Take your best shot

A newspaper headline recently read, “Judy Allen is a modern day Annie Oakley who has attained world supremacy in the sport of skeet shooting.”

The article went on to list her amazing accomplishments of four world records, including the youngest person to break 100 clay pigeons with a 20 gauge shotgun.

The following line in the text caused me to experience a brief loss of consciousness, and the words are etched in my memory: “When Judy has a gun in her hand, she is a woman to be reckoned with!”

The reason for my emotional response is that Judy is my mother-in-law! Learning that my mother-in-law has mastered the ability to hit a fast-moving target, and acknowledging my slow time in the 100-yard dash, struck terror in my heart.

Since Judy has reached the pinnacle of success in her field, I asked my favorite mother-in-law the principles she used to achieve greatness. No matter what your desire, I believe embracing these ideas she shared with me will increase your current level of performance.

Be Ready When You Call For Your Target

Benjamin Disraeli said, “The secret of success in life is to be prepared for opportunity when it comes.”

Judy told me that mental and physical preparation allowed her to maintain a consistent high level of performance during the pressure of competition. To be ready for your target, Judy suggests that one develop purpose, be persistent and maintain patience.

When we establish our purpose, it eliminates distractions and provides a clear focus on the most significant activities needed for success. Linking your purpose to persistence enables us to stay positive and overcome inevitable obstacles.

We live in a world where nearly everything is available with a click of a mouse. Therefore, patience may seem counterintuitive. Impatience is one reason we often fall short of our potential. When we set an ambitious goal and fail to see instant progress, we often quit and set another goal. As a consequence, we may jump from one goal to another without seeing any results.

Failure Follows Those Who Fail To Follow Through

I was surprised to learn that if you aim and pull the trigger, but fail to keep the gun in motion, you will often miss your target. Life is often like that. Without deliberate follow through on our commitments, we often fail to reach our personal best.

Once we have “pulled the trigger” on a task, it is quite likely that our job is not yet complete.

High achievers never underestimate the importance of follow-through by returning phone calls, monitoring progress and meeting deadlines. Their follow-through begins with the will and commitment to carry an action through to its ultimate completion. Once we hit the target in our life, it is essential to have a detailed plan of what follow through looks like and what resources are necessary to succeed.

Practice When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

We all go through phases where we feel unmotivated to practice. It may be because we’ve stopped seeing immediate improvement, or because we’ve become distracted.

Hall of Fame tennis player Arthur Ashe heard a fan say, “I would give everything I have to play like you.” Arthur replied, “I did give everything to play like that.”

Peak performers are perpetual students who always look for ways to improve. They understand that success can breed success. However, it can also cause complacency and indifference. In our fast-paced world, extraordinary can become ordinary in a relatively short time. To ensure excellence, commit to continuous improvement regardless of your feelings or circumstances.

No matter who you are or what you do, I believe that implementing these ideas will give you the best shot at success. By the way, if you hear a good mother-in-law joke, I am not interested in hearing it!

share this article