Saturday, November 15, 2014

Overcoming Obstacles: Grappling with Autism

By Gary Kinzer
Guest Contributor
Grottoes, VA

The first time I met him, his mom did the talking. She explained about his past, the bullying, the torture. She explained that he had Asperger’s Syndrome [autism spectrum disorder], something I hadn't heard of, and that he didn't like touching, or talking, or getting close to anyone; but he was strong, aggressive, and wanted to fit in. Steven never really did fit in though. He had an attitude that set him apart. He sat alone on the wrestling mat tube while we talked. It was the last time he was alone in that room.
The minute I stepped in the house, I rushed to the computer. Googling ensued. I found out everything I needed to know about the condition, his temper, his isolation. This kid needed wrestling. He needed to be out of his comfort zone. He needed me. I didn't realize how much I needed him.
I was the Junior High wrestling coach in the same halls I walked as a kid. This was my second year with the title after taking a year off for work. That’s something that I have always struggled with. There were few places that would hire me on the strict schedule I had. I stressed to my kids that they needed to finish one dream before moving on to another, and that I was the perfect example of what they shouldn’t do. I wanted to be a teacher, but I began coaching before that came true.  A steady stream of classes is coming. I’ll get that degree, I swear.
The first few days with Steven were rough. He’d get beaten soundly by the rest of the team. The team was full of kids that had wrestled before, including the one he shared his weight class with.
He wasn’t picking up the moves quickly. His heartbreak was shattering me. He was not the starter. His limited time on the mat was evident.
Finally, he opened up to me. He didn’t want to get close to anyone, but he was stuck with me for two hours a day. Eventually, I learned his life story. I learned about his family. I learned that he did everything he could for his mom, the only parent he had in his life. The more we talked, the closer we became. Steven could get close to someone. Steven chose me.
As the seventh grade season ended, Steven had three wins. Our team had a lot of victories that year, but I remember those three distinctly. There were plenty wrestlers that did great, and I got close to each of them too. They didn’t need me though, any wrestling coach would do. Steven needed me. I needed him too.
That summer I held open mats, a room where wrestling ran free. It was open to anyone from anywhere. We had visitors, but there was only one constant. Steven.
He didn’t have excuses. He told me he wanted to win. Every week, he’d jog there. Every week he jogged home.
I couldn’t teach him moves in the summer. That wasn’t why we were there. I gave him a place to work out. I gave him a place to ease his frustrations. I gave him a place where he could shed the shell he hid in. He gave me everything he had.
I’m not one of those coaches that ask for the impossible. 110% does not cross my lips. I’m a realist, but I have high expectations. Success comes from putting time in, and time was all Steven had. I broke him every day physically. He broke me down right back. He’d tell me how life was going. He’d tell me about his enormous goals. He’d tell me he loved me, and I would do the same. Then he’d bruise me, or bloody my nose. He kept coming. I couldn’t stop Steven from getting better if I tried. He simply worked too hard.
Eighth grade rolled around, and the team was shaping up. The youth had diminished and Steven was a man. His teammates became men too, but I hadn’t seen them grow, not like Steven. Every Wednesday, I saw him, every Wednesday he grew.
He found a spot on the starting line-up. He opened up to the other kids. He constantly tried to prove that he was a wrestler, and that he could outwork anyone in the room. He did.
There were other kids on the team that were given athletic gifts. They worked hard and became great. Steven wasn’t given anything. He worked for everything he had. Wednesday nights were over, the real test was about to emerge.
Steven started winning.
I never saw him wrestle a pretty match, but the wins started piling up. His eyes gazed at the medals he won, validation for giving up his summer Wednesdays. He didn’t have a lot of moves, but what he did have was working. In close matches, he didn’t win with technique. He won with heart. He won because he did things to get better when no one was watching. He won those winter matches in July.
When the season ended, he had thirty-three wins.
In Ohio, there is a goal for every Junior High wrestler. The OAC Junior High State Tournament is the test. There are no divisions. There is just one champion in each weight class. Steven wanted to taste it. Taste it, he did.
Steven went from three wins to thirty-three, and he can forever say that he was an OAC Junior High state qualifier.
I often get messages from my old wrestlers, but no one talks to me more than him. He validated his work on the mat. He validates mine with his words.
Good Luck on the upcoming season. I love ya, kid.


