A Gauntlet is most usually thought of as the armored glove worn by knights of old. It also refers to an ancient form of discipline where a criminal was forced to walk between two columns of soldiers who would proceed to strike him as he made his way down the line.
Today, gauntlets are no longer assumed as armor or harsh punishment. I wore gauntlets as part of my uniform in the USMC and it’s not uncommon to see sporting events labeled as “gauntlets” that involve a series of obstacles and physical challenges.
For the sake of this discussion, we’re going to take our cue from the way in which the word “gauntlet” is used to describe a sequence of physical tasks that need to be successfully completed in order to win the prize.
In a previous post, we talked about the importance of goal setting in the context of Identify, Magnify and Clarify. You define what it is you’re trying to do by writing it down and specifying what exactly you’re setting out to accomplish. You intentionally broaden your perspective by “magnifying” the fact that it’s not just about you only. Should you realize your goal, those you care about and those who depend on you stand to benefit as well. Focusing on the fact that it’s not just about you is an often overlooked factor in the way you establish your goals and one that can give you that extra boost when you’re resolve is poised to falter. Finally, you clarify the steps that need to be taken in order to reach your goal. What are the everyday steps that need to be taken so that, over time, your goal is reached? In other words, what’s your gauntlet? What are the boxes on your to do list that need to be checked off every day to ensure you’re making progress?
Take for example, drinking water. Depending on your activity level, drinking a gallon of water is a healthy amount. But that’s a lot of water if you’re looking at it as a gallon jug sitting on your desk. But if you think of it as a liter every three hours, it’s nowhere near as intimidating. And what’s strategic about breaking things down into more manageable elements is that you can keep yourself motivated with daily victories as opposed to a situation where you’re feeling like you’re laboring for extended periods of time with no sense of success.
Bite size, incremental investments of your time and energy, deployed diligently over a period of time resulting in extraordinary accomplishments. Whatever those daily activities are, that’s your gauntlet, that’s your template for success (see Prov 10:4; Jas 2:14-17).
So, what’s your gauntlet?