Every one of us has choices, and the way we frame them and make them sets us on our paths- Apolo Ohno. Zero Regrets.
It’s the New Year. Time to set goals. What are your goals for 2011?
Without clarifying what you want to do and why, life’s activities become sort of purposeless and random, right? You wind up reacting to influences that carry you somewhere until, one day, you wake up and wonder how the heck you got where you are. You just went with the flow; drifting. There’s nothing wrong with that, if your goal is to experience the adventure of being aimless, but if you have any dream of who you want to be or what you want to accomplish, you’ve got to define it. Seeing the destination provides you with direction. Having a goal frames your choices. It sets you on your path.
Know who you want to become and what you want to achieve. Define a plan for the work it’s going to take to get there, being determined to go the distance, not looking for shortcuts. Accept the sacrifices of not being “normal” and drifting with the influence of others, and team up with those who are going the same direction. Then chase it all with everything you’ve got, relentless in your pursuit…full out.
In a defining moment in Apolo Ohno’s life, when he was struggling to define, own, and pursue his goals, his dad said, “You have a choice. I don’t care what path you go on in life. I don’t care if it’s sports or academics or business. Whatever it is, it’s all fine by me. But whatever that is, you truly have to do it one hundred percent. Dedicating yourself…sacrificing because you want to give that one hundred percent, because you want to be the best or you’re not going to do it at all. If you don’t do something one hundred percent, it’s not worth doing.”
• Don’t decide what you want to be or do, decide who you want to be and what are you willing to do to get there. Do you really know what you want and what’s worth pursuing 100%?
• What’s your plan to avert distractions? How will you avoid bad influences in the first place and what’s your plan if faced with pressure from outside sources to veer off course?
• How will you gain mental strength?
• How will you train to gain physical strength?
• Who do you need around you to help you? Who is going the same direction that you should travel alongside?
• What can you do daily so you’ll have no regrets and won’t say, “what if….If I had only…”
Each day, make choices that keep you on a direct path so you arrive where you intended. Keep your eyes on your destination, be uncompromising and gain strength with every step knowing it’s moving you to becoming the person you want to be. The sacrifice of each day, the pain of giving everything you’ve got will pale in comparison to the years of regret you’ll have if you don’t frame and make your choices well. Choose to have zero regrets.
Apolo Ohno decided he wanted to be the best speed skater in the world. He made clear decisions about what he’d do, who’d he spend his time with and how hard he’d pursue who he wanted to become. He has Zero Regrets and has become the most decorated winter Olympian of all time.