For any goal there is a process. The process involves integral steps. Some steps are motivating. Some are inspiring. Some are scary. Some are boring. And, some, you just don’t want to do. However, for the process to work, every step needs to be executed and executed well. For even the most exciting tasks, there are process killers. To become amazing, you must avoid these killers. After all, these killers can destroy your big dreams.
There are several battles that you have to fight in order to make the process work. One of the battles determining where to focus your attention. We are bombarded by so much noise. There is Facebook, texts, alerts on our phones, the media, and many other distractions. It’s really just deafening. All of these distractions prevent the process from being effective.
The key to following through on the process is being productive as opposed to being reactive. Being reactive causes a response to the noise. It takes attention away from the process and refocuses that attention on email, texts, social media posts, and anything else that seems interesting. In order to be productive, attention must remain on the process and the goal. It cannot be diverted to every little interesting distraction.
To have a successful process takes laser focus. You must be focused on the task at hand rather than react to the noise around you. People like distractions because distractions makes them feel busy, but busy is not necessarily productive. And, if people can claim they’re busy, then they have an excuse for not being as successful as possible.
Creating the laser focus that you need to make the process work requires that you prioritize. It requires that you decide where to best use your resources. Although the idea of multitasking is enticing, it is really just a myth. When you are multitasking you’re really just dividing your energy and focus between projects. Nothing is getting your full attention and you are not fully present. The key to avoiding this is to execute each task with clear and present attention.
The second battle that you have to deal with is momentary pleasure. Although momentary pleasure feels good temporarily, it is detrimental in the long run. Think about it, staying out late with your friends probably hurts the next day. Picking up the remote instead of reading a book won’t help you in your career. Staying home instead going for a walk when you need to clear your head. It’s probably the wrong choice, I’m not saying that we should deprive ourselves – I like to go have fun – and in fact I have written with more than one hangover in my life. I’m simply asking that you change twenty percent of the time that you choose the wrong path.
The third battle that we fight is wanting to feel great instead of actually executing on the process. It feels good when we post something on Facebook and we get 100 likes, but is that real progress?
There are people in your life who would love anything you do, and we know how to seek that out and get their love and admiration. There are many forms of this phenomenon, reading a book that says you can do it. All you need is belief or listening to a motivational speaker that says you can do it, including me. There’s nothing wrong with getting inspired, but that’s only one task of the process. You should look to perform and focus on the tasks that really move you forward.
Talking about success is a lot more fun and a lot less headache than actually becoming successful. Most parents know that often times that which makes the kids happy right now is not good for them in the long run. It takes a little more effort to stop them from eating the third cookie or picking up something from a fast food joint. I believe we are like kids, we want that cookie right now. We don’t want to read that book, we want to go have drinks with our friends. We want to have meetings where we talk about the rich, sexy, successful future that we envision. These meetings make you feel good but the reward short-lived.
In order to become successful and grow the process, you must change the rewards that you get. There are two kinds of rewards, rewards that make you feel good in the moment and rewards that feed into the process and it’s important to have both in proportional amounts. For example when I speak, I love accolades but those accolades are for my ego, but when I turn that into more opportunities that is the real reward. I would rather get another speaking opportunity or sell one hundred books than get a standing ovation, which is always awkward because how can a guy that can’t stand get a standing ovation?
The fourth battle is trusting the process when nothing is going your way. Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Life will punch you in the face from time to time. When this happens, the first reaction is to go back to our old routines or habits. Even though we might be unhappy with the process or the outcome, it feels familiar. We know how to react when things are crappy. When we change the process, we invite being uncomfortable and being unfamiliar with a situation. In order to grow we must be willing to be uncomfortable and be ready to be punched in the face.
The fifth battle is having the stomach to go through ebb and flow of the process. There are times when you are going to love your day and other times hate your day. If you are on a diet there are days where you are going to hate that stupid kale salad. There are days that I hate to write. There are days that I don’t like to tell my team what I need. It’s uncomfortable asking for help especially having a disability. If I want to achieve my goals, I have to go with the process as well as the ebb and flow of my emotions. I am sure that as you work towards getting to your amazing you too will have to work through your emotions while still executing your process.
The last battle we have to fight is our old life. Best selling author and good friend of mine, Joe Callaway, says what are you hanging onto that prevents you from growing. We have old habits that we need to replace. We have friends and loved ones who say that they want your to be happiness, but in reality the idea of you changing scares them. If you change, you might leave them. If you change they might lose their drinking buddy or hanging out and complaining buddy. For them this is frightening. For you this is another battle on your quest to be amazing.
Success is about designing a process that will allow you to live the life that you want. It takes design. It takes a process that is fueled by the execution of dirty stinking tasks. Some tasks are fun. Some tasks are not so fun. Some tasks you hate. Regardless of your feelings about these tasks, you must perform them. They hold the key to your goals, and the more you execute on these tasks, the closer you will get to your amazing life.