One of the common/top mistakes leading to failure enumerated in the article Top Reasons Why We Fail is the focus on the outcome and not on the process. In other words, to succeed we need to have a detailed plan, focus on the short-term process and not necessarily on the outcome. How is it working, and what are the commitment strategies to employ?
Many goals require years of commitment, patience, and very hard work. Becoming a doctor or an attorney, reaching the elite levels in a sport, creating a successful business are some examples of goals which require years to complete. While it is EXTREMELY important to keep the primary goal in mind at all times, we cannot simply understand in the first day what it takes to accomplish it. Becoming a lawyer requires the passage of the Bar, becoming a doctor requires the passage of the Board, reaching the elite levels of sports requires participation in the Olympics, World Championships, Elite competitions. We cannot understand everything we have to do, how to change, adapt, and what we have to overcome in order to get there.
So, we devise a plan with smaller, short-terms goals to achieve. Using the example of the professional goals, we have to finish the basic educational levels to seek admission into the professional programs, then we have to take exams, complete internships, graduate and ultimately pass the professional exam. But even those goals can be further split into shorter ones. We can focus on learning one chapter at the time, writing a paper at the time, taking mid-terms in order to reach that one small intermediary goal, all while keeping in mind the ultimate goal – acceptance into the professional group.
In on the fastest growing sports on the planet – ultra running – a sport where athletes are required to run distances of 100 miles or longer, the ultimate goal can be participation at the World Championships, competing in the Spartathlon, running a 6 Day race – such as Icarus Florida UltraFest, or running around the World. The athletes simply cannot expect to be able to achieve the top level only by focusing on that alone. A well determined path includes learning to run efficient, injury free, increasing endurance, running sufficient 100 mile races to build confidence, increasing speed, followed by the pursuit of the ultimate goal.
In ultra running and in life (such as in school) failing is very common. Some athletes, like some students, do not prepare, do not do homework, do not work hard and instead dream about the ultimate goal bouncing on different paths and directions. Ultimately they fail because they lack commitment towards the ultimate goal and lack focus on the process. The ones who succeed, generally stay focused on both the short term goals and the ultimate goal as well. They are the “nerds” of the process because they do not falter from their path, they do not use excuses and accomplish every task, building with each success the stepping stone for the next one. Tony Mangan, the 3rd athlete to complete a run around the world describes this process when dealing with tough moments “especially in the Andes, I had an energy crisis and really had to break it down into small segments in my head.”
So, no matter what your ultimate goal is, make sure you are willing to work hard, have a plan, stay focused on the short term goals, all while making a long term commitment to the ultimate goal!
Spartathlon website: http://www.spartathlon.gr/
Icarus Florida UltraFest website: www.icarusfloridaultrafest.com
Tony Mangan’s World Jog website: www.theworldjog.com