Over the years, I have often highlighted the importance of consistency. Working hard on a consistent basis is not enough however if you lack clearly defined goals. As an old saying suggests, if you don’t know where you are going, almost any road will get you there. Therefore, it is entirely possible to work hard, yet struggle to progress due to a lack of clarity. In other words, your hard work is disorganized, thus never concentrated towards a precise goal. As a result, minimal progress is made in any particular direction.
Have a Clear Path
In the brief video below, former Olympian Cary Kolat shares a brief story that brilliantly highlights the importance of clarity. It is only a few minutes long, yet well worth a look.
Those who tend to get ahead in any pursuit usually know exactly what they are trying to achieve. There is no uncertainty. Instead, their purpose is clear and defined. Action is taken with precise goals in mind. Everything that is done is done for a reason. Each step forward is carefully calculated and considered. Haphazardness is not part of the equation.
Relevance To Training
As I’ve said before, business and training share many parallels. A successful business typically starts with a well thought business plan. The same concept applies to athletic training. You must know what you are trying to build before you can begin putting the pieces together. If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, it’s impossible to determine which path to follow.
Furthermore, once you know what you want to accomplish, you need to focus on the steps that must be taken to achieve those goals. I always tell my athletes that I don’t want to hear about their dreams. Don’t waste time telling me what you want in life. Instead, let’s figure out what needs to be done to make those dreams a reality.
With that said, I share many of Cary Kolat’s beliefs regarding goals and focus. I’ve never been one to sit around day dreaming about what I want in life. I’d rather use that time to determine how I am going to get what I want. Therefore, once I’ve identified my goals, my focus immediately shifts towards determining the ideal course of action that is necessary to achieve those goals.
Speaking as a coach, there is nothing better than working with an athlete who is focused and knows exactly what he wants to achieve. Those are the athletes who go home at night and think about what they are going to accomplish the next day. They don’t waste time dreaming about the fame and fortune that they someday hope to achieve. They are too focused on determining the next steps that need to be taken.
Thus, while it is important to have goals, never allow yourself to be distracted by those goals. As chilling as it may sound, the clock never stops ticking and lost time is gone forever. No matter what you do, you’ll never get it back. With that in mind, be sure that your hard work is coupled with intelligent planning.
Never be fooled to believe that hard work alone will guarantee success. It’s entirely possible to work hard with minimal progress. To be successful, you must know where you are going and how you are going to get there. Without direction and clarity, it is unlikely that your efforts will be allocated as efficiently and effectively as possible.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee