willing to go back to school at night, if your goal is a new career? Will you get up at 5:00 in the morning to write that novel? Go ahead and do it. Be extraordinary.
Even more importantly, do you know what you WON’T sacrifice? We all hear stories of athletes who are faced with temptations to take steroids, sleep around, break the law… But, for every Michael Vick, there are ten athletes who won’t sacrifice their integrity. You have to be as clear about what you won’t sacrifice, as what you will.
Also, these athletes NEVER GAVE UP. Each one of them lost games. Each one of them did stupid stuff on the field. But, instead of saying, “Well, I guess I’m not good enough” they MADE THEMSELVES GET BETTER. Every failure you have on your way to your goal is just a chance to become better and stronger. It’s like that old Chumbawumba song, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, they’re NEVER gonna keep me down.” Make a commitment that you will achieve that goal no matter how long it takes, no matter how often you fail. As football coach Mike Ditka once said, “You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”
Finally, and most importantly, you have to be able to SEE it in your mind. The more clear your mental image is, the faster you’ll achieve that goal. See it and feel it, and you will soon live it.
So, today, when you are watching the Superbowl amongst the chips and nachos and beer, take a look at the players. Every single one of them was once a little boy with a dream. Every single one of them achieved that dream, and you are watching that dream live. Let them be an inspiration to you. And then have some nachos.
“Success isn’t measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace.” Mike Ditka
Visit Traci and Larry’s website at http://www.ACESDecisions.com.