How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 10)

Take your eye off the ball” is bad advice in sports, but a great metaphor for the biggest barrier to success.  When a football player is seeing his endzone celebration before seeing the ball safely in his hands he is likely to see the ball on the ground.  “Hearing footsteps” refers to a situation where a player anticipates getting hit by the opponent, loses focus and makes an error.  We might say the player “takes his ears off the ball.”

A tactic in basketball is to do something like a head fake or a look-away pass to cause the opposition to focus on the wrong thing.  A player with the ball can cause a momentary distraction with a simple turn of the head.  In the diagram below, Ronnie (44) had the ball in the corner.  Before passing it to Zach (20), who was headed for the basket, he turned his head left toward the stands and fired the ball to Zach on his right, who caught the perfect pass and made the easy basket. Here’s the interesting part of this particular play.  Who or what was on Ronnie’s left to look at?  He’s in the corner, where there is no basket and no other players to pass to.  Still, the defender froze, lost focus for a fraction of a second, and allowed the ball to get by him.  Loss of focus, even briefly, can be a game changer.

Ronnie to Zach for 2 Points

These examples illustrate the importance of short-term focus.  Now, let’s consider focus from a long-term perspective.  Do you know where you are going?  What is your purpose for being here in this world?  How does your vision of your future align with your sense of purpose?  As purpose and vision take form, perhaps you can “see” an image of your preferred future.  If so, put it into written form or draw a picture.  This is much more than an academic exercise.  Taking time to visualize your purpose-driven future and create a visual representation of it helps you stay focused on what matters most.

“I dream my painting and paint my dream.” — Vincent Van Gogh

“The Three Armies can be deprived of their commanding officer,
but even a common man cannot be deprived of his purpose.”
— Confucius

With a vision, you can plan.  With a plan you can take action.  Action creates momentum, which gets results.  But, always remember to keep your eye on the ball or you might get the wrong results and that would sabotage your future.

“You cannot change your destination overnight,
but you can change your direction overnight.”
— Jim Rohn

The Last Domino

This post was inspired by something I saw on the back of my niece’s soccer practice jersey.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

This simple, yet thought-provoking definition led me to see a chain reaction using dominos. I saw “Dream” as the first domino, “Deadline” in the middle and “Goal” at the end of the chain. Three dominos makes a lousy image. So, I imagined inserting a few more and came up with the following chain:

Dream → Passion → Action → Progress → Urgency → Deadline → Goal Achieved

However, with long-term goals, the dominos are normally spaced too far apart to generate enough momentum to reach the goal. Something more is needed. The gaps must be filled with lots of “character” dominos to maintain momentum in the chain. The following quotes identify some of these momentum dominos:

Every Day Get Started: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” — Amelia Earhart

Determination: “Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.” — Lord Chesterfield

Courage: “The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.” — John C. Maxwell

Selflessness: “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar

Faith/Purpose: “It is not such a fiercesome thing to lead once you see your leadership as part of God’s overall plan for his world.” — Calvin Miller

Service: “From now on, any definition of a successful life must include serving others.” — President George Bush

Imagine how much character goes into falling domino displays like these:

How many dominos does it take to become a world class swimmer like Michael Phelps, who is dominating U.S. media coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games? He is now the most decorated American Olympic athlete of all time. His goal to win 8 gold medals with world record times is just 3 events away. Phelps’ unprecedented dominance has already produced millions of dollars worth of endorsements. Can a book and a movie be far behind?

During the endless coverage, one item jumped out at me. In an interview, the young “Phenom Phelps” acknowledged that he keeps a typewritten list of his goals beside his bed and reads it every day. Sounds like a good idea and one that is very easy. Yet, how many people do it? Thanks to Mr. Phelps’ inspiration, my list will be in its appointed place starting tonight!

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright August 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

Dream Big Dreams

Do you have dreams for your future? How often do you revisit these dreams? Do you ever share them with others? Have you forgotten your dreams or set them aside? Is what you’re doing today getting you closer to realizing your dreams? Here are nine points to ponder about dreaming.

1. Dreams must be specific. Paint a clear picture of where you want to go and who you want to be.

“I have always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific.” — Lily Tomlin

2. Dare to dream big! Don’t let anyone or anything put dampers on your dreams.

“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.” — Charles F. Kettering

3. You are never too old to dream new dreams nor rediscover old ones.

“Dreams don’t have an expiration date.” — David Niven, Ph.D.

4. Big dreams are a responsibility, especially in a land with so many opportunities.

“America is too great for small dreams.” — Ronald Reagan

5. Dreams can change the world. (e.g. “I Have Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” — Robert H. Goddard

6. Dreams help create momentum. How? Vision leads to focus, focus leads to discipline, and discipline leads to “the big mo” (momentum.) To build momentum, take time daily to revisit your dream.

“Discipline is remembering what you want.” — David Campbell

7. Failure is not measured by mistakes. Failure is quitting before your dream becomes reality.

“The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you.” — Tom Bradley

8. Dreaming is only the “first step” AND the only first step to success.

“Commitment separates the doers from the dreamers.” — Andre Maronian

9. Dreaming can be a life-changing experience on the way to becoming a better person.

“Build a dream and the dream will build you.” — Robert Schuller

Dreams are the fruit of our imaginations — Success is the fruit of our dreams. Success is found at the crossroads of big dreams, opportunity, and personal action. It’s time to start dreaming again!

God Bless,

– CC

© Copyright June 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com