Have you ever sold yourself short? I have, and it stings.
It was early in high school when my coaches were quick to identify young Chase Jarvis as a high-performing athlete with potential to play sports at a high level. As a result of this label – and in an effort to maximize my potential – I was introduced to a sports psychologist who specialized in a cutting-edge practice called “visualization,” whereby athletes were taught to augment their physical training with training their mind to visualize desired outcomes. Keep in mind this was the late 80’s and this was a new field that was quickly integrating across professional and Olympic sports. I was certainly lucky to be exposed to in person sessions and books on the topic – all of which I dutifully devoured.
Visualization became a habit for me, and in leading up to my senior soccer season, I began to visualize exactly the number of points I’d score, which would, in turn, lead me to an athletic scholarship at the college of my choosing. To my surprise – what I visualized came true. EXACTLY TRUE, to the precise number.
“WTF, it worked?!” I remember thinking. Which was immediately followed by a terrible sting of regret. Why had I set a goal that was – on reflection – so low. So typical. So REASONABLE?! You see, I was playing it safe. What’s a solid goal, but not too big?… To this day, i really have a problem with playing it safe. Such a mentality too easily blends in and fades away so as not to be a goal at all. Hell, let’s be real: safety is an illusion at best.
So the punchline of my story is this: if you play it safe, you’ll get the mediocre results you deserve.
Now, I can’t say that this experience has transformed ALL of my results. I still fail plenty. But it HAS helped me understand all too clearly that I am my limiting reagent across every equation in life.
So this week, I want you to ask yourself a series of questions that I hope will help you reflect on your own goals and dreams.
- What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
- What if you set a goal and achieved only 80% of it? Could you be satisfied with that result and would you ratchet up that original goal?
- What would have to change (Your psychology? Your self-discipline? Your self belief?) to set a few dream targets for this one precious life?
- What can you do TODAY to create a series of habits such that if you HAD those habits, you couldn’t possibly fail?
The truth is that today is the riskiest time in human history to play it safe. Don’t be the thing standing in your own way.