I found that spelling out my goals in my mind and writing them down in my notebook helped me work toward these goals every day by taking the smaller steps that prepared me for the big game.
When pollsters from the Pew Research Center asked young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five about their dreams for the future, 81 percent said they wanted to be rich and famous. Other life goals fared less well. Only 30 percent of members of Generation Y said “helping others” was an important life goal. There were even fewer who wanted to be community leaders (22 percent) or become more spiritual (10 percent).
How many of these young people are going to reach their goals of wealth and fame? I bet it will be less than 81 percent! That’s because there’s a huge difference between dreaming and doing. Many people may dream of being rich and famous, but how are they actually going to make those dreams come true? “How?” questions are very important. After all, it is easy to dream big, but what’s the game plan for making these dreams real? Here’s how I answer that question:
Discipline is the bridge between dreams and reality. Between goals and achievement.
Some people seem to achieve more of their goals than other people do. Is this because these people are special? Because they are different from everyone else? Because they were given an extra ounce of success juice at birth? I have spent much of my life around successful people, so I can let you in on a secret. Their success was not given to them. They earned it through hard work.
There’s a huge difference between dreaming.
“My grandfather did not just believe in me and
just inspire me to dream big, he actually chased those dreams with me.
He gave me the inner belief that I was created to be successful.
To not only do it the right way, but do it the right way in every circumstance,
every time, every day of my life.” Jason Witten
Here’s something else I learned and wrote in my notebook:
Willpower is like a muscle.
You can strengthen it over time.
Every off-season year I asked myself, “How am I going
to improve from last year?”
I didn’t search high and low for the new fad training technique or nutritional supplement. I looked at my regimen and identified areas where I could become more disciplined. Can I train harder? Can I take better care of my body? I looked at everything I was already doing before I asked for anyone else’s opinion. You have to be brutally honest with yourself if you want to get better. I have had many dreams for my own life. Some never happened. But some of my dreams have come true far beyond my wildest expectations. Everyone has dreams, but do you want your dreams to come true? Then get to work on making them happen with discipline and willpower.
MATT BIRK is a champion on and off the field. He is a Harvard graduate, and an unlikely football success story. Matt worked hard, made good choices and was guided by his conviction to become the best. As an All-Pro football center, Super Bowl Champion and NFL Man of the Year, Matt played more than 200 NFL games, inspiring players, coaches, and fans through his powerful example of making choices that lead to a great life. He and his wife, Adrianna, are the parents of six beautiful children under the age of eleven, and reside in Naples, Florida.
RICH CHAPMAN and Matt came together as next-door neighbors in Minnesota. An influential business and community leader, Rich brings more than twenty years of success in mobilizing, equipping, mentoring and energizing organizational leaders. An NCAA All-American in his own right, Rich has grown companies, taken one public, and inspired many through his unique ability to engage others in creating their own success. Rich, his wife, Jayme, and their four children are from St. Paul, Minnesota.