LTLS in Prospect Magazine: Kevin Jagger, Long Shot Long Tracker
Long Shot Long Trackerby John Reid & Crystal Phillips
What would be your first reaction if you met someone that walked away from a steady, well-paying job to move to a new city and compete in a sport they'd never played? You'd probably think they were crazy, wouldn't you?
Well that's exactly what Kevin Jagger did earlier this year when he moved from Vancouver to Calgary and took up speed skating after being inspired by the 2010 Winter Olympics. But Kevin's no dummy. He knows as well as anyone else that you can't expect an out-of-shape 227-pound ex-football player to be anything less than an eyesore going around an oval in a skin suit.
So he gave himself the best start he could. He hired Brock Miron, a former Canadian National Team member, moved to Calgary, home of the fastest ice in the world, and started training twice a day, six days a week. Kevin gave up alcohol and refined his diet (quite a feat for someone that started each day with a fast-food breakfast). He even searched out sponsors and had them support him financially. As far as making a stupid move, he's doing it as smart as possible.
But the strangest thing has nothing to do with him moving cities or training like an animal or overhauling his eating habits...no, the strangest thing is that Kevin gave up everything to follow his dream.
How many times have you seen a TV show or read an article about someone doing exactly what you’ve always wanted to do? And you say to yourself “That’s what I should be doing,” but stop considering it the moment you remember your mortgage, or think about how your friends and family would react if you told them you were changing your life direction.
In just a few seconds you shoot your dream so full of holes that you laugh at yourself for the moment you spent pondering it. Kevin didn’t do that. He recognized that he wasn’t happy plugging away in an office career that wasn’t fulfilling. Even with all the unknowns; how he would support himself, where he would train, if he could find a coach. He didn’t even know if he could still skate! He hadn’t been on ice in years, but he still went ahead and did it. It’s definitely a little crazy, yes, but also incredibly courageous and admirable.
And unfortunately that makes Kevin an exception because most people don’t have the courage to follow their dreams. Most will take the safe course and stick to what others have done before them, eventually believing their dreams were no more than silly childhood fantasies. Or they sit and wait for their dream to come to them, foolishly thinking the dream will eventually come to them. Why do you think people play the lottery?
Everyone has a dream. It’s easy to say that you want to be a pro athlete or on tv or in space. So what? So does everyone else. What sets people like Kevin apart is that they employ a strategy to follow that dream. And while difficult, everyone has the potential to do it.
The first step is to set a goal for yourself. Not just any goal. It has to be a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Oriented) goal. Analyze what you want to do. Research it, find out if anyone has done it before, consider resources you might need. Then, when you feel you know enough about your goal, write it down. Once it’s written down then it’s real and tangible. That in itself is a powerful step. Tell everyone you know about it, put it on Facebook, tweet your goal on Twitter. The more others know about it the better the chances that you’ll achieve it. Now you’re committed to your goal.
The next step is to develop plans to reach that goal. Be willing to adapt and follow alternate paths to get there. There will be obstacles but having backup plans in place will keep you from getting discouraged when they come up. Expect it to be tough!
Finally, you have to reassess and reevaluate periodically. Your life is going to change along the way; does the goal still make sense? Are you making progress or do you need to change your plan? Is this goal too easy, can you make it more challenging?
Most people think that following your dream is just something to put on motivational posters around the office. They don't consider that it's something to be pursued and accomplished. But Kevin Jagger is doing it. He followed his dream, giving up nearly everything he had in the process.
To learn more about the Long Track Long Shot, visit his website at www.longtracklongshot.com.