“I Am The Greatest” – Goal Setting Lessons From a Legend


As a coach, I encourage my clients to write out their goals “as if.” By that I mean, write the goals as if they are true today. Don’t talk about “I hope to… ” or “I want to… ” or “Maybe, if I someday have the courage, I might… ” Those are NOT goals. Those are dreams… and very weak dreams at that!

Take a lesson from a legend. Dubbed “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated, world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is still one of the most recognized personalities in the world. His personality and natural magnetism made him the champion he is. His famous tag lie “I am the greatest!” is legendary. When he set out to win not one, but three world heavyweight championships, he didn’t say “Someday, I hope to maybe be the best.” He stated emphatically “I am the greatest!” He saw himself as the greatest athlete in the world, the greatest boxer to enter the ring, and he performed up to that vision.

Vision is a powerful thing. Your mind is powerful, too, so you have to be extra careful in the care and feeding of your mind. Don’t give your mind negative thoughts or wishy-washy goals. If you do, you’ll get negative or wishy-washy results (remember “garbage in-garbage out”).

Don’t say “I hope to someday… ” because your mind can’t grasp the meaning of “someday”. Someday is intangible; your mind can’t do anything with intangibles. Give it something to work with. By feeding your mind positive, concrete goals, you will create the vision and your mind will act “as if” and move in a way that brings about that vision. Henry Ford said it best: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” Be positive, think positively, and achieve positive outcomes.

Whenever you set goals, follow these steps:

1. Write your goals following the SMART Goal guidelines:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timely/Time-based

2. State your goals in present-tense.

  1. I am a writer.
  2. I am a pilot.
  3. I am a svelte 175 pounds (hey… for me, that’s svelte).

3. State your goals as positives.

  1. Rather than “I will lose 10 pounds” rephrase as positive: “I am a svelte 175 pounds.”
  2. Rather than “I will quit smoking” rephrase as positive: “I am a non-smoker.”
  3. Rather than “I don’t want to be alone” rephrase as positive: “I am whole; I am all I need.”

When you give your mind positive goals, written as if they are true and tangible today, your mind will respond in kind. Your mind will move in the direction of that vision. Your mind will see and present opportunities that might otherwise be obscured by negatives and intangibles. Think positively, live positively, and you will achieve your goals.

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