Why Focusing on Hurdles is Good

All the positive thinking and goal setting experts will say that title sounds like an Oxymoron.

It does if you give the word “hurdles” it’s usual everyday meaning.

But it makes very good sense if you are a “hurdler” – an athlete who competes in races over hurdles.Focus on hurdles


Read on.

On a recent coaching call, I was asked to suggest a system that would help us focus on the next step in a process that involved many steps to achieve the goal.

Focus on the next stepThe person who asked had a clear vision of where she wanted to be. Her goal was S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable,Realistic and a Time limit), however a number of clearly identifiable mini-steps or milestones were obvious.

So her problem was how to focus on the next most important step and not let her focus get diverted by the steps further down the track that did not yet need attention.

Track is the keyword here.

I suggested she look at the main goal as the finish line of a hurdle track, or for horse enthusiasts, the finish of a cross-country steeplechase or show jumping course.

Here is the comparison, – not that I have ever hurdled (too clumsy and slow) but I have jumped horses in both cross-country and arena events.

When a hurdler is approaching the first hurdle, he must focus 100% on clearing that hurdle. The remaining hurdles at that instant, are totally irrelevant, even allowing  his focus to be shifted towards them by a fraction could create disaster.

The consequences of allowing her focus to shift to a later jump on the course could be painful and disastrous for a cross-country or show jumping rider. Not only is she required to focus 100% herself, but also to ensure that her 1200 lb horse focuses on the task at hand as well.Focus on goals

Taking the horse analogy further, horses are extremely sensitive to their riders physical and emotional state. Most good riders will have seen or experienced situations where horses that were quite capable of clearing a jump, refuse, avoid the jump or knock it over.

Frequently, the cause of this is the rider losing his focus on clearing that jump or worse, starting to believe that the horse would not do it or stop.

GoalsAs with goals in life, less than 100% focus, distraction, lack of commitment and doubt in our abilities are guaranteed to make our goals that much more difficult to achieve.

So while the vision or the big picture is important and is what motivates us, to get there, we have to climb the first step or reach the first milestone on the journey. We cannot afford to worry about step number 10 until we have overcome that first hurdle.

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Peter Wright

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  2 comments for “Why Focusing on Hurdles is Good

  1. July 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I agree with you about after we get over the first hurdle the other ones just come easier and easier to get over.

    Great post

    • admin
      July 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks for your comment Josten, glad you enjoyed it.

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