Monday, October 21, 2013

Becoming a Professional MVP: The Bootleg Run

By: Patrick Gallagher
Shhhhh! Don’t you dare say a word about it – just keep your head up, your mind sharp and your mouth shut if you want to achieve it.

As you may or may not have noticed by now, the bi-weekly posts included in our “Becoming a Professional MVP” column highlights professional development advice using sports moments as the parallel. For me personally, I can remember my father using sports as a crutch to teach me life lessons so that I could more easily relate to the message he was trying to have me understand. And so now, as a way for me to pay it forward, I’m excited to continually share with you various tips (via sports) that aim to help you launch a successful career. This week however, we will actually shift just a bit from professional development to personal development and learn how ‘the bootleg run’ is analogous to keeping your mouth shut when it comes to your meeting your personal goals and objectives.

Take a moment to think about one of your biggest personal goals. Seriously, think in detail of what it is you want to accomplish: run a marathon, lose seven pounds, learn to play the guitar? Now envision yourself telling people – your friends, family, co-workers, etc. – about that goal. Think about their reaction to your aspirations and imagine all the congratulatory remarks and high praise that will be coming your way after telling these people about what you hope to accomplish. “That’s incredible!” “I can’t believe you are going to run a marathon…so exciting!” These comments feel great, right?

It’s almost as if you are one step closer to your goal already just by sharing this with people. Here’s the bad news – some experts believe you should have kept your mouth shut and kept it to yourself. Reason is because that good feeling will actually make you less likely to do it. Derek Sivers, best known as the founder of CD Baby, explains to us through research that “repeated psychology tests have proven that telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen.” He further explains that if you tell someone your goal and they acknowledge it, psychologists have found that our mind tricks us into feeling it is already done. In fact, a study was done with 160+ people where each individual wrote down their personal goal – half of them talked to people about it and half of them kept their mouth shut. When each person in the study was given the same specific amount of time to take initial steps toward achieving that goal, the half that talked to people about their goal stopped well before the timeframe provided stating they felt well on their way to accomplishing that goal. As for the people that kept their mouth shut, their response after the timeframe ended was that they still had a long way to go before they would reach their goal.

But that can’t be right – we have been told by many that sharing our goals with people makes us more accountable to meeting that milestone. Conventional wisdom supports the notion of telling the world to be the best action step; but then we have these studies that prove silence might be more appropriate – so how do we decide what works best for us individually?

Think of sharing your goals in the same way a quarterback wants to make the most of the play-action fake for a bootleg run. It’s up to you how much or how little you want to share with the ten other guys in the huddle before taking the snap. Sometimes is makes the most sense to let everyone in on the secret to create that sense of accountability for not only yourself but for your teammates (friends, family, etc.) as well. You need them to block (or in our case ‘support’) you to reach that objective; whether it be a first down (i.e. lose seven pounds) or a touchdown (i.e. learn to play guitar). And yet, sometimes it makes the most sense to not let anyone know anything about what you hope to achieve. To visualize this approach, we’ve included a clip at the bottom portion of this posting showing Peyton Manning in week 5 of the 2013 NFL season. On 3rd and Goal with :52 seconds left in the 1st half, Manning hiked the ball, showed the play-action fake and ran a bootleg in the direction of the endzone; scoring a touchdown and celebrating what he had set out to accomplish. He didn’t tell anyone what his plan was and it proved to be the best decision for him and the team.

In short, it is up to each of you individually to figure out how you are going to run the bootleg. Just remember one thing, “discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” -Jim Rohn


Patrick Gallagher Patrick is a MS, Sport Management candidate at Drexel University set to graduate in Summer 2014. He is the Business and Operations Graduate Assistant for Drexel Athletics and is responsible for supporting the Administration and Operations staff of Drexel's Athletic Cabinet this year. Gallagher graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, majoring in marketing and management, in May 2006 from Villanova University. During his enrollment, he was named Captain of the men's varsity soccer team and was appointed President of SAAC. He is looking to use his professional experience as a media sales consultant in New York, coupled with his passion for sports, to pursue a successful career in athletic administration.
You can connect with Patrick Gallagher on LinkedIn.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! I could not agree more. This is often overlooked in the discussion of setting and achieving goals.