Friday, October 31, 2014

The Eye of the Ninja: Andy Hrovat and Jake Herbert

By Daniel Kelly

                The sport of wrestling is experiencing a period of rebirth.  Technology has dramatically impacted the sport over the past five years.  Companies like Flo have raised the bar for coverage of events and wrestling news.  Companies like Track Wrestling have changed the way people manage tournaments and results.  Companies like Flips Wrestling have contributed to physical technology adaptations that tap into a new market segment within the wrestling demographic.  There are a slew of other companies and organizations popping up in the wrestling world, and this contributes to an always-evolving landscape, which is exciting for wrestling fanatics everywhere.
                Other sports are far ahead of wrestling when it comes to market penetration and development.  Football, baseball, and basketball have been on the technology business train for decades, and these sports seamlessly made transitions into the internet markets years ago.  Wrestling has been slower to adapt to the paradigm shift.  People are quick to respond by saying “oh, well wrestling as a sport does not have the funding that other sports have.”  Granted, this is absolutely true.  Less following equates to less revenue generation, which diminishes the odds with regard to future opportunity in creating revenue.  I am employed in the technology sector, and in my professional opinion wrestling has lacked the level of innovation needed to create more competition.  Aggregate market growth is a byproduct of competition.  Many times we see people are disappointed if someone in the wrestling community profits personally from the sport.  What’s the problem with that?  I wish we could all walk around telling stories of all the people who became rich off of wrestling.  I bet you all laugh as you read this just thinking of the notion.  If more wrestling businesses thrive, the sport becomes stronger.  Capital creates the opportunity for sustainable and exponential growth through developing additional products, services, and more importantly processes.  A well-oiled machine is what wrestling needs.   So I ask you all who read this:  How long will we keep making excuses for the reasons our sport is not growing?  How long will we keep stating what the problems are instead of finding the solutions?
What happens when you put a wolverine and a wildcat together?  Well, the answer is unclear, but I can tell you that Andy Hrovat and Jake Herbert are two individuals who are changing the game.  They are thinking outside the box.  The beauty of their mission is that they want the same thing as every person who has ever stepped foot on the mat:  to grow wrestling.  The bottom line; however, is that the sport of wrestling needs more people like them.  What they have done is they have developed a process.  It all comes down to communication and processes to achieve success in most things in life:  athletics, business, and personal relationships.  If communication and processes are performed effectively there will be success.  If they are not performed effectively there will be failure.
The intriguing thing about Andy and Jake’s system for training wrestlers is they are not trying to merely create better wrestlers at a younger age.  They are trying to create better athletes.  They want to create the perception that wrestlers are better football players, better baseball players, or better athletes in whatever other sports they partake in.  They are trying to create the next generation of champions, on and off the mat.  Andy and Jake shared some time with me to provide me with deeper insight into their vision and the things they are doing to grow wrestling.

Andy Hrovat began telling me about unique ways that the Base Wrestling system will help kids develop.  “We have developed a points system that rewards kids for attending wrestling events in their communities; let’s say they go to a dual meet at their local college or university.  The kids are learning by watching.  That is one of the bigger things that’s missing in our country [in wrestling].  Just going to tournaments and seeing what other eight year olds do is not enough.  Without seeing high school and college wrestlers compete, the kids will never be able to envision what they are capable of in the future.”  

