ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Are You A Player, Spectator or a Bench-Warmer?
Dr. Rhoberta Shaler
Saturday, 20th January 2007
It is so common to write goals that I'll bet there are very few people who do not know how - I'll also bet - thought - that there are thousands of people who are diligent goal-setters who seldom become goal-getters.Why is that? Why do we quit on ourselves? We talk a good game and then sit on the bench.

Sometimes, we even give up the uniform and become a spectator at other people's games. An armchair quarterback! We have great advice for others that we seldom heed for ourselves. Have you noticed how much easier it is, and how much more brilliant you are... when you're watching someone else's game?

The sad thing is that there are far more bench-warmers and spectators than players. Of course, that's not unusual, but, goal-getting is a game everyone can win! It's a waste not to play. You deprive yourself of exercising your potential, your imagination and your wings!

Want to make sure you stay in the game? There are four important tactics in the Goal-Getter's Handbook:: self-esteem, procrastination, risk and focus. These will have you on the field and winning the game every week.


In some games, height, weight, strength or talent play a large part in your ability to play. The great news about the game of life is that you can achieve no matter what your size or ability. It's simple to learn and all it takes is persistence.

Of course, you cannot win if you're talking trash. Sure, you've got good manners. You don't talk trash to the others players.

But, are you talking trash about yourself in your head? If so, STOP! Your first step to being a first string player is to believe you deserve to win. That's the key.

It's a head game. First, you believe it is possible for you.
Then you see it already done. Visualize. And, then you go and do it!

The writer, Ray Bradbury, said it this way, "First you jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down." You have to believe that you are a 'wing-grower' before you jump. Trust me, you are.

Until you are willing to put on the uniform of a winner, you'll only be a cheerleader at someone else's game... and, likely, resenting it all the while. You deserve to play!


According to that brilliant philosopher, Anonymous, procrastination avoids boredom. One never has the feeling there is not something important to do. And, as a bonus, you can feel guilty, too. Terrific!

Strangely enough, procrastination is related to self-esteem. You keep putting off your own good and sabotaging your success. What a way to keep yourself small!

Overcome procrastination by taking one action step every day on each of your five major projects. That's all. Just one action step.

The productivity guru, David Allen, defines a project as anything that requires more than one action step. You get stuck when you try to think about taking more than one action step.
You get overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. So, you do nothing. The problem is that that course of action also gets you nothing.

Think of basketball. You know that you're going to need a whole lot of points to win the game. But, you can only take one shot at a time

So, write one project at the top of each piece of paper. Write the next action step required beneath it. Take that one simple action step. Return to paper and write the next. Do it. And, so on. You can do one thing easily.

Make sure you're on the floor steadily taking one shot at a time. Keep practicing.


Scary? For some, even the thought of risk sends them to bed with the covers pulled over their heads.

If that is you, remember that there are degrees of risk. You get to decide the size of risk that is a stretch for you. You just need a gentle stretch to grow. It is not necessary to leave family, home and country, bound across the world, learn a new language or two, and sleep on tree platforms. Just do one small thing that makes you a little bit uncomfortable. Work up to it!

You've heard the adage: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Well, it's true. Do nothing, get nothing. What are you waiting for? No one can take your shot for you.

Once you're in the game, you'll forget about the spectators.
You'll forget about your fear. You'll get out there and play the game. Sure, it requires gumption. For some people, just suiting up is a big step. Do it. Then, take the next step. Show up and declare that you're a player.

Step up. Step Out. Place both feet firmly in mid-air. Just do it, as Nike says.


No matter what your game, you know how to score. That ball has to go in that goal, over that line, into that basket. Keep your eyes on the prize. Never lose sight of it. When your glasses fog up or your eyes close, re-focus.

You have to know what you want. Be like Michael Jordan, the great basketball player. He was cut from his high school team.
Vince Lombardi did not become a coach in the NFL until he was forty-seven. Both these men kept their eyes on the prize. They knew who they were, what they could do, and, most of all, what they wanted. Focus and persistence won the game for them.

So, where are you in the game of life? Sitting in the bleachers?
Warming the bench? Cheering for the players? Or, scoring big-time? It's your choice. Be a player!

(C) Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler is an integration catalyst helping businesses prosper and people flourish. She will lead you to optimize the life of your enterprise and the enterprise of your life. A ‘people skills' expert—a noted speaker, author, consultant and coach—and founder of the Optimize! Institute in Escondido, CA, Dr. Shaler works with organizations that know their people are their top resource and with leaders who know that building relationships is a top priority. She is the author of Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work as well as more than a dozen books and audio programs. Introduce yourself well with her free ebook at www.Effective-Elevator-Speech.com  Learn more about her work and subscribe to The Rhino Wrestler at  www.OptimizeInstitute.com
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