Outkicking Your Coverage

Aim for the stars, we are told. Your aim may exceed your reach, but you will achieve more than you hoped possible.  Generally, good advice.  Do no sell yourself short.  Be all you can be.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
– T.S. Eliot

Setting ambitious goals is how we grow and achieve what we want in life.

Is this advice always applicable? What if we aim beyond what is reasonable and fail?  Whether it is ego, emotions, competition or just aiming beyond where we can see, our intent can exceed our reach and that can be a problem.

Should we limit our action? Settle for less? Throttle down the risk?

This is not about drive, effort or wanting to improve yourself.  It is about making smart decisions.  If we are a lone wolf and live on the edge, seeking risks and any opportunities, go for it.  Should you make strategic financial decisions based on market trend data and diversified investing, or just put everything on a high risk, high yield fund?

Accepting risk is part of life.  Some folks are drawn to high risk, high payoff choices.  They are willing to accept, and probably enjoy the risk factor.  Putting your money, time and sweat into a new invention is how life and commerce advances.  That road is not always paved with gold, it can also lead to the poor house and disappointment.

Slow and steady wins the race.  What race?  In a sprint, that’s bad advice.  In a marathon, that is a good strategy.  Life has different kinds of needs and opportunities.

Each person has the right to their own decisions, unless that risk carries over onto others.  In life, we do not always function alone, and often our decisions impact partners, employees, team members or family.

The phrase, “outkicking your coverage”, began as a football term.  Kick team coaches preach to kickers, if you line-drive a 50 yard punt or kickoff, you will not give the “gunners” time to get downfield to adequately cover the play.  The opposition has time to grab the kick and set up a return that nets more yards, and potentially a score.  A big kick can lead to a big problem.

Sacrificing a few kick yards to allow a team effort in containing the return, is smart team strategy.  Kickers want to put a lot of leg into their kicks and wow the crowd.  Pin the other team deep into their territory.  Crush the ball with the kick, unleash that emotion, or make the big play.  Or botch the kick, sailing it out of bounds or driving it right to the receiver who takes off downfield.

If you are going for a new goal, do so with enthusiasm, logic and a plan.  Shooting from the hip is not really a strategy, although it is seems used as one.  Grip it and rip it.  Put a lot of air into it and double-down on the swagger. What could possibly go wrong? A lot of things.

Everyone wants go for the homerun.  We are a long ball culture, instant payoff.  Acting in the moment can separate you from your more strategic goals.  You build goals over time, with clear thought, and weighing the options.  While we always should be aware of the moment, act with caution and weigh the risk. Be smart and avoid striking out.  Keep focused and be in control.  That might be a measured approach to a situation.  In general, we should smartly angle our objectives to align with reason and our resources.


Other advice?

We all like those low risk, high gain opportunities.  Only risk what you can afford to lose.  Sometimes it is not the risk, it is confronting our own fear of failure.  That feeling in our gut is an alarm bell.  It alerts us to risk, and it can stop us from acting.  Dialed up too high, it can stop us from moving forward on important steps.

If you are part of a team, act like it.  When you act alone, you are taking ownership away from your teammates.  It may be your decision, but everyone must live with the result.  It is not necessary to show off, even in this “me” world.

Once in a while, the stars align and we are given a true gift.  We receive more than we deserve.  For whatever reason, we are blessed.  Be humble. Be appreciative.  Be smart.

Aiming for the stars does not have to mean you are oblivious to what is around you, or your own limitations.  Outkicking your coverage is beyond risky, it is foolish.  Weight the risk.  Be responsible.  If you are a five and you want to date 10s, that’s your business.  But if you put the people who depend on you at risk, that is just plain stupid.


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