How To Start Paying Attention To Your Priorities And #Goals

Moving Toward Your Goals - Picture From CDN At

Moving Toward Your Goals – Picture From CDN At


I’m at my most consistent…I feel ready physically, psychologically, everything, so I am really excited


Tom Daley – Olympian Diver, Speaking Before His 2016 Bronze Medal Win

Lessons From Olympians

So the Olympics are here once again and I’ve been thinking about all the effort that lays behind being ready to achieve peak performance. Team GB have worked hard to be third in the medal tables. Watching a team member achieve a personal best, or an Olympic record in just a few seconds is only part of the story.

Here’s A Thought Experiment

Imagine yourself standing on the edge of the 10 metre Olympic diving board.

You tune out the hundreds of people in the aquatic centre. You don’t think about the millions watching at home. Your team mates and coach have helped you stand ready to perform at your best.

You breathe deeply. Then you spring off the board and tuck into your dive. Your thoughts are focused on your goal. You know you are going to achieve a perfect result. You perform twists and turns like nothing else matters, because nothing else does. You enter the deep water and you come back to the surface. You are buzzing with the feeling of achievement. You did your best.

How easy was it to focus on your outcome? Could you tune out all the background noise?

How To Start Paying Attention To Your Goal

I am not an Olympian, few people are, but I think we can all strive to achieve our main goal, if we are clear what aspect of our performance requires attention.

Sir Dave Brailsford (Principal of British cycling’s Team Sky) and coach has a theory about this. He believes that by concentrating on making a large number of small changes to improve performance, the net gain is significant. Each step is a marginal gain. Those steps correspond to the gradual process of becoming consciously competent at life.

I know background noise and life’s pressures can seem overwhelming. They can crowd out the internal messages which tell me it is time to change. However, once I have decided what I want to achieve (and when I want to achieve it) I can set a goal. That goal will help me move forward. The goal today was to write this post from scratch to share some information with you. I started with a blank page and here I am putting the finishing touches to it.

Getting started was hard. The next few steps were easier. Maybe the same is true for you?

How To Get Started

If you want to work out where you can focus your attention today is a good day to start. Why not start improving your wellbeing, strengthening your team working skills, or begin creating client-pleasing results now. There is plenty of support at hand (so you don’t have to feel isolated).

Your first step is easy. Head over to the Members’ area and download a free tool to help you start to reach your goal. If you want to share your progress you can leave fa reply with your comments below (or Tweet me @RogerD_Said ). Don’t forget to Like this post, or Share it to help others get started on their way.

Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for more ideas about doing what you need to so you can move toward your goal.

All Change

Chicago Fire Soccer Club

Chicago Fire Soccer Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There must be something in the air.  Having mentioned Sugar Ray Leonard in December – in the context of sportspeople leaving the competitive arena to pursue new challenges -there seem to be plenty of others doing the same thing.


Robbie Rogers has stepped away from his US club, Chicago Fire, to discover himself away from football (he also played for Leeds United).  Additionally he  acknowledged he is a gay man in the blog post about leaving the sport.  The two announcements are hopefully not inter-related.  There’s no reason football should be less able to meet the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual players than other sports…is there?


Then there is the surprising phenomenon of former Olympic competitors signing on at the Jobcentre.   The BBC reports, former pentathlete Georgina Harland has a philosophical take on life after a sporting career.  She says:


“You have had this one goal for so long and never questioned it.  Then suddenly it’s not there anymore…You are used to aspiring to be, literally, the best in the world.  But you have to make compromises. What is success in the normal workplace and what does success mean to me?… You can find a job that will satisfy you. It may never be what it was like when you were competing, but you can find something that satisfies in a different way”


Unintentionally those observations are sound bits of advice for anyone going through a life transition, perhaps linked to redundancy or another major change of circumstances.  Find out what ‘success’ means for you and you are part way to uncovering what type of employment may provide it for you.

