What happens between setting a huge goal and it fading away in the distance? I was so excited to be invited by Jockvale Elementary School (where I used to go) to come in and talk for 90 minutes with the grade 4 and 5 boys and girls about goal setting. I was a bit worried about keeping their interest for that long. I knew I had enough material to talk for 3 days but would they like it or would they even care? I was shocked how involved they were and how much they wanted to share their opinions with everyone. I wish I had had their courage when I was their age.
When I was in elementary school my huge goal was to go to the Taekwon-Do World Championships. I basically kept this a secret. The only people that knew were my parents, a few of my teachers and my Instructor, Master Kou. Most people think of ‘fighting’ when they think of martial arts. I was petrified of being being labelled a ‘bully’ since nothing could have been further from the truth. Being taller than all the kids was hard enough but being known as a ‘girl fighter’ was just not cool. Girls couldn’t relate or understand me and boys were afraid of me (even if they wouldn’t admit that). I would never think of hurting anyone at school or on the playground. If you misuse TKD your belt can be taken away from you. That is the biggest form of disgrace in the Martial Arts world. Fortunately Martial Arts is a lot more popular now and it’s a lot more understood than it used to be.
I told the students about all the steps that I took in my training, the hard decision to switch dojangs to my new instructor Mr. LeGrow after being with the same coach for 10 years, qualifying and making the National team, training for the World Championships and how I’m restarting the cycle again for the world championships in Spain 2013. I explained my 5 steps that I take when I set a goal. I can only speak from my own experience but so far they’ve worked for me. Together, we all wrote down our goals and most of them shared with the group what they wanted to do. I was blown away with what they had to say. It would be so incredible if they could all be achieved. If you combined all their goals sheets together Jockvale will have enough players for their own professional hockey, football, gymnastics and dance teams 🙂
Writing down the goals isn’t enough!!! Most of them even knew why their goal was important to them but I think the next stage is where things fall apart for some people. It’s the phase that I call ‘ WORK’. When I asked them what their daily routine was towards their goal most of them might put in an hour or two (maybe even 3 hours) a week towards it. That amount of time is fine for daily excersice but if their goal is to be a professional hockey player, an olympic swimmer, a professional dancer or the next Canadian Idol etc. it requires a whole lot more than what they are doing. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but competitive sports have gotten so much more competitive and the standards and expectations are so much higher that kids have to put in a lot more work earlier and younger than they did in the past. All you have to do is look at the Olympics last summer. New records of speed, height, weight etc were constantly being set. PB’s are always being broken. Unfortunately or fortunatey (however you look at it) more ‘work’ has to be put in. I think the hardest thing for people after they’ve set a huge goal is not having a plan to follow or knowing who to talk to. If they don’t see enough progress they stop and so does their dream 🙁 The good news is, they at least started the goal and they are better off than if they never even tried.
I don’t feel that the problem is being lazy, but it’s the lack of direction as to what they should and could be doing towards their goal. We wouldn’t expect them to be able to graduate from grade 5 without starting in kindergarden. The same is true with goals. Kids need more support and guidance from parents, family, friends, coaches and teachers. I can honestly say it was never my parents pushing me to train. It was my passion so no one ever needed to. I really believe that the drive needs to come from the kids, but they still need help with the direction. Goals CAN be achieved alone but it’s a whole lot easier, funner and faster if you have support behind you.
This is where I was super fortunate. When I was their age back in grade 4 and 5 I had two 18 year old teenage mentors (Jonathon Martel and Max Riopelle). Both of them knew my goal and both of them had competed in a World Championship themselves. They saw some talent in me and they knew how driven I was so they coached me privately for hours at a time on weekends when the dogang was closed. During the summer months they worked me hard like I was in a boot camp training beside them. I trained just as hard as they did. I had nothing but respect for them and I never questioned what they asked me to do even if it was repeating the same movement or drill over and over again for hours until it was perfect! I figured if they made it to the World Championships they knew what they were talking about. It was always just… ‘yes Sir’. This was additional to all my nightly training with my Instructor. That is why I like to help younger students now. It’s my ‘payback’ time.
Having a ‘work plan’ is key but then having the support of parents is crucial when you are just a kid. If my parents weren’t willing to drive me EVERYWHERE and sit on hard benches by the hour to watch I could never had these opportunities either. I think I have a unique ‘teamwork’ relationship with my parents. I can’t expect my parents to give up 5 hours a night so I can train without helping them in as many ways as I can.
I was so pleased with the way the morning went with the students. I have already received several thank-you emails from the students and I hope they keep me up to date with their progress.
For me the highlight was reading through all the goal sheets when I got home. I loved all their little messages to me too and even their pictures. They were all amazing and I really hope that the students get the direction that they need to help them follow through. I loved the goals of making a new friend, trying harder in french, helping more at home and being nicer to my brother. However, one of the sheets literally brought tears to my eyes. It said “I want to stop BEING a bully”. If only that one goal is achieved, then I’ll be soooooo happy!!!!!
It was great for me to be able to go back and thank all the teachers that had supported, encouraged, inspired and taught me so well. It was amazing seeing you all again. And of course it was great to see Mrs. Ball in the office again. She put many bandaids on my knees over the years 🙂