Stop Scoring Own Goals

by : Graham and Julie

Own goals are actions, things we do, that stop us from reaching where we want to go or what we want to obtain. When we are out of focus, when we are out of tune with what’s going on, when we do something which takes us in the opposite direction of where we were going or should be going, we have scored an own goal. Sometimes they happen accidentally, sometimes on purpose and sometimes simply because we try too hard.

First Own Goal

To stop scoring the first own goal, answer the following questions:

What is my focus?

What do I want out of life?

When you have a clear focus then you become more aware of your capabilities and what you need to add to be successful. However, we usually do it the other way around. We work out what our capabilities are and then decide what we should focus on. We live our lives like a flea in a flea circus.

How do you train fleas? It’s easy; first you collect them and put them in a match box. Then you close the box. They keep jumping, hitting all sides of the box, until they get a headache, and all of a sudden, the noise stops. You then open the box and the fleas will only jump to the height of the original match box.

How many of us are like this?

We have learned to jump only to the height of the box we have been kept in and sometimes at the direction of the trainer. The result is, even when you take us out of our boxes, we don’t jump to our true potential.

To have a chance of reaching your true potential your focus must come from your feelings.

What would you really like to achieve in your life?

What is that hidden dream?

What is that thought that you are frightened to acknowledge?


First identify your Focus

Our guess is that this is the way you have run the most successful parts of your life to date. You already have the experience.

If you know where you are going, then start looking at where the own goals are occurring. Are you scoring own goals because the enthusiasm is gone? If you have the right focus your enthusiasm is naturally high. Therefore if you don’t have the enthusiasm for your focus you don’t have the correct focus. Once you have identified it, it is important to keep your aim and objective in front of you. Let it drive all your thoughts and behaviours otherwise you will get lost on the way.


Your capabilities and skills will develop as you pursue the focus.

Your enthusiasm is affected by your focus.

Second Own Goal

Another common way we stop ourselves from achieving is; we work out of the ‘want box’ rather than the ‘need box’. It is important to differentiate WHAT YOU NEED FROM WHAT YOU WANT. If you pursue your needs rather than your wants then you have more chance of living a happier life and reaching your focus.

If you live in the want box (e.g. if only I had this, I would be happy) then you start putting conditions to your focus- the most common own goal we score.

Third Own Goal

What type of relationship do you have with:

  • yourself

  • other people.

How you treat yourself?

How do you treat other people?

The best relationship can have is a Win/ Win, a relationship where I win and you do too. We both feel we have achieved what was possible. The result is acceptable to both sides. Neither person feels hurt, used or abused by the encounter. In a Win /Win relationship, I feel good about myself and I feel good about my focus; what I’m trying to achieve. When I do make mistakes I don’t immediately become abusive to myself , I just stop to think and examine what’s happened

Or, perhaps your style is a Win/Lose style, where you win and the other person loses. A style typically used by aggressive sales persons and business people. They have little or no interest in the other person provided they buy the product or do as they are told. Another way of playing a Win/Lose game is by committing what is now called a ‘professional foul’. If you can’t win you do something to stop the other person winning.

Ask yourself: How many ‘professional fouls’ have I committed this month? It can be something as easy as pouting or sulking.

When you go into a relationship, do you go into it to Win/ Win or Win /Lose?

If your self esteem is low you may find that your encounters and relationships are built on a Lose/Win scenario. In these relationships one person gives in all the time to enable the other person to Win. It may be masked in the phrase, ‘I don’t want to cause any trouble’ or ‘I don’t mind what happens, you make the decision’. How many times do you make people feel sorry for you? Classic I Lose you Win behaviour. You give away all your power all the time and I wonder why you don’t achieve anything and feel unhappy all the time.

In our experience the most destructive relationship is one based on Lose/Lose. On these occasions a person enters the relationship or conversation with the mindset that if I can’t win no one is going to. This behaviour is very destructive.

When playing football or any other team sport do you see yourself as participating in a competition of winning and losing? Or do you see it as I am a player in a team with a role to play and my job is to achieve my personal best in this situation? After a major race or game the question a professional sportspersons asks themselves or their coach is, ‘Did I perform to or beat my personal best this time’?

The most important question to ask is:

Did I perform my personal best on this occasion?

Winning is not the issue. What matters is did I perform or exceed my personal best?

The Own Goal is scored when we don’t know what our personal best is. We have no measure on our performance and so we tend to take decisions in life that take us away from Win/Win relationships.

Win/ Win for us is living in my personal best, the result is I play better, the team plays better and the best team on the day wins.

Forth Own Goal

"If you understood the power of your thoughts you would be frightened to think" a wisdom keeper once told me.

In other words your power is in your thoughts. Your thoughts drive your actions. So, get your thoughts right and correct actions must follow. In the context of this article, the correct thoughts are about you. How do you see yourself? How do you see others?

One way of changing the way you think is to treat your brain and thinking process in the same way gardeners treat their gardens, In other words do some ‘Gardening of the Brain"

If you are a gardener the first thing you do is take stock of the garden. Identify the flowers, cultivated shrubs etc and the weeds. If you are new to gardening the first job is to identify which are the flowers and which are the weeds.

Now do the same with your thoughts:

Which of your thoughts would you classify as Weeds?

What behaviours would you classify as the weeds in your life?

If you are a Gardener you would now dig out and remove the weeds and replace them with your favourite flowers.

Which of your thoughts are your favourite flowers?

Which behaviours would you transplant as your favourite flowers?

The system to stop scoring the own goal is to Recognise, Remove and Replace all negative and unhelpful thoughts.

Recognise, Remove and Replace all thoughts that stop you achieving your focus.


Most of the things we do are HABITS.

I have a focus which is built on capabilities rather than capabilities are found to help me achieve my focus.

I run my life on what I think I want rather that what I need.

I build relationships on competing with others or giving in to others rather than trying to beat my personal best.

I spend time admiring and developing weeds in my garden rather than replacing them with flowers.

All you have to do is change them. In this article we have suggested that you will have a more productive and happier life if you change to your natural way. In other words instead of learning a new technique, just unlearn your present thought patterns and behaviour by doing what comes naturally. Focus on achieving your potential. Focus on what you really need in life. Focus on achieving your personal best at all times. Focus on being a flower rather than a weed.

Each time you catch yourself not thinking in this way, you will have scored another own goal.

Graham and Julie