Changing Lanes

Swim training 14

Swim training 14 (Photo credit: Michael Lokner)

In my 31 December post Don’t Call It A Comeback’, I advocated that sports stars should have a Plan B in place, so they know what else they want to do with the rest of their lives, once they leave their field of excellence.


By coincidence Rebecca Adlington seems to have done that sort of thinking, before making her announcement this week that she is moving on from competitive swimming.


I love the clarity of her vision, set out at her press conference.  Quoted in the Daily Telegraph she said:

“I want to create a legacy, which is trying to get every single child to be able to swim 25 metres before they leave primary school… That would be my absolute goal in life. I know it’s very ambitious but I wouldn’t have said five years ago that I would have had four Olympic medals in my drawer at home. I know with a lot of hard work you can achieve things. It’s such a life skill and it would overtake anything I’ve achieved medal-wise. It would be greatest legacy of all for every child in the UK to be able to swim”.

That sounds to me like she has had some effective coaching during her competitive swimming career.  In fact it sounds as if she has answered the question of what else she wants in her life, to her own satisfaction.  I don’t doubt she has the motivation to succeed in her new goal too.

There May Be Trouble Ahead – Post Script

Map of Summer Olympics locations. Countries th...

Map of Summer Olympics locations. Countries that have hosted one Summer Olympics are shaded green, while countries that have hosted two or more are shaded blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an earlier post I speculated that there might be Trouble Ahead as a result of the 11th hour pre-Olympic security staffing problem.


It turns out the long term impact of the problem is being quantified by the key players.


For the armed services – drafted in at the last minute to help ensure the Games were successful – there will be knock-on effects for many months to come.


As Wing Commander Peter Daulby, military Chief Planner, commented to the Guardian:


“It will take two years to recover from [Olympic deployment], to get back to normal, to get everything back into kilter. You can’t expect [personnel deployed] to go back to normal routine very easily”


For the original security contractor – G4S – the impact of achieving a reported 83% deployment of their original staffing goal will be financial.  The Guardian reports a 60% fall in half year profits and reputational knock in the longer term.


As their Chief Executive, Nick Buckles, said in a recent interview:


“…his appearance before the home affairs select committee shortly before the Games, where he was forced to admit that the Olympics process had been a “shambles”, was difficult but necessary”


Although the Games themselves were rightly praised as a major success, the secuirty contractor’s experience seems to illustrates the principle that; ordinary efforts probably could not have produced the extraordinary planning outcome the Olympics call for.

Swimming Lessons

English: Mark Foster, British swimmer, at the ...

English: Mark Foster, British swimmer, at the parade in London to celebrate the achievements of British competitors at the 2008 Summer Olympics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interviewed by Benenden Healthcare Society’s ben health magazine in February 2012, former Olympic swimmer Mark Foster offered some views about success in and out of the water.


I thought I would share the highlights of what he said, since they have a general appeal.


Speaking about what it takes to succeed in his sport, he said:


“You have to be mentally strong and believe in yourself 100 per cent.  You need to be the one who trains harder and wants it more and is willing to go that extra mile”.


In the working world he emphasised the importance of taking “…responsibility for your job – for your part of the big picture”.


Finally he offered some thoughts about striving to succeed:


“Never be afraid of failing.  The real winners are those who have a go and go that extra mile.  Don’t be someone who doesn’t try because they don’t want to fail.  Be the best you can be”.

Getting Inspired

I found some of the athlete’s personal stories from the Olympics to be amazing and I suspect the Paralympics will generate even more inspiring tales.


Here are a few thoughts, prompted by the recent Games, showing how inspiration can be kindled, capitalised on and embellished for the future.


Track star Mo Farah has taken years to fan the spark of his basic ability.  Mo was inspired to fulfil his potential, crossing oceans in the process.  He started out in Africa and received coaching in Europe, then continued honing his skills in the United States.  Notwithstanding his journey, the Guardian considers that:


“the drive that has propelled Farah to his Games-defining feat in his hometown is all is own”.

