Do You Believe In Miracles?
Thirty years ago today; February 22nd, 1980 was anything but another ordinary day.
The triumph of the US Olympic hockey team in Lake Placid NY, beating the Russians, and going on to win the Gold Medal against Finland; is regarded as one of the greatest moments in Olympic history…if not in all of sports. There’s real-life lessons to be learned from these ‘young kids’ (average age 22) about transcending doubt (self-doubt and that of others) and achieving goals (pun intended) – achievement where everyone in the world counted them out.
You see, a few weeks before the Olympics, the US Team decidedly got annihilated by the Russians…10-3. History could easily not have been made, had the US succumbed to what many would have, and that is believing an Assumption or Limiting Belief.
An Assumption is something to the effect “well, we got beat pretty bad a few weeks ago, it’s likely to happen again”. Basically, assuming that what has happened in the past is likely to be the same result in a similar situation in the future.
A Limiting Belief is a generally accepted truth imposed by the thoughts/comments of others that something is not possible, but has no real merit as being an absolute truth. The announcers, hockey experts – everyone; felt that the Russians were the greatest hockey team in the world at that time, and that there wasn’t any way that the US Team could possibly prevail.
The goals you wish to achieve may or may not be as monumental as those achieved by the US Hockey Team, however whatever your goals, following these five tips will bring you closer to achieving them.
1. Write Down Your Goals
You probably heard this countless times but do you do this? Do you write your goals down and review them on a regular basis. All great goal achievers write their goals down. They write them down in detail and they write down a synopsis of their goals as well – perhaps on a 3×5 index card or a special card created specifically for this purpose that they can regularly review. Work backwards from your end goal, and set targets within those goals. Maybe you’d want to post your written goals on the dashboard of your car, the bathroom mirror, or your refrigerator – somewhere that you’ll see them frequently to re-affirm them.
Something magical happens when you write down your goals. Won’t you give it a try?
2. Share Your Goals, But Be Selective With Whom You Share Them:
Let’s be real, not everyone is going to be supportive of you achieving your goals.
There are people who will support you and there will be people who, if they had their way, would dash your hopes and dreams to pieces. And it may simply be a matter of their insecurities, jealousy, or them wanting to see you experience disappointment should your goal not materialize as you plan.
So share your goals with those who you know will support you and those who you know can help you to achieve your goals.
In the case of a team, it helps to establish a common goal that is shared across all members.
3. Visualize Your Goals With A Positive Outcome
Visualisation is critical to the goal achievement process. You not only have to be able to visualize yourself completing your goal, you have to sense the feeling and exilaration – feeling the feeling of achievement. Imagine others congratulating you on your achievement, what opportunities may open up for you down the road after you’ve achieved your goal. How will your life be different afterwards? On the flip-side, if you picture yourself failing in your pursuit, you’ve sealed your fate before you’ve started and are likely to live-out a self-fulfilling prophecy of falling short.
Can you imagine if the US Hockey team replayed in their mind, over and over again, each of the ten goals that the Russians scored just a few weeks earlier how the result on February 22nd, 1980 would have been different?
The beauty about positive visualization is that it’s something you can do almost anytime and anywhere, although first thing in the morning and last thing at night are two excellent times to visualize your goals.
4. Cultivate Your Mental Strength
Learning to “win” comes from the experience of “losing”. Do you view failure as a bump in the road and opportunity from which to learn, or does it shatter your confidence and cause you to second-guess yourself? How you interpret the inevitable setbacks you experience tests the mettle of your mental fortitude.
The US Hockey team was trounced 10-3 just prior to the Winter Games. Certainly a score to crush the spirit and border on the verge of embarrassment for an individual or a group. In fact, the US trailed the Russians twice during their monumental game, and were losing 3-2 in the third period. Obviously ‘the boys of Winter’ were able to pick themselves up by their bootstraps and rise to the challenge.
One way to develop your mental fortitude and ‘sticktoittiveness’ is to have a big reason why – something that will help to keep you motivated.
5. Be Dedicated To The Pursuit Of Your Goals
The fast-paced world in which we live is filled with distractions. Focus, sacrifice, and dedication can be challenged by what’s happening around you. To achieve your goals, your internal compass must remain true to the path that you’ve set for yourself. To differentiate yourself you must be prepared to do things that others are not.
Much can happen to distract you and obstruct your progress, so you really do need single-mindedness of purpose. In the pursuit of your goal, everything will likely not be ideal. Situations are likely to come up that you hadn’t anticipated. That is why it is important to have contingency plans in your preparation and consider some of the hurdles that may occur, and develop action plans for how you will deal with these. Proper preparation will render these events to being minor hiccups, and not a major derailment in your pursuit.
After all, the ultimate goal of the US Hockey team was to win the Gold Medal. There work was not done by beating the Russians, they still had to remain focused on the game two days later against Finland to achieve their crowning glory. Can you imagine how insignificant the game against the Russians would be had the US not completed their quest for the Gold Medal?
To quote Herb Brooks, the coach of that US Hockey Team, from his speech in the locker room just before the big game:
“Great moments… are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ‘em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game…not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world.”
Remind yourself that “Tonight, you are the greatest _________ in the world.” And that while you may have your struggles, and fail several times in the pursuit of your goals – “Not tonight!”.
Establish your goals and chart a course for achieving them, pay no mind to the Limiting Beliefs of others, and challenge any of the Assumptions that may come up along the way.
You have dreamed of great opportunities, and will create your own great moments – make ‘tonight’ be every night for you, and embody greatness – for that’s what you’ve earned!