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You Can Learn A Lot From A 4th Grader

The power of the pen can help you reach your "Super" goals, just like it did for this 4th-grader

You’ve probably heard of the power of the pen. Writing down your goals is a step towards making them a reality. Perhaps on Superbowl Sunday, we all witnessed a stunning example of that power as we cheered on Colin Kaepernick making only his 11th NFL start as the Quarterback for the SF 49‘ers.

I’m a casual NFL fan. My household is decidedly a Giants one, but I’m a bigger fan of college football (more on that in a later post). During the Superbowl Pre-game show, I first learned of the letter Colin Kaepernick wrote his future self in 4th grade for a time-capsule project, which was to be opened 8 years later.  To paraphrase, he wrote that he wanted to play for a good football college and play for the 49‘ers or Packers ‘even if they aren’t good in 7 years’ .

http://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/USATODAY/gameon/2012/12/17/colinletter-4_3_r541_c540.jpg?729ef1a5e3c69f5da0197e57e2bd3dd3fdfcd35f

Now, it would be easy to argue that many, many 4th grade boys have a dream of being a professional football player. And maybe you’re thinking, “So what, a kid wrote a letter about a common dream, what’s so special about this one”?  

It’s the simplicity and how he approached it.  It was straightforward, it was honest, it was specific, and he was committed to it. (I should probably throw in some kudos to the teacher here too for a great assignment!) 

Back to the letter... Simply put, he thought it out. It’s a short letter (or at least the football part was), but  in it Kaepernick includes an honest assessment of his current situation. He adds a good guess at where he thinks he’ll be up size-wise. He’s specific about the outcome he’s visualizing of going to a good college for football as well as where he’d like to wind up professionally.  He’s committed to his own success. 

Of course there’s a lot that’s we don’t see in this letter. The athletic aptitude he must naturally possess. The discipline. The physical conditioning. The endless training. The team dynamics. The sacrifices. The mid-course adjustments. The successes. 

So why did I bother to write this post? Because I thought this was a great example of how simple taking steps towards your dream can be. Try it yourself. Writing a letter to yourself probably won't make achieving your goal easy, but it will help make it real. Try one sentence for each point. 

If you get stuck, or want to go deeper, know that coaches help clients articulate their goals, identify and overcome obstacles and achieve success. My specialty is Leadership, but there are coaches with niches from addiction to spirituality to career changes to wellness. Any success in self improvement is about making adjustments in your life to realize the goals you want to achieve. There are many tools in a coaches toolbox- letters and visualization are just a few. 

Try it. Write a letter to yourself about one goal you have and see what happens. 

Maybe you live your dream and 100 million people will wind up cheering you on! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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