Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Kicker's Dynamic Path to Success

Hero or goat?

We all wish to be a success. We all seek wealth, and let's face it, a bit of fame wouldn't hurt our egos either. So many look at achieving their dreams as a straight line between A and B. I'm here to tell you that you've seriously doing jeopardy to your future if you do. Were we to "laser beam" all our time and energy toward that one solitary goal, I suspect most of us would peter out long before we could ever obtain it.


Because life just doesn't work that way. I'm here to help you understand that it's OK to wander a bit, and maybe important that you do so. Mind you, it's important to have goals. It's important to work diligently toward something that's important, fulfilling and rewarding. "Life is in the journey, not the destination," they tell us - but we'd like to see the destination every once in awhile. Right?

You've undoubtedly zig-zagged on your own path and are seeking answers to an amorphous "something better" - but to bolster your efforts, and to spark a new idea on where your destination lies, consider this true story:

The Curious Case of Jan Stenerud...

I met Jan many years ago (you remember Jan, the NFL Hall of Fame kicker for the Chiefs, Packers and Vikings) and had the pleasure of discussing his curious road to fame and fortune. As a boy, Jan's dream was to be an Olympic ski jumper. In Norway, doesn't everyone? :-) His older brother happened to be a goalie on the junior national soccer team. Who do you think kicked all of the balls at the goalie? You can almost hear his brother chastizing the young Jan for kicking them to easily at him, "C'mon, place it in the corner, make me work!"

Jan did indeed become proficient at the crazy sport of ski jumping and came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Montana State. One day in the summer, for fun, he started kicking footballs through the uprights from mid-field. First to the left, then to the right. The coach saw him and was flabbergasted by his unusual technique (no one kicked soccer style then) and how far the ball was travelling. He subsequently invited him out for football. The rest, as they say, is history.  But what Jan didn't know at the time, was that the training he had done to become an Olympic ski jumper and a helper to his older brother in soccer was absolutely "perfect" training to become a professional kicker.

Think about it: kick after kick after kick, trying to place the ball exactly where you wanted it gave him tremendous control with kicking a ball. Any ball. And ski jumping? Can you think of a sport that requires more concentration (one has to hit a very precise spot on the take off otherwise you basically crash and die)? Kickers get nervous about a big kick - for Jan - after jumping off a 90 meter jump, how hard could it be?

Reassess your own path.

I suspect you might find a curious divergence in your own career path should you look deep enough. What are the skills you possess? Where does your interest lie... but what other professions, skills or traits are admired within your realm of expertise? Believe me, each one of us has expertise in something - often - like Jan, in a number of things. Take a little time out to wander down that path, you might just find that, like Jan, a "star is born."

This Dynamic Path is truly important for us to understand. It allows you a little freedom to smell the flowers along your route, and even argues that if you don't, you may indeed, be missing out on something quite important for your own success and happiness.

Follow JacksonSpencer on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Big Ideas Group, and for you who wish to follow a true kicking guru - I can be found via the National Kicking League, too.

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