February 2015
       Vol 8, Issue 2   
Creative Coaching Group
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter


Jan Carley square

Like over 114 million others in North America, I was glued to the TV on Feb. 1st watching the NFL Super Bowl XLIX.  An exciting match between two fine professional football teams and a hair-raising game changer with 20 seconds left on the clock. Got me thinking about the elusive nature of touchdowns.


Most of my coaching clients hold exceedingly high standards for themselves. They have, what I call, a long football field. They are already great, they are already winners, yet often not aware of, or accepting of that fact themselves. That blind spot can get in the way of their success.  


Read my feature article below to find out the danger of playing on a longer-than-normal football field and some management strategies if you do so.




  Jan Carley BA, CEC, PCC  

  Professional Certified Executive Coach   

  Creative Coaching Group    e:jan@creativecoachinggroup.com 

Feature Article:  How Long is your Football Field? 


A wise job counselor I went to in the 90's made a comment that helped me understand why I was never really satisfied at the successes I had achieved in my life to date. After doing several assessments designed to help me find the career that would ultimately fulfill me, he leaned back in his chair and said that I had to understand that I was playing on a longer than average football field. When asked what he meant, he said: "a normal US football field is 100 yards....for whatever reason, you have decided that you are playing on let's say a 150 yard field.  So that means that when, by the actual rules of the game, you get a touchdown, you think you still have 50 more yards to go in order to score."


His comment formed the basis of a concept I developed called the "FOOTBALL FIELD PRINCIPLE" that centers on the effects of connecting our 'wins' with a self-imposed standard that affects our self-worth. There is a point where obsession with high-achievement (a  longer than regulation football field) gets in our way of our happiness, joy, learning and ultimately, our life success.  


The upside to having a long football field is that you are highly motivated and driven to achieve more. You keep on running, driving and forging ahead because you haven't yet crossed the elusive 'goal line'. You tend to go further, and achieve more and rarely rest on your laurels because there is still more yardage to cover.


The downside to having an extra long football field is that you never celebrate the touchdowns you do achieve...because you think you still have several yards to run. You never think you have fully succeeded. Spending your life thinking that there is something else you have to achieve in order to "make it" or living for the next 'better' result has a direct impact on your ability to be content and living in the present moment. Not being able to ever achieve your own personal touchdowns robs you of peace and contentment and rightful celebration of those victories you do have.


Not only does your longer-than-average football field affect you, it may also be affecting how you think of others. You might even project an intimidating aura to others causing them to  think "oh, I could never live up to her standards".


Let me clear - in no way am I espousing mediocrity-  yet I am concerned how the setting of too high standards and consistent play on an elongated football field can impact your joy and stress levels.  


5 Steps to Effectively Managing Your Long Football Field


Become Aware

First you must identify the length of your field - if a normal US football field is 100 yards, how long is yours? 150 yards? 200 yards? Or is it perhaps so long you can't even see the goal posts?

Become aware of how the length of your football field affects you and plays out in your life. Do you have difficulty celebrating your successes and achievements? Do you denigrate your accomplishments by focusing on what you haven't yet done? How does your oversized football field impact those around you? Your staff, your kids, your friends. Awareness (without self-judgment) is the first step to any kind of meaningful change.


Be Open to Flexing your Vision

Creating a vision  -  a magnificent picture of what could be- is a good thing. When you start to do the work to live into that vision (and it does take work), the journey rarely is a straight path, nor is there one way to reach that shimmering picture.  To hold off on celebration of acknowledgment until some elusive 'end' is reached is cheating yourself of the joy of the journey. A vision is not a single touchdown. It is always evolving, shifting and growing - that's what makes it vibrant and enduring.   A vision is something you work toward, a changing picture - not a fixed place that you arrive at. As you journey toward your vision you necessarily achieve several touchdowns.  The 'downs' achieved enroute to the final 'touchdown' are the journey.  


Challenge your Touchdown Definition

A touchdown doesn't need to be of Nobel Prize winning magnitude. It can be a personal triumph like finishing a 5 mile run or as simple as getting the kids off to school with their lunches and homework intact...or perhaps the ongoing daily triumphs you experience as a teacher inspiring your students, or a singer moving your audience. I challenge you to rethink your idea of what a touchdown is. Is it possible that the daily smaller increments are touchdowns?  


Celebrate your Touchdowns

Celebrate all of your touchdowns (and those of your friends and colleagues) when they occur - celebrate fully and wholly. Is there some part of your life in which you are not celebrating the many things that you have already achieved?   Click here for your pdf touchdown list to remember the touchdowns you have experienced throughout your life. Remind yourself of your touchdowns on a regular basis.


Allow Someone Else to Carry the Ball Now and Then

It's okay (and even necessary) for your teammates to carry the ball now and then. You need support to be able to keep running. Develop compassion and an understanding for yourself when you drop a pass (because you will). Consider it a touchdown to pick the ball back up again. Remember, life is a team sport.  

Lightbulb of the Month 
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"Seeking excellence is one thing; never finding anything totally satisfactory is another. Perfection is the obstacle of creation

and the enemy of achievement." - Neale Donald Walsch, Author 


About Jan Carley  

Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Known as a high-performance catalyst, Jan specializes in coaching individuals and teams to focus and clarify their vision and leverage their signature strengths to open possibilities and maximize their performance potential. 3rd edition of Jan's book Jan's book, Harmony from the Inside Out, has been acclaimed worldwide and is now in its 3rd printing. Jan is Associate Faculty of the renowned Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Program and a certified facilitator of the Strength Deployment Inventory .  
Jan lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is available for individual & team coaching, workshops and speaking engagements worldwide. PCC logo

Contact Jan at 604 873-1763    email: jan@creativecoachinggroup.com    

Quick Links
Jan' Coaching Company Creative Coaching Group
Jan's work with BarbershoppersInner Coach of Barbershop
Jan's popular bookHarmony From the Inside Out
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