A number of my colleagues have recently reflected on the change curve in their blogs: the four rooms through which we move and the journey we take to reach a desired destination (the ‘room of commitment’, as we call it). I too want to use my week in the blog ‘hot seat’ to share a personal journey on a similar theme and highlight the value of realistic goal-setting.
I have always loved tennis, and have admired many great players over the years, most recently the likes of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. I mention Rafa particularly, because a tactical change he was advised to make as a young boy was somewhat enforced on me in my 40’s in order to play the game I love.
I am right handed and between the ages of 17 and 19 I broke the scaphoid in my right hand in 2 separate accidents. This tiny bone never properly healed resulting in me having to accept that ‘I have a weak right hand’. Playing tennis became too painful by the time I reached my mid 20s so I came up with a brilliant way to solve this problem……. I quit.
By my late -30s I was married and with the subsequent arrival of two sons, both of whom developed a passion for racket sports, I had a choice to make:
1. Play tennis with your kids
2. Just watch your kids play tennis
It was a ‘no brainer’ and this created a compelling goal for me to learn to play tennis left handed. Rafa did it by choice and brilliantly well, so I knew it was realistic.
I started using kids’ rackets, with the aim of just getting the ball over the net. I progressed to wanting to keep the ball in play for the benefit of my kids, and, as they grew, so did the size of the rackets I used. Then we started scoring. I acknowledge that my sons and I are a little competitive, and as they were improving naturally, I invested in some lessons to help me play with my unnatural hand.
My endeavours to serve left handed were comical at best, so a coach advised me to heavily strap my right hand to serve and then switch to playing left handed for the ensuing rally. I did this for a couple of years but with continued deterioration of my right hand, the pain was too great. However, the drive to fulfil my goal was still very strong so I worked with another coach to focus solely on being able to serve left handed.
I now play regularly at a local club and, while I’m not likely to win any tournaments soon, my enthusiasm for the game is unrivalled. I play tennis left handed, and I am continually flattered that many club members with whom I play are unaware of my journey.
At Curium we pride ourselves on simplifying change for our customers so that the journey is painless and rewarding, resulting in long term sustainable benefits. Setting compelling goals with realistic milestones is often integral to this. While I can’t claim that my journey was painless (albeit self-inflicted), it demonstrates that having compelling personal goals with attainable milestones are key to achieving a desired outcome: commitment.