Jake provided some background on the importance of strengthening youth wrestling.  “I have made a lifetime commitment to the sport of wrestling.  It’s something that I love.  It’s something that’s given me everything I have in my life, and I will never be able to give enough back to it.  I just want to help the sport at every level and see programs succeed.”  I asked Jake what motivates him to do what he and Andy are doing.  He responded instantly by saying: “The underdogs motivate me; the ones that slip through the cracks without the sport of wrestling.  There is no reason that anyone shouldn’t have an opportunity to be the best they can be at whatever they want to be.”
Andy and Jake want wrestling to be fun for kids.  They want the kids who train at their facilities to play games, and engage in training that is suited to more appropriately support the development of younger athletes.  The ultimate goal of their wrestling system is to instill self-motivation in the kids; to instill a better sense of self-awareness and self-confidence.  They want the kids to challenge themselves.  One percent improvement each day is the mindset they teach.  I encourage all true wrestling supporters to explore the web sites below.  Andy Hrovat and Jake Herbert are ambassadors for our great sport, and they deserve our support.  #growwrestling

Monday, September 29, 2014

Northern Colorado: A Bear Market

By Daniel Kelly

Troy Nickerson tied the knot with the lady in his life on August 23 of 2014, but that’s not the only marriage he entered into during the month.  Troy was recently appointed Head Coach of The University of Northern Colorado’s wrestling program.  With the help of his right-hand man and Colorado native, Joe LeBlanc, Northern Colorado is looking to take its program to the next level.  Troy and Joe have both overcome great adversities, and they both welcome the challenge to grow wrestling and build a winning program in their respective region.

                I had the pleasure of speaking with Troy and Joe over the past few weeks in an effort to gain deep insight into what truly sets them apart from other people, and why many people in the wrestling community feel their program is going to be successful.  

TDG:   There is an old saying, "Behind every strong man is a stronger woman."  Tell us about the impact that your wives have made on you in relation to the momentum that is a byproduct of motivation at its deepest level.

Troy:  She has been an absolute rock star.  She has been taking care of everything, and everything is falling into place right now.  I am looking forward to starting our life out here in Colorado.  Just knowing that she’s always got my back and having that support every single day is amazing.  She understands how wrestling is going to shape our future together.

Joe:  My wife has been there through everything; wrestling, competing, training for the Olympic Trials; following me around the country from Indiana to Providence and back.  She is a very special girl to be able to keep up with this lifestyle. 

TDG:  What can you say about community support in cultivating the bond between a university program and the community in which it resides?

Troy:  We have an Athletic Director that is very passionate about what we are doing, and he has done his homework.  Both of our visions match up perfectly.  Colorado is a great wrestling state.  I think it is only continuing to get better, especially in the next five to ten years.  For me, it is all about getting the right people involved; bringing Joe back was obviously a huge part of that.  We want to really build something strong and make an impact in the Colorado wrestling community.

Joe:  Growing up here, I have a pretty good feel for what is going on here in Colorado.  I’m not gonna lie.  This is all surreal to me right now; being back in my home state with this opportunity, with a guy like Troy Nickerson.  I have had a lot of people reaching out to me already.  We are reaching out to everybody, and we are trying to gain more respect and support from the community. 

TDG:  How are you leveraging the relationship that you and your program have been solidifying with USA Wrestling, specifically the Olympic Training Center?

Troy:  We have a very good niche here in being the closest public NCAA Division 1 school with wrestling to the Olympic training center.  Our number one way to leverage our relationship is to develop our regional training center in an effort to get the best senior-level athletes here.

Joe:  We are the closest state-funded educational institution to the Olympic Training Center.  I know Coach Slay very well.  He’s a great guy.  We want to collaborate with Coach Slay and all of the USA Wrestling staff and foster that relationship.  We want our recruits to take a visit to the OTC when they come out for a visit.  It is like a wrestling goldmine out here in Colorado.  It also presents us with an opportunity to help grow USA Wrestling and wrestling as a whole.

TDG:  Tell us about your recruiting efforts.

