Recently I listened to a podcast interview with Mike Erwin, co-author of the book Leader Yourself First, which I was reading at the time. The book is about the power of solitude for leaders to help them in four key areas - clarity, creativity, emotional balance and moral courage. During the interview one of the things Erwin said was, “Others can challenge you; only you can move the needle.”
What I take away from that is that you need to do the work. You need to do the hard work to lead yourself first, so you can best lead others. You need to do the introspection and the reflection. You need to do the reading, ask the questions and find the ways to connect the dots.
In an interview with Michael Gervais on his Finding Mastery podcast Annabel Anderson, 5 time World Champion in the sport of stand up paddling, and an amazing story of dedication, commitment to excellence, resilience and someone who has developed an uncanny ability to Embrace the Suck and look for the good said, “You need to fall in love with the boring. You’ve got to love doing the work because the highs are so momentary and they can be so few and far between that unless you love the boring and the mundane on a daily basis you better go find something else that you do like.”
In the book Atomic Habits author James Clear suggests that you strive to get just 1% better every day and shows how the compounded benefits of this small daily improvements are significant over time. He also says, “Forget about goals, focus on systems instead.” He goes on to explain that goals are about the results you want to achieve and systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Without solid systems and processes, and a willingness to do the work you will likely fall short of your goal.
In his book Chasing Excellence Ben Bergeron, a hugely successful Crossfit coach who has helped some of the top Crossfit athletes in the world continually improve their performance, stresses the importance of focusing on effort and process and the commitment to constantly delivering the best that you are capable of.
What is the point of all this? Well, it is January 2, 2019. A time when many people are once again starting on their journey to achieve their New Years Resolutions. The research suggests most will give up on those resolutions before the end of the month. Why? I believe it is because they are focused on the goal, not the process. They have failed to put the systems in place to help them be successful in redesigning their life. Their Why is vague, uninspiring and likely based on someone else’s agenda. And, they have not fallen in love with the boring, the mundane, the work day in and day out that will allow them to be successful.
Lasting change takes time, it takes work, it takes commitment. Lasting change requires a system and a dedication to effort and process. It also requires you to have a powerful, personal Why. Be very clear on why it is important to you (not why it is important to anyone else) to do the work, embrace the new lifestyle and create new, more desirable habits. If you have a clear, personal and powerful Why, then in the down moments, the times you feel like quitting, your Why will help get you through.
When I reflect on my life, it becomes clear to me that the things I have stuck with and been successful at I had a strong personal Why, I developed a system (some I am still tweaking and improving), I knew it was going to take a lot of work over a long time and so I embraced the effort and the process. The things I did not stick with, the things I failed to follow through on, and there have been a lot of them over the years, were missing those critical elements.
What’s Important Now? Start with your Why. Be clear on your identity, who you want to become. Develop a system. Embrace effort and process. Make a commitment to small incremental improvements every day. Celebrate the small wins on the long journey.
Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?
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