Reach them or not, goals are key to former Congressman Largent’s HOF success

Hall of Fame wide receiver and former Congressman Steve Largent told Hailey Rose Gattuso that goal-setting has been integral to his success – even when his goals aren't reached. (Photo by Michelle Ostrander)

Hall of Fame wide receiver and former Congressman Steve Largent told Hailey Rose Gattuso that goal-setting has been integral to his success – even when his goals aren’t reached. (Photo by Michelle Ostrander)

By Hailey Rose Gattuso

For most athletes – though maybe not all – goal-setting is a big part of achieving dreams.

At the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions in Canton, Ohio, former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Steve Largent talked to me how vivid goal-setting was key to his success.

That was true not only in football, but afterward too.

A Hall of Famer himself, Largent played 13 years in Seattle and held multiple records by the time of his retirement in 1992.

Not only was his athletic performance noticed, but his character. In 1989 the Steve Largent Award was created to recognize his “spirit, dedication and integrity,” according to the team’s website.

After football, Largent jumped from athletics to politics, serving in the U.S House of Representatives from 1994 to 2002.

And just weeks after our interview, he retired from his position as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade association that represents the major companies in the wireless business.

“We represent their interests before Congress, the president, and the FCC,” Largent explained in a video on

How did one man achieve so much in so many different fields? This is what he shared with us:

How vividly did you set your goals throughout your career?

Largent: Very vividly. If you don’t set goals you don’t have anything to shoot for. I always liked having a goal, something to shoot for, and developing a plan of attack to accomplish those goals. It was very important throughout my career.

Did you ever have any goals that you didn’t achieve?

Largent: Sure I did, all the time, but that didn’t prevent me from setting my goals high. I still today set high standards and high goals for myself. I don’t meet them all, but I’m a lot more than I would be if I didn’t set goals.

What keeps you from getting discouraged after you don’t reach your goals?

Largent: What you realize is not everyone reaches their goals. Nobody wins every game. You don’t win every tournament. When you recognize that as a fact of life – to know you’re not going to reach them all – it doesn’t impede you or keep you from setting high goals, and shooting for high achievements.

Were there any skills that you acquired on the field that you were able to translate off the field?

Largent: Sure, playing as a team. I think that’s a goal that translates to any field that you’re in. Preparation, intensity in your job — all of those things. Learning to play your part in a team, I think all of those things are important in whatever you do.

Hailey Rose Gattuso is a freshman at St. Bonaventure University and a graduate of our program at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo.

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