Troy:  Right now we are not a fully-funded program, but we are growing into that.  Our immediate goal is keeping the best kids in Colorado.  We have a strong presence here in the west, but really we are looking for the best kids in the country.  We are looking, in general, for the total student-athlete. 

Joe:  It is important out here to get the western kids because of interstate tuition sharing programs that are in place.  We’re gonna try and retain all of the in-state kids.  Historically Colorado’s best have left the state.  Colorado has also had trouble getting the top recruits.  We are looking to change that.

I hope the above dialogue provides some insight into the things that Troy and Joe have brewing at The University of Northern Colorado.  Let’s take a step back and really think about what we have here.  Let’s look at these two individuals’ achievements.  Combined, these two men have eight individual state championship titles.  Both of these men were 4x NCAA Division I All-Americans.  Troy was a FIVE time Fargo champion.  How could the wrestling community not be excited for what will happen with this program?  I think it is important for all wrestling fans in the United States to support the growth of this program.  It is the only [public school] Division I program in Colorado, but it also resides near the heart and soul of United States Olympic Wrestling.  What is even crazier is that The University of Northern Colorado is one of only three college wrestling programs in the United States that has a 4x NCAA Division 1 All-American Head Coach and Head Assistant Coach.

The University of Northern Colorado’s current state presents a perfect storm of opportunities.  I am excited to see what this Northern Colorado team will do this season.  Please support the University of Northern Colorado program.  It’s a bear market out there, and The University of Northern Colorado Wrestling Program needs your support!

Please show the UNC Bears some love on Facebook!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Passion: The Ultimate Motivator

By Daniel Kelly


Passion is something that each person possesses.  Passion can arise suddenly, but it can also vanish so quickly.  Passion can motivate some to accomplish what others consider impossible.  The passion which one exhibits can profoundly impact others, and it can do so in ways that the people who are impacted do not even realize consciously.  It can influence people to commit such amazing acts.  Well, passion has taken me over.  It is what drives me to write my articles, and to do all that I can to grow the great sport of wrestling in any way that I can. 
Daniel Kelly, Shaun Lally, and Ryan Nowicki with Beat The Streets Wrestlers, September 2013.
                I am a Volunteer Coach for the Beat The Streets New York City organization.  I enjoy getting the opportunity to work with the kids and the great coaching staff.  It is amazing to see how wrestling helps these kids grow in so many ways.  As a coach, I am always learning and developing just as the kids I coach.  I love wrestling, and it is truly a passion of mine.  It always will be.  It encompasses who I am as a person.
From left:  Daniel Kelly, Alex Stewart (Norwich), Shaun Lally, and Wes DeSouza (Montclair State).
                This year I had the pleasure of volunteering for the annual Beat The Streets Gala event in Times Square.  I brushed shoulders with some heavy hitters, and I also had the opportunity to converse with other coaches and volunteers.  I met a few members of the Norwich University wrestling program who also happened to be volunteering to help with the Gala event.  What is important to note is that this university sits nowhere near New York City.  It takes about six hours to drive to the university from Manhattan.  Alex Stewart is one of the Norwich wrestlers.  We spoke about a lot of different things relating to wrestling.  Alex elaborated on his trip to the Gala.  "The six hour drive is nothing compared to the importance of wrestling in our lives.  We want to project that to younger generations.  Don't be one foot in, one foot out.  Commit to the sport completely."
                     I spent more time speaking with Alex about his level of dedication and passion for wrestling.  As I explained to Alex how I am trying to help people with wrestling as a mechanism for personal change and growth, he made a statement which caused me to have an epiphany at that very moment.  Alex said, "Daniel, the more you grow wrestling, the more wrestling grows you."  It's funny; the more I grow wrestling, the more wrestling grows me.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Overcoming Obstacles: Logan Stieber

By Daniel Kelly

Logan Stieber is, without question, one of the greater wrestlers in the United States at this moment in time.  For those of you who are not familiar with his impressive track record, Logan was a four-time high school state champion in his native state of Ohio.  His only loss in high school was to David Taylor, one of the greater high school and college wrestlers of all-time.  Logan continues to dominate, and next season he looks to become only the fourth college wrestler of all time to win four NCAA individual titles.  Logan is also looking to help lead his team at Ohio State to a national title.