English: Mo Farah at the 2010 European Athleti...

English: Mo Farah at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



British sportswoman Nicola Adams has blazed a trail for others, as the first Gold medallist in women’s Olympic boxing.  According to a Telegraph interview she is prepared for her role as a pioneer:


“I definitely want to inspire girls to follow their dreams” she said “and not be bothered by what people say.  That’s what we need – more females being role models in sport”.



Cycling Olympian Laura Trott spoke to the Guardian about crowd sourcing encouragement:


“I’m peaking at the right time and it’s all thanks to the coaches, and the support of the crowd and my family” she told the BBC.


Basketball’s John Amaechi has an eye for the future.  In his view performance gains for his sport in Britain, cannot be determined quantitatively:


“The idea you can grow a sport by counting how many people do something for x minutes a week is ridiculous” he says in a BBC article about the sporting legacy.

A Winning Attitude

Sue Tibballs, CEO, Women's Sport & Fitness Fou...

Sue Tibballs, CEO, Women’s Sport & Fitness Foundation (Photo credit: KatBeads)

In my experience a positive approach to a challenge helps to produce better results than a negative one.


I know I have taken on a task from someone who said they ‘could not ‘ achieve the desired outcome, and I went on to produce an effective result without too much effort.


If positivity can produce those sorts of results in the everyday world, how much more can it galvanise people at the peak of their game?


Arguably, as the eyes of the world are focused on the Olympic venues, most of the 2012 competitors must want to show the aspirational values of winners who achieve results at Faster, Higher, and Stronger levels.


It makes sense that, as Coach Robin Williams notes, World beating rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover’s earned their Gold medals in part because of their “… reliably positive attitude on and off the water”.


Female athletes’ positivity may also help raise the profile and levels of participation in women’s sport.  There is room for improvement as Sue Tibballs, Chief Executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, says: “Being sporty is still not seen as aspirational or even normal among girls. They just don’t see women doing it”


Who knows, at the end of the competition it might be clear that, this time around, women really have made their mark.

There May Be Trouble Ahead

English: The diagram above represents a generi...

English: The diagram above represents a generic framework for risk management. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fictional head of the Twenty Twelve Olympic Deliverance Team, Ian Fletcher, would have been quietly scathing had a hapless contractor failed to produce the promised level of security staff days before the Opening Ceremony.   What a nightmare for an Olympic Chief with days to go before the Games begin.

Olympic Chief – “So are you telling me, the Head of Olympic Deliverance, that your firm managed the risk of not delivering the full quota of 12,000 fully trained and equipped staff – at the right venues, at the right time – by basically, crossing your fingers?”

Hapless Contractor – “In strategic terms, utilising our end-to-end ‘recruitment to deployment’ process we should have provided the full roster of staff at each venue, as per our contract.”

OC – “Well, thank you for that answer to a question, in all fairness, I haven’t actually asked.  Turning now to your risk management strategy on this contract.  What would you say that consists of, in a nutshell?”

HC – “In a nutshell?  Being honest?  (Pause) That would be pretty much be what you said. Sorry”

OC – “There you go.  With crossed fingers who needs Risk Registers?  Well. It’s all good.  Luckily there are some uniformed staff not doing much, ahead of the big day.  Aside from brushing the dust of Afghanistan off their boots, seeing their families and so on…”

Coming back to the reality, it’s scary to think that a major contractor thought they could use their standard project planning methodology to seamlessly deliver more than 10,000 staff to 2012’s principle sporting tournament.

Looking at that goal rationally it is a huge challenge to accomplish that outcome on time, without having any experience of successfully completing a project that size, without a carefully tailored approach.

Far from enhancing their reputation for professional delivery this contractor may have placed greater scrutiny on the way they deliver on their other contracts.

I don’t think they will earning a place on the winners’ podium this year.