How to Achieve Anything

Achieve

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By this page in the calendar, most of our New Year’s resolutions have faded. For a wide variety of reasons, we struggle to live up to the lofty goals we feel obligated to set each January – or August. Not enough time, not enough money, not enough… well, you get the idea. 

Setting goals for ourselves personally and professionally may push our potential, but only if those goals become our priority. The summer is a wonderful time for campus recreation professionals to take a breath, relax for a few days (or hours), reflect on the previous academic year and set effective objectives for the upcoming year. 

As humans and campus recreation professionals, we really can achieve anything, but not everything. 

We have limited resources in our lives and workplace – time, money, staffing, energy, etc. The decisions we make with these resources determine which dreams come to reality, and which ones get left to the wayside. If a goal is truly important, our full attitude and effort must be devoted to its achievement. But with that devotion often comes very difficult decisions for our programs and ourselves. 

Here are two critical aspects to consider as you develop next academic year’s ambitions: 

Passion 

What excites you about your role? Who or what inspires you to work at your best?  

We all have portions of our jobs that we find, or do not find, glamorous, and those likely vary between team members. For instance, large student staff trainings may be the highlight of one staff member’s year. Another person may put their heart into one-on-one staff evaluations instead.   

Aligning performance goals with personal passions creates motivation and buy-in. Think of a marathon runner. Training your body to complete 26.2 miles is no easy feat. It takes months of proper planning and workouts. Which person is more likely to cross the finish line: someone who despises running or someone who smiles every time they lace up their sneakers? 

Sacrifice 

Humans are incredible. From climbing the highest mountain in the world without oxygen, to running 135 miles straight through Death Valley, to building billion-dollar companies that help people communicate with each other from all ends of the earth, anything truly is possible. 

But that “anything” comes with sacrifice. Money, time, energy, and a host of other resources are limited in our life and work. Our marathon runner, for instance, likely devoted hundreds of hours to their training, sacrificing time with their family and energy toward other objectives in the life and work.  

In our programs, this could mean choosing priorities that sacrifice other objectives to reach the bigger target. Are we willing to sacrifice some participation numbers to achieve a premier experience? Are we willing to sacrifice programming a certain activity in a space to make room for a new high-impact event. 

These are the questions we must be willing to ask, and answer, for our goals to become reality. 

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Run 

In an effort to prove campus recreation professionals can achieve anything, I will be taking on my own personal running challenge. On Saturday, May 11 I set off on the western edge of North Carolina. I will run the entire 1200-mile long Mountains-To-Sea Trail to the Outer Banks on the Atlantic Coast. I will attempt to complete the run in 24 days and the challenge will benefit the Friends of the Mountains to Sea trail organization that maintains and supports the trail. 

Follow along with the run, or make a donation, by visiting fatguysrunningmarathons.com 

Ben Strunk
Ben Strunk currently serves as the assistant director of sports programs at NC State University Wellness and Recreation. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ben earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and sports management at Ohio University ('12) and a master's degree in sport management at the University of Florida ('14) where he served as a competitive sports graduate assistant for the department of recreational sports. Ben is also the creator of Fat Guys Running Marathons, where he writes about his ultramarathon adventures and aims to inspire others to #achieveanything.

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