"Many a failure has come about when he would have won had he stuck it out."
Failure to embrace process is one of the biggest time wasters. Recently, I had an experience that reminded me of this fact. I was in traffic headed to an appointment. The lane I was in did not appear to be moving.
In my attempt to find a shortcut, I noticed that the lane to my right seemed to be flowing faster. I changed lanes and suddenly I was at a standstill. I looked to my right again and saw that the next lane was now moving at a faster pace. Confident that I could make up time, I changed lanes only to find my self at a standstill once again.
My frustration reached a boiling point when I realized that the lane I started in was now moving freely. I would have arrived at my destination much faster if I stuck with my original idea. Each time I switched lanes, I was starting the process over and wasting time.
Have you ever given up on an idea because it did not seem to be progressing on your time table? This idea may have been a business, a book, or a budding relationship. In the beginning, you received plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement, confirming that you were on the right path.
Suddenly, you stopped making noticeable progress. Your efforts did not appear to match the results you were getting. You felt as if you were on a treadmill, expending a great deal of energy but not moving forward.
This "treadmill" is a normal part of the process and the place where most people give up. Just like in my traffic experience, every time you give up, you are losing precious time because the attainment of any worthwhile goal is preceded by a treadmill season. When you begin the new venture you are starting at the back of the line. Below are two strategies that will help you to embrace the process:
Planning will allow you to anticipate that there will be a treadmill season BEFORE you pursue your goal. The key is to determine up front if what you are aiming for is worth the sacrifice that will be required to make it through. If your goal is in alignment with your purpose and passions then it should be considered worthy of the required sacrifice. If the answer is NO, then let it go!
Quitting the pursuit of goals that don't line up with your purpose will save you valuable time. Every minute you spend on the wrong road, is taking time away from your true calling. You only have a limited amount of time to do what you were born to do. Planning will enable you to make the best use of this time.
Once you have determined the goal to be worthwhile, you must persist until you have achieved it. According to author Seth Godin, most runners who quit the 26-mile Boston Marathon, usually give up around the 18th mile. In spite of the fact that they have spent more energy at mile 25, very few runners give up when they are 1 mile from the finish line. This is because they can see their goal and this vision inspires them to persist through the pain.
The lesson is to always keep your finish line in front of you. If you can view it, you can do it! One way to accomplish this is to create a vision board with pictures of your objectives and placed it in a location where you are forced to look at it regularly. Being able to see your finish line will inspire you to persist through the pain of the process.
If you are in a treadmill season right now, be encouraged. You will be in better shape when you get through it than when you started. Planning and persistence will help you to embrace the process and allow you to make the best use of your time.
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner