I was in Anaheim, CA this past weekend at a Conference (that was not work-related). The keynote speaker was Bruce Jenner who is commonly referred to as the greatest male athelete in the world because he holds the world record in the men's decathlon event. He won the event in 1976, which is where he set the record. That was 32 years ago, and the record still stands. Many of us are either way too young to remember that, or even not even around at that time. So, it was fun to hear the account of the events straight from him.
His main message was no different than what many of us have heard before, but it was still quite inspiring. The message was basically that you can be/do/become anything you want if you just decide on it. He actually raced at the Olympics 4 years before he won. He made the American team by the skin of his teeth, then placed 10th in the Decathlon at the Olympics in 1972 at the age of 22. The day of the race that year, he was so moved by the medal ceremony that it caused him to wonder what he could do if he practiced every day for the next 4 years. He knew what he wanted, then he decided he would and could get it. So, for 4 years, he was focused. But, one thing he said caught my attention. He said he determined a slogan that encompassed a few smaller goals. The decathlon is a series of 10 events. Yes, that means he had to win 10 events. Ten. TEN! The events are all given point values, and the overall winner is the person who has the most points at the end. The Gold Medalist in 1972 (the one by whom he had been so inspired) got just over 8400 points. So, his slogan while he was practicing and focused on becoming the Gold Medalist in 1976 was "85 in '75 and 86 in '76". His goal was to acheive 8500 points in 1975, and 8600 points in 1976 at the Olympics. His story was long and detailed. We all sat on the edge of our seats to hear a story that took place over 30 years ago. But, to make a long story short, he experienced setbacks, he lost races, and he flopped at times. But, that did not stop him from maintaining focus. He did get to his "85 in '75", and at the Olympics, he scored 8634, and was the first athelete ever to score over 8600 points in the event.
How does this story apply to you? You tell me. Do you have a dream? Does it seem impossible? Are you where you want to be? If not, could you get there? What would it take? I'm guessing that becoming a Decathlon champion is not your dream. I'm guessing that your dream might not even be as difficult to acheive. My advice? Start small. Have success, then go bigger!