A High Stakes Game: Setting The Goal Is Just The Beginning


A dream is an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it. –Put Your Dream To The Test

I think we’d all agree that a major part of our job as coaches is to get our teams to dream big, to set goals, and to guide them through the process of measuring and achieving them.   Whether it is for the individual or the team as a whole, goal setting is a fun (and scary) part of the season for our athletes.  Every team starts off the season with the goal of winning it all and I believe that we have the tremendous opportunity to manage their definition of success and to help them accomplish their goals.  Over the next series of three posts, I’d like for you to join me as I explore goal setting through the lens of the book, Put Your Dream To The Test by John Maxwell.

I thought this book was great because it challenges you to be sure that your dream, or goal for our purposes, is really yours.  I’m sure we’ve all had the athlete on our team that just said what she thought we wanted to hear.   When you ask whether or not she wants to win the big game or earn her way into the starting lineup, she says yes.  But with a question mark instead of an exclamation point.  That’s clearly not her goal and we have to work to find out what motivates her to come to practice everyday.  The tagline to the book is “10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It.”  These questions are designed to challenge the resolve of a goal, here they are:

  • The Ownership Question:  Is My Dream Really My Dream?
  • The Clarity Question:  Do I Clearly See My Dream?
  • The Reality Question:  Am I Depending on Factors within My Control to Achieve My Dream?
  • The Passion Question:  Does My Dream Compel Me to Follow It?
  • The Pathway Question:  Do I Have a Strategy to Reach My Dream?
  • The People Question:  Have I Included the People I Need to Realize My Dream?
  • The Cost Question:  Am I Willing to Pay the Price for My Dream?
  • The Tenacity Question:  Am I Moving Closer to My Dream?
  • The Fulfillment Question:  Does Working Toward My Dream Bring Satisfaction?
  • The Significance Question:  Does My Dream Benefit Others?

I’m going to explore each of these questions and how we can relate them to our team’s goal setting process, so be sure to keep stopping by.  Before I finish up this post, I wanted to mention the four things that could make your team resistant to goal setting.  We all assume that our team has high goals (that they truly believe in!) and that they are singularly focused on accomplishing them…but that’s not always the case.  They may not tell you, but some folks have been jaded:  by other people they’ve seen fail, by their own personal failures, by settling for less than the best (good is the enemy of great), or by low self-esteem.  It’s our job to address those issues and ideally get rid of them so that our athletes can be their very best selves.

Join me next time when I discuss the first five questions and how we can use them to lead our teams in achieving their goals.

Read Part Two

Read Part Three