Monday, November 12, 2007

Setting Challenging Goals

The most difficult training I ever went through was also one of the most rewarding. Like most things in life, it was by choice and I could quit any time, but sticking with it was more challenging and more fun as a result.

It was training for ski patrol which required skiing with an experienced patroller who wasn't going to stop for the trainee's benefit which meant I had to keep up or else. Now I don't know if you ski, so let me explain. Ski patrollers like to ski. They also like to ski non-stop from top of the run to the bottom, and since they are needed to patrol the hill at all times, they don't have to stand in line to get on the chair. Add to that the fact that they start before the first customer goes up the hill and they end the day following down the last customer off the hill.. called the sweep; so roughly from about 8am -5pm. So suffice to say a lot of runs and fast skiing in a day.

Now in order to become a trainee, one has to pass ski test showing ability to ski all terrains in all conditions, so to be accepted as a trainee means you can ski very well. So as a trainee I was no slouch but the senior patrollers were better just from sheer experience and keeping up with them was no easy task in the beginning of the training season. From those days I learned something important about being challenged with a task, a goal is easier achieved when striving to attain something reachable but not too close within range. I liked the challenge of keeping up and getting better with each day and I loved it when I reached the point that I was not huffing at the bottom of the run; turning to sheer joy when I could follow a patroller mimicking each turn just behind, knowing by then that my skiing was equal and appreciating the leadership that allowed me to keep on pushing myself to get better.

I recollect those days when I come to questioning how to challenge myself or others because the way of that challenge was to be just a little better than the person being trained.

As a stock trading moderator, I feel the same as that experienced patroller and I strive to keep just a little ahead of other expert traders to pull them to higher achievement. Most of them are experienced traders, a lot of them are highly experienced and goals need to reflect it. The trading room moderator you choose to follow should give you just enough challenge to keep you moving fast throughout the trading day leading you into the next turn, eventually leading you where you can meet each call and mimic it without huffing and puffing or missing a beat.

You set your goals close enough to achieve, you get the satisfaction of attaining them and then you can raise them higher. Set them too close and you get lulled into false confidence. Set them too high, you'll get frustrated for not getting anywhere and maybe get stuck in non-action.

Always remember that the choice is yours to quit or stay the course and reap the reward. The reward! Ah yes, the exhilaration of that last run of the day, the sweep, popping over the crest on the face of Heavenly Valley, looking almost straight down at the beauty and expanse of Lake Tahoe and then carving each turn down the face until the bottom.... non-stop.

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