Football and the Art of Goal-setting

For some people, football isn't life – it's much more important than that. No matter what you may think of the game, there are plenty of football coaches who have inspired success and even greatness. What they inspire on the field has a way of carrying over into everyday life. Quotations about teamwork and gutting it out to win abound. You may even have some posted around your shop floor and throughout your company. Are you on the one yard line or at the other end of the field?

Consider this quotation: "Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from the winning touchdown.” Those aren't the words of a famed football coach, but rather the words of a politician – Ross Perot. And he makes a good point. Why is it that people quit on the one-yard line? It's not because they run out of steam or they lack motivation; it's because they've lost perspective of where they are on the field. It's unlikely that players in a real game would lose perspective of where they are on the field, making Perot's words completely hypothetical. However, it is easy to lose perspective of where you are in relation to your goals.

Now consider this scene from the 2006 movie, Facing the Giants: A high school football coach has challenged one of his linemen to go as far as he can carrying another player on his back. The player thinks he can make it to the 30, but the coach insists he can make it to the 50. When the player agrees to try, the coach adds a new twist – he blindfolds him. Then he begins urging the player on. Under the weight of his teammate, the lineman struggles and continually asks the coach how far he's gone. Is he at the 20? Is he at the 30? The coach doesn't answer, but continues to urge him to give his best, not worrying about how far he's gone. When the player finally collapses, hoping he's at the 50, the coach removes his blindfold to show him that he's reached the far end zone.

The player went farther than he ever thought possible because the blindfold eliminated his preconceived notion. If he'd been able to see the yard markers, he probably would have collapsed at the 50. He set a smaller goal than what he was really capable of achieving.

These opposing football examples – quitting on the one-yard line or reaching the far end zone – give you a lot to think about in terms of goal setting. First, are you limiting yourself thinking you can only reach the 20 or maybe the 50 when the end zone is truly attainable? And secondly, are you quitting on the one-yard line because you didn't know how close you really were to scoring the winning touchdown?

In the first case, setting goals beyond what you believe to truly be possible is up to you. Keep this movie scene in mind and refuse to limit yourself by your own expectations. On the other hand, in keeping your perspective and knowing when you are on the one-yard line, MPower can help. Knowing exactly where you are is about measurement and data collection. It's our area of expertise. Contact us to find out how we can help you reach the end zone and win.