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Going For Gold

With Cherryl Hanson-Simpson
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jamaicans all across the world along with numerous friends of our nation are still celebrating the incredible success of our athletes at the recently concluded 2012 London Olympics. The infectious euphoria that was demonstrated by thousands of supporters from Half Way Tree, Jamaica, to Birmingham, England, was heartwarming to observe.

While we bask in the glory of winning 12 Olympic medals, we need to retain more than just a passing sense of pride from the achievements of our sports giants. There's a lot that we can learn from their journey to the pinnacle of sporting competitions. Let's look at how we can pattern their progress as we strive to attain our own personal and financial goals.

Phase 1: Dreaming

When our current Olympians were young, I imagine that they would have looked on the popular athletes of that time and dreamed about participating in major international events like they did. They would perhaps have envisioned themselves standing on the winners' podium and receiving a medal, while the National Anthem played and the flag was raised.

Whether your desire is to be a champion at sports, to get a college degree or to start a business, the first step in the achievement process is the same. You have to create a vision of what you want in your mind before you can set out to make it happen. As Walt Disney declared, "If you can dream it, you can do it"; and having a clear picture of your goal is an essential part of your success.

Phase 2: Training

Having a dream for sporting brilliance is not enough to take an aspiring athlete to the Olympics. When we cheer on our champions in their victorious moments, most of us have absolutely no idea of how much they had to endure in strenuous training in order to be fit and ready for the big time. There is always a heavy price to pay when you are aiming for an important prize.

Similarly, if you want to make a mark in your career or create a solid financial future, there's a lot of work and preparation that will be required. To accomplish your money goals you will have to learn and practise smart financial habits such as budgeting to live within your means, avoiding the pitfalls of debt, and curtailing spending to save for longer-term objectives.

Phase 3: Competing

Olympic success is definitely not a spectator sport; you have to be a consistent player in your game to get recognised as a possible contender. Sportspersons who are serious about going for gold have to spend considerable resources travelling to compete in international meets. Persistent progress is key to getting to the desired level to play in the major leagues.

If you wish to achieve greatness in any endeavour, you have to be an active participant in that field. For the most part, your financial goals will require you to become proficient at generating income in excess of your everyday needs. You can't just hope that money will appear to buy your own home; commit your time and effort to find ways to earn extra income to make it happen.

Phase 4: Qualifying

The saying, 'many are called, but few are chosen,' could underscore the reality of some sportspersons who wish to represent their countries in the Olympics. To qualify for the international game they may have just one shot to perform at their best and claim their position on the team. The stakes and the risks can be high at this stage of their career.

If you wish to gain a senior job position or to create significant wealth, you have to become more strategic and resolute in your game. Ordinary achievement may come with regular effort, but to get to the peak you have to work harder. To qualify in the wealth stakes, you need to become proficient in investing your funds and managing money risks that may jeopardise your net worth.

Phase 5: Winning

Whether an athlete is speeding along in the 100-metre dash or participating over several days in the decathlon, endurance until the race is complete is essential. Many competitors may lead the way in an event, but may lose focus or speed upon approaching the finish line. In an instant, another athlete snatches away their expected victory at the very end.

In the game of life, there may be times when you have to keep your eyes on the competition to stay ahead. However, in the financial world, the person who presents the biggest challenge to your goal achievement is actually you. Many people have sabotaged their own success by giving up too soon, or by letting doubt and discouragement derail their desires.

While you may not have the aptitude or ambition to grace the medal podium at the Olympics, winning at your personal and financial goals is completely in your power. Unlike this international sporting event, all competitors can win their individual races if they carry out the required steps. Let's continue to be inspired to go for gold in accomplishing our dreams!

Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.financiallysmart.org and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to cherryl@financiallysmartonline.com.

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