                Now, take a step back, and think about all of the obstacles that you have overcome in your life to get to where you are now.  Think about all of the times that you have failed.  Think about all of the times that you have succeeded.  Imagine your life flashes before your eyes and the visions of events are seen in ascending order.  Think about the possibility that perhaps you failed because of a choice that you made, or perhaps that you did not make. 

Think about whatever conclusive thoughts that crossed your mind after reading the preceding paragraph and now consider the following: TALENT.  There are people that adopt one of two fundamental beliefs with regard to talent.  There are those who think people are born with talent, and there are those that think talent is made.  Genetics come into play in both scenarios, but with regard to mental or physical limitations; or perhaps advantages in some instances.   The people who believe that one can be born with talent will argue that talented people either develop their talents or they become passive and choose to not develop the innate talent.  The people who believe that talent is made will argue that one [coach, parent, or mentor] can influence an individual at a young age to develop his or her talent, and after the spark is ignited the talented individual will become self-motivated to further develop that talent with continual guidance from a coach, parent, or mentor.   

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Logan this past week.  We talked about wrestling.  We talked about life.  Logan falls within the group of people that believe talent is made.  Equate this talent theory to the initial purpose of this article; to demonstrate to the readers of this article that Logan Stieber is not perfect.  Although it may not seem that way, he is human just like you and I.  Logan has achieved greatness in the sport of wrestling because he decided to do so.  He decided to make the most of any and every opportunity that was ever given to him in the sport of wrestling: coaching, training, mentoring, and time on the mat.  These conditions, combined with his unrelenting determination to win, have brought him to where he now resides.  Think about all of the milestones Logan has achieved.  Think about all of the sacrifices that he made.  Think about all of the hard work that he put in.  Logan was kind enough to share some insights about personal challenges that he has overcome.

TDG:  “What was it like for you to watch your brother work so hard, get so far, and then lose in the semis at the 2013 NCAA’s?”

Logan Stieber:  “Seeing Hunter work all year; and his freshman year he was pretty good, and he wanted to win, but I could tell his sophomore year was a lot different.  I thought he was going to win, ya know, being the number one seed.  I thought the other guy should’ve gotten it because he was ranked number one all year, but ultimately I thought Hunter was the best guy.  I thought he was gonna win, and his first three rounds of the tournament were not very good for him.  He didn’t wrestle good.  He was down almost every match, and he would have to come back.  He just wasn’t really wrestling in his usual style.  In the semi-finals match I had just finished wrestling, and I had just put my sweats on and started getting ready to cut weight, so I was just bouncing around and watching the screen.  I actually didn’t even know the other guy had riding time, and I saw the score was six to six.  I thought it was going into overtime.  Then I noticed some Edinboro coaches were in the back cheering.  Then I kinda figured it out that the other guy had riding time, and the score was seven to six.  It was tough, ya know, because I trained with him every day.  And getting third, it was great, but it wasn’t what he came for.  It was sad, and then immediately you have to make weight for the next day, so he was riding the bike next to me with his sweats on.  He was crying, and I felt like crying.  It was sad.  It was a sad moment; that’s for sure.  I won’t forget it, and hopefully he won’t forget either because he needs it as motivation.”

