As we near the halfway point of the year, many of us are thinking about the time we have left in 2015 and some of the goals and aspirations we want to accomplish. I’m also sure many of you (and me included) are lamenting the fact some stuff we wanted to accomplish hasn’t been done.
Most people I know start out a year with some short and long term goals and then get busy, pretty quickly, getting them done. Personally I’ve often noticed that most goals are easy to achieve up to a point. Then for some reason, I get ground to a halt. This seems a lot like the American football phenomenon of the red zone defense.
One of the biggest challenges a football team faces is when they get down into their opponent’s “red zone.” This is the area between the 20-yard line and the end zone. Of course the goal of the offense is to move through the 20 yards and score, but these are often the toughest yards to get for the following reasons:
- The defense has to spread less – there isn’t as much field to cover
- With the thread of the immanent score, defenses tend to tighten up
- If the defense is playing at home, it’s hard for the offense to hear the signals of the quarterback due to the crowd noise
- Protecting your own turf is a basic human survival skill
With all this stacked against an offense, they have to work extra hard. The best defensive teams have a remarkable ability to really lock down the red zone and thus get scored on very little.
Now this is a bunch of football speak and if you’re not a fan, I’ve probably lost you by now but let’s liken this to our own quest to score on achieving some of our goals.
Setting goals and making early progress is pretty easy. I’ve worked with plenty of coaching clients who swear they’re ready to write that book, get that job, or achieve that dream. Most do pretty well to a point. Then, as success is almost realized, they freeze. Of the dozens of folks I coached on writing a book, only a few managed to get it done, including: Pat Kastner, author of Caring to Change, Teresa Rome, author of MindOverGolfBall.com, Scott Matheny, author of What Great Leaders Do, and Bonnie Burnett, author of Halfway to the Moon. How do you explain?
- Success means you have to set new goals. There is a potential letdown.
- Success means you open yourself up to criticism. Everyone is excited when you say you’re writing a book. When you write a book, people then feel compelled to criticize it. I know from experience!
- Success may not live up to the expectations you thought as you get close to reaching it.
In other words, the red zone defense tightens up on you!
What should you do? How about putting in more effort as you near the finish line? Realize that early success doesn’t guarantee and easy finish. The final stages of your quest may be the toughest, but keep in mind you’re almost there!
I’m excited for some big breakthroughs in the remaining half of this year. Knowing the red zone will be there later will help me formulate a winning strategy. How will you break through the red zone?