We are nearing the end of the first month of 2022. How has the new year been so far? Is it going as you expected? Life has a tendency to take some pretty wild twists and turns. Just think back to two years ago today. Who knew we were about to get hit with a culture-changing pandemic? Nevertheless, if we want to progress in a certain direction, we need to think and plan ahead. Today’s quote comes from famed hockey player Wayne Gretzky, who said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
In other words, the real “secret sauce” of achieving big goals is being able to anticipate how things are likely to play out, and then being prepared to respond when they do. An ability like this typically comes with practice. For an athlete, this means hours in the gym or on the field. For everyone else, it means investing time and energy in the arena in which we wish to progress.
When we are in the trenches, day after day, we sharpen our instinct and skills for foreseeing common patterns and responding appropriately. For instance:
- We know when traffic will be at its worst and plan our route accordingly
- We recognize conditions which are likely to lead to a child’s meltdown, and we avoid them
- We learn tricks for coping when technology fails, and we always prepare backup plans
- We appreciate the impact of what we eat and drink and make healthy choices when it matters
- We become aware of how long various tasks require, and we allocate sufficient time
When we are pursuing new endeavors, we may not yet know where “the puck is going to be.” In these cases, it is wise to set aside a bit of time in advance to brainstorm what might happen. Make a list of potential pitfalls or hurdles, along with a plan for how to proceed if/when they emerge.
Today I want you to think about a goal you have and consider how it might be derailed over the course of this year. What developments might impact your progress? What resources, plans, and personal support can you put in place to help you overcome these hurdles? Being prepared helps us persevere in the face of obstacles.
Do you think a little “advance troubleshooting” might help you stay on track this year?