TDG:  “What did that experience teach you?”
Logan Stieber:  “He was way too nervous.  He didn’t wrestle his normal way.  If you wrestle nervous, then things are gonna be different.  He gave his best effort, but it wasn’t his best wrestling.  It wasn’t the best version of him.  Always try to put out the best version of yourself.”
TDG:  “What did that teach you in regard to helping uplift a teammate?  Yes, it’s your brother, but he is also a teammate.”
Logan Stieber:  “I just told him to put it past him.  I learned that, even though he lost, I was able to help him re-group and come back and win some matches for the team.  You can make the choice to lose or you can wrestle back for third or fifth and help the team out.”
TDG:  “You wrestled Zain Retherford early on last season and lost.  Then you wrestled him again with a broken thumb.  How did that affect you mentally?”
Logan Stieber:  “I wrestled him in December.  He beat me, and it was a tough match.  He wrestled better than me, and he ultimately got the win in overtime.  I deal pretty well with losses.  I learn from them.  I always have.  They don’t affect me in a negative way at all.  I was not worried at all.  I lost.  I gotta get off bottom.  I gotta score more takedowns, and I gotta make sure my conditioning is the best in the country.  I worked on a lot of things, and I was feeling great.” [Broke thumb in practice before the Big Ten tournament]… “It was a small break.  I didn’t even wrestle the day before the tournament.  I did some light drilling.  I was pretty nervous before my first match, and I never get nervous.  I was able to wrestle, and I wrestled pretty well.  We had a strategy.  I needed to score enough points so that I didn’t have to go down if I didn’t need to.  I was ready to go down, and we worked on it a lot, but I scored takedowns so I didn’t have to.  I had to change a little bit of my style on top because it was hard to dig my hands in.  It was really a mental thing.  It was a lot of pressure.  He beat me the first time, and I was the defending two time champion, so ya know, I had to beat the freshman.”

TDG:  “Do you have any advice on how people can take some of the principles that you live by in wrestling and apply it to their lives?”

Logan Stieber:  “I’ve always had the best coaches, and I was lucky my parents would help me.  I had really good people around me.  So really you just have to try and find the best people to surround you.  A lot of people don’t take advantage of things that are right in front of them.”

TDG:  “Do you focus more on the ‘now’, or do you focus more on the ‘future’?”

Logan Stieber:  “I focus on the now.  The future is great, but you gotta live in the now.  After my first national championship, I got the biggest, most expensive ring I could from Ohio State because you never know what’s gonna happen. I could get hurt.  I could lose.  I could never wrestle again.  You never know about the future.  Live in the now.”

Logan overcame his obstacles because he made the decision to do so.  Do not fear adversity, but have a plan to effectively manage it when it comes knocking on your door.  Often times in life there are circumstances which we have no control over, but we must prevail.  What separates the successful people from the unsuccessful people in life is not the amount of successes which they achieve; it is ultimately the way in which they manage the unanticipated adversities that can come in all different forms, on and off the mat.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Action Creates Motivation: USA Wrestling's Mike Clayton

By Daniel Kelly

Ask not what the sport of wrestling can do for you, but what you can do for the sport of wrestling.  USA Wrestling has recently appointed Mike Clayton as its National Coaches Education Program Manager.  Mike Clayton may be new to this role, but he has big plans, and he is taking action on all fronts. 

Mike was kind enough to provide me with an opportunity to ask some questions relating to his new role as well as his prior experience in our great sport.

DK:  “How great does it feel to be in this position now after all of the experiences you have had as opposed to how it would have been fifteen or twenty years ago?”

Mike Clayton:  “The timing was right for me.  I’ve had the opportunity to coach at the college level for the past fifteen years.  This job gives me the ability to give back to a much more broad support base of coaches.  I felt compelled that this is such an important position.”

DK:  “What do you miss the most in regard to coaching college wrestling?”

Mike Clayton:  “I do miss the kids; the kids that we had as the alumni, and the kids that are in the program currently.  What I miss the most is the relationship with the kids.”

DK:  “Before you were in your current role, you were basically in a position where you were an individual fighting for access to scarce resources...things that come with building and sustaining a college wrestling program.  Now you are the provider, the person who can help all that were dealing with the adversity you know all too well.  How does it feel?”

