Zig Ziglar might be the most well known motivator and success coach of all time. Much of his coaching revolves around goal setting , and he suggests that we set goals in many different areas of our lives. Not just a single facet of our existence. Ziglar refers to this as the Wheel of Life. The wheel consists of seven spokes, each of which must receive some of our attention if we are to be well-rounded. These areas of focus are our personal goals, physical goals, family goals, mental goals, financial goals, spiritual goals, and career goals. If we neglect any of these areas of our lives, we end up with what Ziglar calls a flat tire. You might be thinking that that is all well and good for adults, but kids don’t have to worry about all of those things. While that assessment may be somewhat true – kids don’t have a career for example, I contend that young athletes definitely have many areas of their lives that need attention, and they need to commit a certain level of effort to goal setting in all of those areas in order to mature into well-rounded adults. Some areas of their lives are already fairly strong, and will not require as much effort, but young people should still have goals for improvement in those areas. The areas that young people, and especially those busy student-athletes should be setting goals in and focusing their effort in are listed in more detail below.
- Personal – What do you want other people to say about you when you’re not around?
- This defines your character. Will your classmates and teammates recognize your hard work and your willingness to put the success of the group ahead of your personal glory? Do you treat others fairly? Are you a good friend? What steps can you take to improve in these areas?
- Physical/Sports – Are you putting forth as much effort as you can?
- It’s okay if others are faster, stronger, or more talented than you, but don’t ever let them out-hustle you. You may never be the fastest kid on the team, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on getting faster than you are now. Other kids may have better ball control than you, but use that as motivation to practice and not as a limit to what you are capable of. Activity makes up so much ground in a contest that it will almost always win out over raw talent or innate ability. As long as you are putting forth effort to improve, the increased activity will eventually translate into success.
- Family – Do you treat your family members with respect?
- Take an extra minute each morning to tell your parents about your day. Let them know you appreciate the daily things they do for you. Help them set the table for dinner or clean up after the meal. Do whatever is necessary to avoid fighting with your siblings. This will improve your relationship with them as well as taking some stress off your parents’ shoulders. Something as simple as saying please and thank you can greatly improve your day. When we express gratitude for the good things in our lives, more good things will come our way.
- Mental – Is your mind right?
- The things we think about the most tend to manifest themselves in our lives. If you constantly think about your potential and what it will take to reach it, your mind will start to take the steps to make your potential into your reality. On the other hand, if you constantly tell yourself that you’re not good enough or that you don’t have what it takes to succeed, very soon you will stop trying to achieve greatness and you will settle for average. Don’t settle for average.
- Financial – Money comes from work.
- This is a good lesson in finances, but also a great metaphor for life. Good results follow hard work. Things will not be handed to you, and not everyone gets a trophy. Those who put forth the effort and delay personal gratification will eventually find prosperity and success in many areas of their lives. Certainly, pre-teens don’t have many financial concerns, but they can definitely do some chores around the house to earn a little pocket money for things like bubble gum and baseball cards. Older students will eventually want to have a car or to buy more expensive things. They also will have more opportunities to spend money, and if we don’t teach them how to earn, we will be doing them a major disservice before we turn them loose on the world after they complete their education.
- Spiritual – We live in a universe that works most efficiently when we understand our inter-connectivity.
- The most important aspect of this area of our lives is to realize that we are not on an island. We are part of a much larger puzzle. How we act, how we talk, how we think, and how we present ourselves may seem like small insignificant things, but each of those activities has impacts on those around us and the world we live in. It is vital that we disconnect ourselves from the physical world periodically in order that we can reconnect with the spiritual world. Many people do this through their religion, but for those who do not practice a particular religion, simple meditation can be a great way to reset our spirit. This practice can also have major impacts on the rest of our lives because it gives us the time and space to reflect on ways to improve the other areas of focus.
- School – For student athletes, going to school IS THEIR JOB
- Studying and making good grades is the students equivalent of going to work everyday. The hours are similar to what their parents are doing each day. Frequently it is not their favorite activity. They wish they could get out and start doing the things they WANT to do instead of what they HAVE to do, just like most adults feel regarding their job. At the same time, it is the foundation that makes so many other things in life possible. Most young athletes start playing sports with other students from their school. This allows them to learn about teamwork while working with familiar faces. Want to play high school soccer? You have to go to high school, and you have to maintain good grades to remain on the team. Interested in playing college basketball? The study habits you develop early in life will enable you to first get to the college of your choice, then provide you the time management skills necessary to achieve your dreams.
Take a little time today to think about each of these areas of your life. In what areas are you currently strong? Where could you put forth a little more effort? What will it take for you to be the best person you can be? Set some goals and get to work becoming the person we all know you can be.