It is amazing how often people overlook the work involved in reaching a particular goal. I see it in business where an executive lays out a new strategy for the company but somehow doesn’t realize just how much work it will entail. Or when we decide on a personal goal and focus more on buying running shoes than running or when we brainstorm how we will spend the money from an investment instead of researching that investment.
I see that quite a bit when I work with startup businesses. They have very ambitious goals but they don’t put enough effort into understanding the work involved and how they are going to do all of the work. Somehow it seems like if they have the right product or the right approach they won’t have to work in order to be successful.
Now this doesn’t mean everyone is lazy. It just means that we all seem to have a natural tendency to avoid the hard, boring parts of our goals and focus on the accomplishment or the awards that follow success.
As bad as this is, companies have known this for years. That is why they are always trying to sell you on something that will instantly take you to success. They understand it is easier to sell when they avoid the boring work talk.
But work is what will ultimately take you to success. Therefore the key is to find easier ways to do the work, not look for ways to avoid the work.
That is why I appreciate systems and habits so much. Forming small habits and then growing them gets right into the work part. And it does so in a way that is doable. It may not be instant and it may not be without challenges but it is one of the only things that I have found that focuses on doing the work.
The other way to focus on doing the work is through motivation. Motivational books, infomercials, coaches etc. help to get our energy up in order to do the work. But the problem that I have found with motivational tactics is that it is temporary. Once the motivational message is done, the motivation slowly goes away too.
But if you work on building habits, they tend to sustain much longer than motivation. This, then, becomes a source of motivation. Because you start to see progress you start to realize that you are on the road to accomplishment. To me this is much more motivating than any book I have ever read.
The next time you look for ways to grow, improve, succeed, etc. make sure you address the work element. It doesn’t matter how motivating the rewards for success are, if you can’t keep doing the work then you won’t realize those rewards.
This helps shift the focus and allows you to fall in love with the process. It makes it less about whether or not you can achieve your goal and instead gets you moving towards your goal by doing the hard work necessary to improve.