Mike Clayton:  “I would say, after 2008, I don’t know too many companies that do not have scarce resources.  We are a not-for-profit.  We are predominantly funded by our membership.  We have to serve our members.  When you give to the people you need something from, they are more likely to give to you.  An important part of what we do is to make sure we are doing the right things to drive membership and to provide good resources.”

DK:  “What can the average wrestling fan do to make your job easier and aid the growth of wrestling?”

Mike Clayton:  “Be involved.  The important part of supporting wrestling in America, at the basic level, is to become a member of USA Wrestling.”

What I want the readers of this article to truly take from Mike’s words is that we all can do more for our great sport.  Become a member of USA Wrestling.  Support wrestling at all levels.  Mike made a statement during our conversation that really grabbed my attention:  “When an individual acts, they become motivated.”  This statement is so true.  He then added:  “Action creates motivation.”  This additional statement made such a profound impact on me at that very moment.  I hope that many of you reading this article become motivated to act by purchasing a USA Wrestling membership as an athlete or coach. 

For more information on Mike Clayton and USA Wrestling Memberships, please click the following links:


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Next Station

By Daniel Kelly

It was April 20, 2014.  I was riding the train back to Penn Station from New Jersey, where I spent the day with some family for the Easter holiday.   I looked up at the digital monitor in the front of the train car as it reads, “NEXT STATION”.  Having seen this triggers this feeling of anxiety within a millisecond as I thought, “What is it?!  What is the next station?!”  I began to ask myself, “Where is my next station?  Where do I go from here?”  At times, it is vital that one ponders the ultimately intimidating life question:  What are my goals in life?

It is easy to get caught up in the stresses of life.  It is also easy for people to lose sight of goals which they set forth.  One of the primary reasons that this occurs is that most people do not document their goals.  They merely think of them, or verbally communicate them to other people.  I am 29 years old on the day I publish this article, and I did not begin to document my goals until recently.  I wish I could go back in time and do this, as most wish for the same; however, we can never go back.  We can only move forward with what we now know.

For you younger folks reading this article, I can assure you that money does not provide happiness.  Money can provide a relief to certain liabilities and stress, but it cannot be the origin of where your happiness is derived.  Decide on what you need to be happy.  Do not focus on attaining wealth as the main driver in achieving any goal, or more importantly do not make attaining wealth your only goal.  The individuals who believe that you can attain wealth without trading off other things in life that can provide happiness are fools.  Follow your heart, but lead with your mind.  Ask yourself these questions in determining how you will achieve your goals:

1.        What is your goal?  This sounds simple, but can often be the most difficult question to answer, especially for younger people who are fearful of the future.

2.       When do you want to achieve your goal?  Try to set a realistic expectation regarding the timeline of which you want to remain within in pursuing your goal.  Life is unpredictable most of the time, so be reasonable when evaluating this question.

3.       How will you prepare to achieve your goal?  This question is crucial.  It pertains more to the now than in the future.  What are you doing today to work toward your goal?  It is all about the system.  After determining your system, live by it.  Do not deviate from the system.

4.       How will you reward yourself after achieving your goal?   This is something else that most people struggle with.   Many people lower their own expectations just to enjoy the reward.   Personally, when I achieve a goal, my reward is getting to set another goal!  To make things easier, it usually is good to have a set of sub-goals within your ultimate goal.  After all, the only way to go up a staircase is to touch the first few steps at the bottom first.

What is the next station?  Ask yourself this question often.  The majority of successful people in any field achieve greatness because they make decisions based on criteria they have set forth in evaluating and achieving their goals.  Will you always achieve your goal if you document your goal and develop a system in achieving your goal?  No.  Will you be more likely to achieve your goal if you document your goal and develop a system in achieving your goal?  Yes.  What are you doing today that will help you work towards achieving your goal?