Friday, March 24, 2023
"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it's the pebble in your shoe."
If I'm honest with myself, most times I have a harder time taking care of the mundane than I do tackling the challenging or difficult.
Mountains are most often easier to climb for me, because I can see the immediate thrill and reward of achieving the summit. Even though they are massive mounds of rock, I'm game!
The long, slow slog is much more trying for me. No thrilling summits. No harrowing ascents. Just day in and day out with daily disciplines. And honestly, some days those daily disciplines really feel like a stone in my shoe.
I've found that getting past those days takes a combination of 2 very basic elements of human psychology.
A perspective shift and intentional habit formation.
Being a leader or an entrepreneur means that you are going to need to be disciplined in your daily life to make progress. Without basic daily disciplines it is difficult (if not impossible) to maintain momentum, much less move forward. This is not an easy task on the BEST of days!
Considerable effort has to be expended to maintain these disciplines, but it does get easier as these patterns become your norm.
Don't be fooled, it isn't easy, or EVERYONE would be doing it. Consistent work has to be done to change environments, mindsets, and people's perceptions (even our own). This is the simple fact. It doesn't matter whether you're in leadership, marketing, sales, etc., etc. …
It's been said that the champion isn't made in the ring, they are only RECOGNIZED THERE. The champion is made in the dark, cold, lonely mornings when they're doing work. Disciplined work. Repetitive work. Boring work. Lonely work. Work that the competitor is not willing to endure consistently.
The truth of the matter is, in your life, most of these disciplines we are talking about won't be things that are seen by the public. They aren't flashy or overly satisfying in themselves. However, they can create massive results
You need to see yourself much like a prize fighter being trained to be a champion. The discipline happens early, alone, and in the cold and dark. When others are in bed all comfortable and warm, you are out doing work. I'm not saying you have to re-enact a scene from the Rocky movies, but I am saying you need to embrace the grind.
Another way to look at this is through the lens of indicators ... specifically Lead versus Lag indicators.
We are always going to look for the results of our labors. These results are sometimes known as outcomes or rewards. These are referred to as LAG indicators. The results we are looking for. The outcomes we are hoping to achieve.
LEAD indicators, on the other hand, are the things we need to do consistently to achieve the lag indicators we are looking for.
In other words, to successfully achieve goals (lag indicators), it is crucial to understand which behaviors done consistently (lead indicators) will predictably deliver the results we are looking for. When we can identify those patterns of behavior, we can focus on consistently doing those things. When we do this, we can safely assume we are doing what we need to do to bring us to our desired outcome.
Changing our mindset to focus on, and get satisfaction out of, achieving lead indicators goes a LONG way towards helping us remove the pebble from our shoe. When we realize these actions will bring us to our desired outcomes, they become much more rewarding.
We all have to deal with this fact: Leadership, in every form, is challenging.
As a leader in any field, you have to become comfortable with the discipline of the grind. You have to be doing what can be seen as boring or monotonous tasks ... over and over again. That's discipline.
Is there any way to help make this easier? Thankfully, yes! When you do tasks over and over, they eventually become habits. Habits are things which do consistently, almost without thought. When you've built good habits, you no longer have to "work" to do these things. In fact, it will feel difficult, or even uncomfortable, for you NOT do the thing.
Here's a secret for you... Habits are habits. Right now, you probably have many habits which you would consider good (think brushing your teeth), and you have many habits which you wouldn't classify as good (maybe procrastinating on things which you don't enjoy, perhaps?).
YOU CAN CHOOSE WHICH HABITS YOU HAVE!! You actually can intentionally and systematically exchange the habits you don't want for habits that you wish to have. All you have to do is use a bit of discipline to overwrite the bad habit with the good one.
Here's one way to begin doing getting this done.
First: I suggest you grab a cup of coffee, a pen and paper, and some quiet space. Get alone with yourself for 30 minutes. Think about the things you do on a regular basis. Now list them. Be honest and thorough. Notate which category each of those individual things belongs in ... it's either going to be a beneficial habit or something you'd rather exchange for a more beneficial habit.
Next: Think about what you want to accomplish in different areas of your life. Name the lag indicators which you would like to see. Then think of those things you know you need to do in order to accomplish what you are wanting to accomplish. Those lead indicators need to be made into habits.
Finally: Choose which things are most beneficial for you to get started on first. Match that new activity with one you'd like to replace. And then do that.
Eventually you're going to want to replace all of the less desirable habits with lead indicators (goal focused activities), but you cannot expect to tackle them all at once. Start somewhere. Begin immediately, and commit to following through for at least 30 days in a row.
While this was a very simplistic model, it does work if you will just commit and follow through to do it.
To be effective in our chosen fields, we must continually be monitoring our time. If you do not plan your use of time, you will squander it. We must make sure we know what our goals are, and what behaviors we need to consistently perform to bring us to our intended outcomes.
My father used to say 2 things which have always stuck with me:
1) Plan your work, and then work your plan.
2) Plan how you will use your time, or someone else will happily do it for you.
You have a choice, don't let time be needlessly wasted. Move forward towards your goals in an intentionally progressive manner.
If you are a leader … Take heart, you're not the first nor will you be the last to struggle with the maintenance of daily personal disciplines. When you mess up, don't punish yourself. Take note of the circumstances that perhaps influenced your decisions, and then learn from them.
As soon as you can, jump back into the fray. Take some quiet time to reset your goals in your mind and the determination to meet them in your heart, and then GET BACK AT IT!
Blessings and Strength!
My goal is to equip you to avoid problems if at all possible ... or effectively deal with them if absolutely necessary.
It is my sincerest hope that you will JOIN ME on my mission to Liberate all those that we can.
Together We Are Liberation Nation!
"None of Us Lives For Themselves."