What does ‘Realistic’ mean?

Through my work in facilitating the OTM Plan for Personal Success® Program, which has now been provided to over 5,500 people in various formats, I am constantly asked, “Is this goal that I have written down realistic?”.

I reply by helping the person to understand that there is really only one person who could possibly know the answer to that question, and that is them. In addition, it may be a question that does not have an initial “Yes it is” or “No it’s not” response.

Often the only way to find out if something is realistic or not is to go and try to achieve it.

Our mindset plays a huge role in self determining what is realistic and our mindset regarding ‘reality’ is forged at a young age.

What’s your definition of ‘Realistic’?

Recently my 10 year old daughter had a wonderful life experience about taking a chance and doing some hard work to discover  what ‘realistic’ meant for her.

When the school year began in January this year, Sienna was commencing Year 4. In 2011 as a Year 3 student she had participated in her school aerobics team and had attended the inter school championships in her school’s third ranked team. Her primary school’s first ranked team, which consisted of girls from Years 5 and 6 ended up becoming National Champions, which was a terrific result for them. My daughter’s team were State finalists but that is where their journey ended.

Sienna said that she wanted to be in the “First ranked team this year”, but believed that it was “Impossible” because she was only in year 4 and hadn’t even been in the second ranked team last year.

I said, “If you could have what you really wanted, which team would you like to be in this year?”

She replied, “The first ranked team… But it’s impossible for me to get in.”

“When are the trials?”, I asked.

“Late March.” was Sienna’s reply.

“So, you have about six weeks between now and the trial.” I stated.

“Yes. But it’s still impossible.” Sienna re-stated.

“Okay, just go with me for a moment please. Let’s pretend that it is possible for you to make the first ranked team.What would you need to do to give yourself every chance of making the first ranked team?”

“Well, I suppose that I would need to train every day.” Sienna suggested.

“Okay, what else?”

“Maybe I could ask my teachers what they think I should focus on when I’m training so that I’m doing the right things?”

“That sounds pretty smart.” I affirmed.

“Now, you’ve said that this year you want to be in the first ranked team. You’ve also come up with a couple a smart things that you could do to give yourself every chance to make that team. What if you go and do the two things that you have suggested. Do you think that you might have some chance of making the team?” I asked.

“Well, yes.”, was Sienna’s response.

To her credit Sienna did the practice and she asked her teachers what she should focus on.

In March she made the team, along with two other Year 4 girls. They went on to win their Regional Final. They then became State Champions and last weekend won a National Silver Medal.

So between January to August Sienna went from believing that it was impossible to get into her school’s first ranked team, to becoming a National Silver Medalist.

What a wonderful lesson to learn!

If you are clear about what you want, work out what needs to be done to create what you want, then go out and do it, it is amazing what can then become possible.

The lessons in this story are just as applicable to adults as they are to children.

What are your examples of creating your own definition of ‘realistic’?

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at http://garyryans.com

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