Being first doesn’t always mean you’re the fastest. In fact, I’d argue that sometimes being first means you’re the slowest.
Have you ever been on the leading edge of change? Whether that’s adopting a new process or perhaps integrating new and unfamiliar tools or software to improve your work, being the one to go first usually results in slower performance as we adopt to the newness before us. We also have the added challenge that, if we’ve gone first, there usually aren’t experts on our team that we can ask questions of. When we go first, we are the expert. Albeit the expert in in training.
I’ve often discovered that while slow-going, being first affords us a unique opportunity to shape how the change we’re embracing will be used and adopted by others. Being first also puts us in a position assist those who come behind us and offer them a smoother transition than we had.
Personally, I’d rather be involved in shaping change and guiding others who come behind rather than sitting around and waiting until the path is clearly spelled out. That’s why I like being first.
“Do or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda
I’m a firm believer in trying. By trying, we explore and discover new things, create new experiences, and live an interesting life. We often:
- Try our hand at…
- Try our best
- Give it a try
- Try something new
But sometimes we need to do more than just try. Sometimes we need to actually “do”.
Trying sometimes feels like taking a chance, rolling the dice, or making an attempt without the expectation of a definitive outcome. Doing on the other hand, has a more decisive feeling. When we say we’re going to do something, it shows intention, purpose, forethought, and the expectation of a pre-determined outcome.
Here’s what I mean. Check out how different “try” and “do” sound:
|What “try” sounds like
||What “do” sounds like
|I’ll try to get to the gym this week
||I’ll be at the gym at 5:30 every morning this week
|I’ll try to make it
||I will be there
|I’ll try to get that done today
||I’ll have that done by 3:30 this afternoon
|I’m going to try to and save for retirement
||I’m going to put X% of every paycheck into a retirement account
There are certainly times when just need to try; like trying a new type of food or listening to a new type of music. However, there are other times when the stakes are much higher or the outcome much more important. This is when we need to do better than just try and actually do.
Is there anything you’ve been trying lately that you really should be doing instead? If so, make the jump and begin doing. Determine the outcome you desire and do what’s required to make it happen. Because according to Yoda, we’ll either do it or we won’t.
With 2017 looming, many people are beginning to express their intentions for the New Year in the form of goals and resolutions. I love this time of year, because it causes us to pause and think about how we’d like to change our lives to be better in the next 12 months.
While we have no problem expressing our intentions, we often lack the commitment to take action that will move these intentions toward becoming reality. Dr. Steve Maraboli states:
“Intent reveals desire; action reveals commitment.”
I would agree. It’s easy to talk about our desires, because it doesn’t require anything from us. The more challenging step is to parlay that talk into action, which often requires a potentially uncomfortable or unfamiliar step out of our norm. Our willingness to take that step is a strong indicator of our commitment to what we say we desire.
Consider this, as you look ahead to 2017; what if the only thing standing in your way of achieving what you desire for the New Year is your willingness to take action?
Are you committed?
Two and a half months ago I started a position with a new organization as a Data Analyst. I’ve been extremely happy with the change and continue to be excited by tall the opportunity. The only thing I wish were different was that I was further along in the learning process.
I love learning new things. To gain knowledge and successfully apply it in a real life situation is exciting and causes me to be eager to go to work every day. However, two things I have to continually remind myself are that:
- Learning is a process that takes time and consistency
- I have to be ok with that
When it comes to learning, I’d always like to shorten the process and spend less time fumbling around as new concepts slowly become familiar, so that I can start contributing sooner. The reality is that I can never gain understanding or mastery of a topic if I’m not comfortable with the discomfort that comes during the learning process.
If you’re currently in the process of learning something new (which I hope you are) and perhaps you’re frustrated with process that may be slower than you’d like, be encouraged, because you’re on the right track! Just know that your commitment to the learning process will pay off in understanding, if not mastery, of the topic. And if it takes longer than you’d like, be ok with that.
