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High Performance top tip: set challenging goals

May 12, 2010

Having come back down to earth from our fantastic and sometimes extremely challenging ‘experience of a lifetime’ sailing expedition to Antarctica, I found myself wondering ‘what next…..?’ ‘how do I top that?’

Many people who achieve what they once thought was their ‘ultimate’ goal have reported similar thoughts. When I was paragliding competitively, the holy grail for me was a World Record, yet when I achieved that I wasn’t satisfied….I wanted another……and another – my bar kept getting higher! The key is to ensure you are constantly reviewing and upgrading your goals, setting the bar higher each time, pushing your comfort zone.   I remember reading in one of Ellen MacArthur’s books how before she crossed the finish line of one race around the world, she was already setting herself goals for her next challenge – thus avoiding those ‘what next?’ thoughts.

Before our Antarctic experience I’d put in place clear business challenges for 2010. And, recently I’ve been following two friends on North Pole expeditions, part wishing I was doing something similar out of my comfort zone, and part enjoying the warmth and comfort of home, well within my comfort zone! However their experiences awakened my yearn for more challenges and reminded me I was a bit late in reviewing and setting my challenging goals for 2010.

I thrive on stretching my comfort zone whether that comes from sport, adventure or the challenges of working with business coaching, executive coaching and sport psychology clients. So alongside keeping focus on the business challenges, I’m now working towards other challenges including gaining accreditation in a coaching technique, speaking at a conference, a kayaking expedition and changing roles when sailing our F18 catamaran.

Remember when reviewing your goals to keep them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic or Relevant , Time based). Achievable and Realistic is where we set the challenge. We want to set the bar high enough so that it is really challenging and will require skills, practice and effort to jump clear over it but not so high it’s unrealistic and we don’t believe we can achieve it. Measurable and Time based requires we regularly review progress and reset or even change the bar!

I’d love to hear from you about your out of comfort zone challenges and goals.

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