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Five Steps to Creating a "Goal" Medal Life

By Ed Sykes

The 2004 Olympics just ended in August. As always, it was an exciting event with its dramatic twists and turns, exhilarations, surprises, and disappointments as these great athletes performed at their peak in front of millions, if not billions, of fans for the glory of representing their country and possibly receiving a gold medal.

You, too, can experience the same excitement in your life. What are you doing now to achieve your "goal medal? What are you doing to realize your goals in life?

You don't need to be a world class athlete to achieve success in life. However, you can use many of the same techniques that these athletes use to accomplish their goals.

The following are five tips that will help you stand on the winner's platform in life:

1. Create Passion with Goal Setting

Take time to write down the goals that excite you. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will I feel when I achieve these goals?

  • What is keeping me from achieving these goals today?

  • What are the times and dates I want to achieve these goals?

  • What resources do I need to accomplish these goals?

  • What is my plan B, or secondary route, to achieving these goals?

2. Believe in Greatness

Once you have created your goals, take time to visualize your achievements. World class athletes visualize the victory before it happens. Take 15-30 minutes just before you go to bed or wake up in the morning and do the following:

  • Find a quiet place.

  • Quiet your mind, slowing down your breathing.

  • Visualize that you are already achieving whatever goal you want to accomplish. What does it look like? How does it feel?

World class athletes prepare themselves yesterday, today, and tomorrow for success through intense training and sacrifice. What are you doing to prepare yourself for your success? Do a self-analysis to find out how prepared you are today in relationship to your goals and what resources and skills you need to acquire to achieve your goals. What sacrifices are you willing to make so that you can achieve your goals? If it is a promotion, find out what skills, education, and resources are required to obtain that position. If it is a six-figure income, what sacrifices are you willing to make to realize it? Less television, more education?

I always say, "If you want something bad enough, act like you already have it." That's what champions do. They already believe that they will win a championship, a title, a gold medal. They have a positive, self-expecting attitude and set the bar for others to try to aspire.

I love tennis. One of my favorite tennis players is Roger Federer, the #1 ranked player in the world. When watching him play, I can see he owns the court. In his quiet, yet confident manner, he says to his opponent, "I am #1, I am the best! Then he goes out and wins. With his positive attitude, he expects to win every time.

How can you apply this principle? Well, one example is if you are a manager and want to be promoted to vice president, act like a vice president today. That means dressing like a vice president, making decisions like a vice president, leading people like a vice president, etc. Also what it means is delegating certain tasks so that you can learn the required skills of a vice president (Read Delegate to Accelerate Success). Do you expect to succeed at any project with which you are involved?

3. Create a Mastermind Group

There is a saying, "A wise person learns from his own mistakes, a wiser person learns from other people's mistakes." That is what a mastermind group will do for you. Winning athletes have a mastermind group so that they will make fewer mistakes and take less time achieving their goals. A mastermind group is an assortment of people dedicated to give you the best advice, feedback, training, etc., so that you can achieve your goals faster. The mastermind group also gives you encouragement when needed. In sports, this might be a coach, a trainer, a physical trainer, manager, and agent. In your situation at work, it might be the following:

  • A mentor that has intensive corporate knowledge and can maneuver you around "corporate landmines"

  • A human resources specialist with thorough knowledge of skills needed for a promotion

  • A manager that wants to showcase your skills to impress their manager

If you are thinking about or have already started a business, it might be the following:

  • Lawyer(s)

  • Accountant

  • Tax expert

  • Business associate in non competing field

  • Retired executive

  • Association leaders

  • Customers

Note: Be very careful about whom you allow in your mastermind group. Ask yourself, "Who can help me achieve my goals through skills, knowledge, and honest feedback? Honest feedback is the key. You don't want "yes people around you; you want people that will give you positive feedback that will set you back on course for success.

4. Embrace Challenges

World class athletes embrace all challenges as a way for them to move to the next level. They have a "bring it on attitude and you can see it in their eyes. They realize that the spotlight is on them and they relish it. They are bold in their actions and are not afraid of making mistakes. If they make a mistake or have a defeat, they "own them. What I mean by "owning their mistakes is that they say, "I made the mistakes today, or "I didn't play to my full potential today." By taking ownership of their mistakes they take ownership for their actions. By taking ownership of their actions, they take ownership for improving their performance. They take time to learn from any setback.

What challenges are waiting for you at work? How can you improve your community by taking a leadership role? What challenges await you at home? Face them, embrace them, learn from them, and grow with them.

5. Don't Ever Give Up!

H. Ross Perot, the billionaire businessperson and pass presidential candidate said the following:

"Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success, they give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown."

How many times have we seen people overcome insurmountable odds to succeed? In sports, the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons won the NBA championship against the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. The underdog Villanova University basketball team won the NCAA College Basketball championship against powerful Georgetown University.

There's the story of Gaston Gaudio. Many of you may be asking, "Who is Gaston Gaudio? Well, he is a 25-year-old tennis player from Argentina who turned pro in 1996. During that time he had, at best, what would be called mediocre results. Going into February of this year, he had a losing record on the tour. Because he wasn't winning, he barely earned enough money to get to the next tournament. He asked friends in towns in which he was playing if he could sleep on their floors.

He had thoughts of giving up and going back to Argentina but he fought these off and wouldn't give up. He believed that better things would happen. He earned a wildcard to play in one of the four biggest tennis tournaments in the world, the French Open.

Then a funny thing happened. He started to win against the best players in the world. He won his way into the championship match. He was to face one of the hottest tennis players and fellow Argentinean in Guillermo Coria, the #3 ranked player in the world. Let's say Gaston was not expected to win, much less be competitive.

The match started as expected with Gaston on the losing end, 0-6 and 3-6. Even the television commentators suggested that Gaston quit playing, stop embarrassing himself against Guillermo, and call it quits. But Gaston wouldn't give up. Guess what? Gaston started winning games against Guillermo. He wouldn't give up. He believed he could win more games"and he did. Then the incredible happened"he won the French Open.

Gaston, just a month earlier didn't have enough money to stay in hotels, took home a $1 million paycheck and the tennis world took notice. He won because he believed, persevered, and wouldn't give up.

Do you believe in yourself, your goals, enough to defeat any obstacle that may get in the way of your success? Take a hard look at your goals and say, as Gaston did, "I believe in myself and my goals. They are worthy of my efforts. No matter what the naysayers say, no matter what obstacles get in the way, I will not give up!

Start today. Apply these tips and you too can have a "goal medal life!

By Ed Sykes © 2005 all Rights Reserved

About The Author
Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and leading expert in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can e-mail him at, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free ebook, "Empowerment and Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional."

Print and Internet publication rights are granted, free of charge, for this article, provided the credit paragraph and copyright remain intact.

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