When you get to a point in life where you realize you want better than what you have, you have to make a decision. The decision before you is to start doing something or to justify not doing something.
Plenty of us get to this decision point and freeze. We let fear jump in and grab onto real obstacles to create something too big to overcome. It is this combination of real challenges combined with our emotional response of fear that stops most people from working to improve their life.
But the reality of the situation is that the obstacles, the challenges can be overcome. We can find ways through difficulties. We may not have the complete roadmap right away, and we won’t ever have it, unless we start moving forward.
As you start to realize that fear isn’t real and that the obstacles and challenges can be overcome you start to feel empowered. You realize that improvement is possible. You realize you can be better.
At this point in the journey it can be easy to try and look past the process and focus solely on the intended outcome. In other words, we can start to daydream about the spoils of winning instead of the grit necessary to get there.
Instead we have to shift our focus to be on progress. We have to start to love the process and enjoy the grit. We have to start to feel as though the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.
This is difficult because many times the journey represents hard work. And hard work doesn’t seem like it should be enjoyable.
When I was younger I believed that. I believed that you have to hate the work to show how hard you are truly working. If you enjoy it then it isn’t hard work, it is play.
But I’ve since realized how naïve that perspective is. I also realized how destructive it is. It made everything harder than it needed to be. It made it impossible to enjoy the process of working hard. This made it significantly less likely that I would keep going long enough to see any real sense of accomplishment.
Over time I learned to focus on progress. We have to focus on taking real steps forward and not get too caught up in where we wish we were. If we aren’t there yet, are we at least headed in the right direction? If so, keep going and look for ways to increase the pace towards that vision. If not, make shifts in the process to make sure it is taking you in the right direction.
This allowed me to start to enjoy the hard work. I stopped feeling that I had to hate it. I realized I would spend more hours doing the hard stuff and come out feeling better than I would have if I didn’t do the hard work or if I kept the perspective that work should be miserable.
When we do this we start to appreciate the process. We see the journey as the important part, not the destination. And surprisingly the more we focus on the process and keep working the process the more likely we are to get to that destination.
There is a great quote by Amelia Earhart that sums this up brilliantly. She said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”