An important part of the training process is setting goals. A goal is simply the aim of an action. It answers the “so that” question. I am doing this so that …. . I’m getting stronger so that I can hold my postion better. I’m developing my endurance so I can play harder longer.
We set goals to help with our personal development. Clear goals grounded in things that matter to us focus our attention, move us to action, help us stick to it, and challenge us to learn, adapt and grow as we meet challenges. The process of setting individual goals provides both the ignition and fuel for our development.
In addition to our personal accomplishments there is a larger context for our effort that often gets lost or forgotten – CONTRIBUTION. It’s another way to answer the “so that” question. I’m working to develop my potential so that … . Personal accomplishment and mastery are important and necessary for our well being but if they are the only reasons we train or compete we are missing something vital.
Rather than asking only what we will get as a result of our hard work we can also ask what we will be able to give. Imagine going to tryouts focused on making your biggest contribution to the process while you strive to give your best performance. There is a level of meaning that contribution provides that personal mastery and accomplishment don’t. We need a balance of all three. So, another question to ask when we’re setting goals is, “What will developing your physical or technical abilities allow you to contribute?” Every athlete knows that the fastest way to move the ball or the puck is with your teammates.
Soccer great Lionel Messi frames it this way: I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else. I’m more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world. When all this is over, what are you left with? When I retire, I hope I am remembered for being a decent guy.