It’s getting close to the time of year when people will start looking ahead to 2017, and part of that process will likely included listing goals for the upcoming year. It’s an exciting and encouraging activity that I enjoy doing; however, my thoughts about goals shifted slightly this week after listening to Jon Gordon on Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership podcast.
Goals are great because the provide direction for where we’d like to arrive in the future. Consider the following goals:
- Earn $X per year
- Lose 30 pounds
- Earn a degree
- Complete a marathon or other significant physical activity
- Buy a house
- Pay off a debt
Those are all great goals, and similar to what many people list at the beginning of each year. But here’s where my thinking has changed. I think that just a list of goals is incomplete and misses the mark, because the list alone says nothing about how these goals will be attained. What’s missing from the list is our commitment
Consider our list of goals above. It’s aspirational, for sure, but that’s about it. Now consider that same list with a corresponding list of actions we’re willing to commit to in order to bring these goals about.
Our revised list might look like the following
|Earn $X per year
||Study 1 hour per day toward the mastery of a marketable skill that would yield the salary I desire.
|Lose 30 pounds
||Stop eating sugary snacks and fast food and instead opting for healthy whole food alternatives.
|Earn a degree
||Devote 2 hours after work on week nights and 8 hours during the weekends to study and class attendance.
|Complete a marathon or other significant physical activity
||Work with a coach to develop a training and nutrition plan and adhere to it.
|Buy a house
||Save X% of my earnings to apply toward a down payment.
|Pay off a debt
||Stop using credit cards and cut out discretionary spending and instead throw that money toward eliminating debt.
Now that’s a much more compelling list! Not only is it aspirational, it has more “punch” because it describes what we’re willing to commit to in order to achieve the goal. Without commitment, we’re relegated to just hoping our goals come to pass.
As you’re considering goals for 2017, I encourage you to join me in also listing what you’ll commit to doing in order to achieve each goal. I think we’ll be amazed by what we can accomplish when we add commitment to the equation.
Last Saturday, three friends and I completed a hike that has been on my list for a couple of years.
The hike was to remote Golden Lake in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness. About a mile beyond Golden Lake was a glacial tarn at the base of Broken Top that was the ultimate destination for me. Ever since I first saw pictures of this tarn I have wanted to experience this beautiful setting for myself. So last Saturday I finally did! The beauty of this tarn was greater than I imagined. It did not disappoint!
I think it’s important to have a list of goals we’d like to accomplish, whether they’re personal, professional, financial, physical, or any other type. Life is more interesting when we have goals and take steps to make them happen. Not only does it make life fun and exciting, it makes our world, as well as us, more interesting in the process.
Do you have any goals or activities you want to accomplish? If so, take a step today that will move you closer to making it happen. And once that goal has been achieved, set your sights on your next goal and take action on making it happen as well.
Your life is calling. Will you answer?
Is there something you’re currently trying to achieve or change in your life? Maybe it’s an educational or financial goal, or perhaps you want to improve a key relationship or even your health. No matter what change you’re looking to make, it will require commitment on our part.
The way a goal achieved or a change is made is by our commitment to consistently act in ways that lead in the direction of our goal. More simply stated, our commitment to a goal is evidenced by the choices we make.
For example, are you trying to live a healthier lifestyle? Great! Your commitment to this goal will be evidenced by the choices you make regarding eating and physical activity. What kind of choices are you consistently making regarding snacks? Do you choose fresh fruits or other healthy choices, or do you find yourself regularly opting for Twinkies, Snickers bars, ice cream and soda? The former shows a level of commitment to the goal. The latter, however, presents evidence that suggests a wavering or even non-existent level of commitment.
A great question to ask, when we’re about to make a decision is, “Will this choice I’m about to make move me closer toward my goal or further away from it?” If the answer is “closer”, congratulations! You are presenting evidence of commitment to your goal.
It’s easy to simply talk about a goal, or to have unfulfilled intentions that don’t lead anywhere significant. Let’s choose to be different and present mounds of evidence, through the choices we make, that reflect a strong commitment to our goals. For it is the consistent evidence of commitment that will pave the path to achieving whatever worthy goal we’ve set for ourselves.