Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Medal Stand, Copyright of Rob Woods, topendsports, used with permission as this is a noncommercial endeavor.  Thanks Rob!

Greetings All:

So it's about this time of the month of January when memorial services are held for those New Year's Resolutions.  I am not much of a resolution guy as I think they don't really work.  I do believe firmly in goal setting and focusing in on habits and the systems you employ to make your goals reality.  As I have said before, systems are really just habits that have shaved and put on a collared shirt.

One of the questions I ask myself in thinking about goal setting or new (and hopefully better) habits/systems is where to begin?  There are different schools of thought on this subject.  David Allen, author of Getting Things Done advocates getting everything down on paper.  As I recall, he advises taking a single sheet of paper and writing one thing on it.  Then, after you've swept out your mind, you go through an organization process and throw out/recycle a bunch of stuff. 

It's a great system, except that one needs to commit a LOT of time to make it work.  I tried it a few times with results similar to my stints with the Adkins Diet:  The first few hours are great.  And then, it’s back to the old to-do lists and pizza.

The challenge, at least for me, was trying to figure out everything that I need to and (more importantly) want to do.  Allen’s process is great IF you can commit the time to it.  (To learn more about him, here is the link to his website:

A few weeks back I ran across the Allen book and thumbed through a few pages.  Acknowledging that I am in no position to attempt this program again, I put the book back on the shelf.  Still, I wanted to accomplish more goal setting.  I also wanted to tie it into a sustained, regular process, dare I say it, a system. 

As I was kicking this idea around, the news was on, talking about the security issues in Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.  I made the connection (don’t ask me how, please, as these things just come to me)

Without further adieu, here is the idea:  The Medal Stand.

At the Olympics, there are medals presented for the top three finishers.  There are a variety of schools of thought on the significance of three.  For decades in America, there were the “Big 3” auto companies.  Jim Collins of the Good to Great book states, “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”  So long story short, the top three matter.  Thus, the idea for the medal stand.
So, to quote The King (a/k/a Elvis Pressley) “A little less talk and a lot more action.”  Let’s put the theory into practice.  Here’s how to take the concept of “The Medal Stand” and put it into practical application:

1.  Think about the things you want to/need to do.  You can take as long as you would like but I am a fan of limiting this to about five minutes.  This stuff is in your short-term memory, so getting the initial stuff down on paper should not be that hard.

2.  From the list, do a first cut of say the top five or six things. 

3.  Now, of this first cut, decide what is the most important thing you need/want to do. 

Example-My Upcoming Weekend.  Here’s my proposed for the medal stand:

1.  Exercise both Saturday and Sunday.  This will involve both doing two sets each day of continual sit-ups and push ups, as well as running for 2 miles as fast as I can;

2.  Cleaning up my office area.  One hour each day on this endeavor; and

3.  Read and return to the library the two books that are (ahem) overdue.

There it is, three things.  This is in addition to the various other thing that I want to do this weekend and the typical “catch-up chores” we all do during these two days.  I’ll do a follow-up post to see how I do.

Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think of this concept.  If you’d like to share what is on your medal stand, please do so.  Here’s to climbing your own medal stand.

Be well my friends,


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