maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Effort and Process

You don’t control outcomes. You do have control over effort and process. When you put in the effort and focus on the process you give yourself the greatest chance of having a desirable outcome. 

This is a lesson I have learned from years of work, failure, learning, asking, reading and listening. It is one of the areas I focused on with all the athletes I have worked with over the years as a mental preparation coach. It is what I teach law enforcement professionals, trainers and leaders.

Too often we get over focused on the outcome, which is most often outside our control. I have read a lot of books, talked to people from a variety of fields and listened to interviews with some of the top coaches in the world. The theme that comes up repeatedly is, “Focus on effort and process, not outcomes.”

The effort and process must be purposeful and deliberate. The effort and process needs to be focused on continual improvement. 

It does not mean that we completely ignore the outcome. Regardless of the outcome we need to conduct an After Action Review to determine what went well, what we learned from the experience, what do we need to do to adjust the effort going forward, are there areas of the process that need to be amended, enhanced, eliminated or improved. 

Last night I started reading the book Chasing Excellence: A Story about Building the World’s Fittest Athletes by Ben Bergeron. Bergeron has coached Champions in the Crossfit Games in both the men’s and women’s divisions. There some very good documentaries on the Crossfit Games and Crossfit athletes on Netflix. When you watch them you realize why they call the winners of the Crossfit Games “The Fittest Man and Woman on Earth”. 

In the introduction for the Chasing Excellence Katrin Davidsdotter talks about effort and process:

“Ben never expects me, or any other athlete, to do more than we are capable of, but he always expects us to give everything we have. That’s what got me hooked in the beginning. It was the challenge to constantly deliver the best I was capable of, every single time.”

“The process is something that Ben puts a lot of emphasis on, and he pays more attention to the effort I put in than how much I lifted or how fast I went. It was during the first year of training with him that I fell in love with the process.”

“Though I moved halfway around the world with the goal of making it back to the Crossfit Games, Ben and I never actually talked about the Games. We didn’t talk about about qualifying, we didn’t talk about finishing in the top ten, and we certainly didn’t talk about about winning. What we did talk about was giving full effort in every single moment of every single day, and becoming the best we possibly could be.”

Katrin started working with Ben after she failed to qualify for the 2014 Crossfit Games. She went on to win the 2015 and 2016 Crossfit Games. 

When you hear players who played for the famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden they say he never talked about winning. He was all about effort and process. As a result they won 10 National Championships in 12 years. 

Bob Bowman, who was Michael Phelps coach from the early years through all the Olympics games and medals, talks about their relentless focus on effort and process. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Olympic Games. 

Nick Saban is currently the head football coach at Alabama. He has lead teams to 6 national championships and is considered by many to be the best college football coach in the history of US college football. He has a relentless focus on effort and process. 

What’s Important Now? Focus on what you control. Focus on effort and process. 

Take care.

Brian Willis



Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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