Dan O’Brien, 1996 Olympic gold medalist and U.S. record-holder in the decathlon, said “records are made to be broken.” How true this is!
My friend and mentor Rob Gilbert told a great story on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690) recently in honor of the Olympics. The story starts with Milt Campbell, a gold medal winner in the decathlon in the 1956 Olympics. Some years ago, Milt was asked to speak in Colorado Springs at the training camp for US athletes training to compete in his event, the decathlon — the grueling 10-event competition that showcases, strength, stamina, and strategy.
Looking at the aspiring athletes sitting in front of him, Milt asked them three questions: 1) How many of you have goals? Everyone raised their hands. 2) How many of you have your goals written down? Only a few people in the audience nodded; and 3) Do you have your goals with you right now? No one did.
Daniel O’Brien was in the audience that day. After Milt spoke, Dan took an index card and wrote on it his three goals: 1) I will win a gold medal in the decathlon; 2) I will set a world record for points scored; and 3) I will walk down the street and people will say, “There goes the greatest athlete in the world.”
Well it took Dan a while to achieve his goals (one possible reason: he didn’t specify the year he wanted to win on his goal card!), but in 1996, his dream of becoming an Olympic gold medalist finally came true. Today, he still holds the record for points scored, though he thinks that may be shattered soon.
How about us? What goals are we shooting for in our writing? Let’s get two or three of them down on a card and look at them everyday. Here’s my plan: I’ve taken two cards and written the same three goals on them: one is one my desk, where I can see it while I work; and the other is going to go in my wallet, so I can have them with me wherever I go. Let’s make a commitment to ourselves and take inspiration from Milt and Dan!