Michael Johnson is a retired U.S. track athlete. He is the winner of four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship gold medals in the 200 and 400 Meter races. Johnson had a strategy for running the 400 Meter that he called the 4 P’s. The 4 P’s are Push, Pace, Position, and Pray. With a big goal in mind – win the 400 Meter race – Johnson’s strategy broke the race into four 100 meter races each with its own definition of success, that when achieved brought Johnson one step closer to his goal:
Push – Run the first 100 meters near top speed to set tone for the race.
Pace – Keep a good speed – under your maximum – for the next 100 meters.
Position – Press the next 100 meters so you come around the first at the last turn.
Pray – Give all you’ve got left for the last 100 meters, arms pumping and run strong for the win.
This strategy worked for Michael Johnson in track, and it can work for you in anything you want to accomplish. Here’s how I think about this strategy with the big goals I have for my life:
First, break the big goals down into little goals where success can be measured in the short-term.
Next get going – fast – on the first step and rack up quick wins for motivation.
Then, with success on the first little goal, tackle the next little goal, then the next…in the same fashion until the big goal is achieved.
I know this sounds too simple. But you’d be amazed at how often I see people give up on their big goals because the payoff is just too far away to keep up the motivation.
Here’s a real-life example on how this worked for me:
Several years ago, I had a big goal to publish a book on leadership to guide emerging leaders. Here are the small goals I used to achieve that big goal with my book The Leadership GPS.
- -Read books on leadership for information and style
- -Research historical leaders to document repeatable patterns
- -Attend conferences with selected authors to gain connections
- -Combine research with chosen book style and write manuscript
- -Talk with author connections for advice on publishing
- -Publish The Leadership GPS and see it become an Amazon Best Seller
Before I wrote the manuscript to my book, I talked with John Maxwell and he gave me advice on what to do first if you want to be an author: The very definition of being an author requires you have written something. Simple, but powerful lesson. If I wanted to publish a book I needed to write a book. And if I wanted to write a book I needed to start with one word on one page and continue from there.
If you want to achieve big goals you have to know what to do first.