As part of the 2012 National talent ID camp for Diving Australia, we ran two workshops: goal-setting and goal-getting. Goal-setting and goal-getting are the complementary halves of the success process and they require different states and draw on different cognitive processes. Really effective goal-setting is about visioning (creativity) and strategising (analysis). When the two are in alignment, effective goals are created. The challenge for high-performance managers and coaches is that it is difficult to create the time and space for young athletes to experience both sides, and it is a more difficult process for teenagers – they do not have a wide well of experience upon which to draw and their visions of themselves and the future are very ambiguous and vague. For the teenager, their identity is in formation and at many times, is unknown – that is is why it is difficult for them to create rich and detailed goals and visions.
Goal-getting is about fire and determination: two different aspects of the same energy. One is explosive, the other is resilient. That is, in order to go after a goal and achieve it, athletes need courage and power to make the first step, to get their bodies into action and motion towards the desired outcome. You cannot move towards what you want without achieving a state of tension: just like the tension that exists in a rubber band when it has been stretched, just before you let it go and it flies away. That tension is necessary. It is impossible to achieve motion when one is fully rested and content. The second energy, resilience is the energy of holding on, of gritting one’s teeth and hanging in there. This energy is necessary because all goals require sustained energy, effort and focus over time. No goals are instantly and immediately achieved.
The workshop commenced with a story about mice and concluded with the bridge of balance where the athletes had to hold their focus and energy in the face of distraction. They had to hold on and not give up in order to maintain focus on their goals and reach the future vision they had created.