Hitting targets

As a teenager I was Australian Junior Archery Champion twice. I have 2 gold medals from the National championships and I represented my country twice as well. I was training 5-6 times per week under the guidance of a seasoned coach and won gold when I was 14 and 17. I set many National records and beat the Men in the open championship. I knew what it was like to set goals, get good guidance and put the work in from an early age.

When I started playing golf at the age of 33 a score of 120 was a good round. I was hopeless. One year, on my birthday, I treated myself to a lesson with a teaching pro – Chris. On the way to the lesson I was thinking of my golf goal. I had heard that a ‘single figure handicap’ was pretty good. That’ll do I thought. Chris asked me 3 questions when I met him. 1) What’s your sporting background? Archery! Turns out it was useful for putting & chipping. 2) What’s your goal? Single digit marker – no idea what that meant. 3) Do you have time to practice? Not knowing what he meant I said yes.

Every week I had a lesson with Chris. Every week I practiced & played 3-4 times and every week I asked Chris the same question. When will I be a single figure marker? He never answered me definitively.

One day I said to him “Chris, it’s my birthday in 6 months and that’ll be our 2 year anniversary working together. I want to be single figures by my Birthday”. FINALLY he says – “great, you’ve put a date on it”. He mapped out a plan, I put the work in and achieved it with 1 day to spare.

When I was 40 my wife bought me a ticket into space on Virgin Galactic. I am ticket holder no. 293. This ticket comes with many perks including an opportunity to run in the London Marathon a few years ago. I was not a ‘runners shoe’ – 500 meters and I was totally stuffed.

I set 3 goals for ‘my’ Marathon. 1) Don’t walk 2) Don’t stop and 3) Complete it in less than 4hrs 30 mins – 4hrs 41 was average and as a first timer I wanted to be better than average. Once the goals were set, then I got myself and running coach (Craig) and we trained 5 times a week for 17 weeks. I was also following the plan and guidance of a 5 time Marathon winner – Pat. For the next 17 weeks I ran a total of 692 km’s (for a first time runner, 17 weeks is NOT enough time to train for a Marathon I found out) and I hurt every day. I told everyone about my goals – that way I was accountable!

Race day. 750,000 spectators, 45,000 runners and 80 pubs along the route. Every pub had a party out front and it seemed they all wanted me to have a beer “do you want a beer mate?” they would say. After a while I REALLY wanted a beer but if I took a beer I would have to stop or walk. I trudged on and started hallucinating about beer! Finally I finished in 4 hrs 20 mins. I didn’t stop and I didn’t walk. Goal achieved. I collapsed and hurt for a month! I am not doing that ever again.

When I started my last tech company (which I have since exited) I needed to raise capital to fund it. With external help we worked out the financial model, then I proved that we could hit the sales numbers and then I hit the road to raise capital. We thought we needed $8M but ended up needing to raise $12M to get it to profit. It took me 18 months to raise the $12M whilst still building the business and driving the revenue skyward. There was a mountain of travel and countless meetings and along the way I never lost sight of the goal. Once we got the company to cash-flow positive we wouldn’t need to raise any more capital. The money was raised and we got it to cash-flow positive. Goal achieved.

I don’t tell you any of this to ‘brag’ or ‘grandstand’ or prove how good I am. I tell you this because there is a science in achieving what you want to achieve in business and in life. It is literally a formula, mixed with some change, good guidance, loads of discipline and yes – hard work over time.

You see, with these 4 stories I was following the exact same formula I learned many many years ago. It’s the same formula I work with my coaching clients on.

Goals + Vehicle + Decisions + Actions = Results
Goals – Gold medals, Single figure handicap, 4hrs 30 / no walking or stopping, $12M / cash-flow positive
Vehicle – tune up … the body, the mind, the energy, the business and the plan
Decisions – witch coaching …. sleep patterns, food / alcohol intake, travel, expenses, people, strategy
Actions – with coaching …. training, practicing, running, meetings (lots of meetings)
Results – you know the results.

Once you are crystal clear what success looks like (the goal), you’re prepared to make changes to the vehicle (business or body), you’re prepared to make the decisions that make a difference (under coaching guidance) and then you’re prepared to put the work in (actions) THEN and only then will the results you seek materialize.

The hardest part in this formula? Most say Actions. Action is the easy bit. The decisions that MUST be made are the hardest part. Once the decisions are made the actions fall into place.

It all starts with goals. If the goals are strong enough the facts don’t count.

I hope you enjoyed the article.

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