What Do Your Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Indicate?

Over the weekend, I wrapped up the last of the 3 (running) races I had on the calendar before moving out of the “Masters” category (40-49) and into the “Grand Masters” group (50+).  Those three races included a marathon on limited training (long story), a 5 mile race to get the training season started and then a 10 miler heading into triathlon season. The ultimate goals for each of these events was  to come in under 3 hours for the undertrained marathon, 30 minutes for the early season 5 miler and under 60 minutes for the 10 miler. This didn’t hit me until yesterday, but the actual outcomes were fascinating.

The TOTAL time differential between the ultimate target times and the actual times came to 17 seconds. No – not the average time differential across the 3 events – the TOTAL time differential across the 3 events:  Marathon 2:59:48… 5 Miler 29:56… 10 Miler 59:59.

Intriguing. Very, very intriguing. 3 totally different distances at completely different training levels. No significant baseline from which to predict (I hadn’t raced these distances for a couple of years). Yet a total of 17 seconds separated the target from the actual over the 41 miles of total racing across 3 separate events. An incredible example of self-fulfilling prophecy brought to life before my eyes! Ouch? or exciting?

There are a variety of possible explanations for this. However, the only one that really makes sense reflects quite strongly on the lives we live. Barring a breakdown, we generally cross the “finish line” (in all aspects of our lives – not just those that occur in running shoes) very close to our seriously targeted goals. Realizing that, the real question becomes whether our goals expand or shrink the lives we choose to live?

Whether you’re a wellness coach working alongside a client, a parent chatting over dinner with your child, a supervisor interacting with an employee or you’re considering your own life’s targets, we generally become the outcomes we pursue. Yes – random life tragedies can throw us off the rails just like a flat tire in a race but they are the exception vs. the rule. But in general, we become our pursuits, whether those pursuits are stretch goals or settle goals.

So how about you? What clear vision have you set in place for your career, your relationships, your impact, your finances, or your life? Are our self-fulfilling prophecies stretching us to new heights? or shrinking us into a corner of mediocrity? Maybe today is the perfect day to expand the prophecy that has produced the “you” we have today – and will surely have tomorrow…



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