Monday, April 19, 2010

Incremental Progress

When you want something waiting is the hardest part. Especially if you do not know for sure that you will get whatever you are waiting for. So often we give up or worse yet we settle for less because that way we are guranteed to get something as opposed to nothing.

Waiting is boring. And as one of my professors used to say boredom is the worest enemy of humanity. But does waiting breed boredom or is it the other way around?
Say you want a job. You do all the things that you need to do to get you there. You prep your resume and CV, you apply for jobs, you network and.... nothing. So you dust yourself off, tweak your resume, expand your network apply for more jobs and... still nothing. What do you do next?
Apply this to anything that currently keeps you up at night (promotion, love, money) and ask yourself if you are still working hard or have you given up and pretending like you are still in the game? Worse yet, if you are tired and feeling lost, most likely boredom has kicked in which makes you much less effective at doing what you're supposed to be doing in order to get the desired outcome. And boredom is truly the ENEMY.

So if you find yourself in a rut here are some tips to keep you fresh and clear of boredom:

Patience - All good things are worth the wait (and the fight) so make sure you are doing both.
Patience implies waiting but waiting alone is not enough. If you are looking to get somewhere you will need to do the "fighting" part even when you do not see the point and regardless of how tired or discouraged your feel. Think of the obstabcles as a test of how badly you want the end result and use it as a tool to stay positive, stay on course and keep doing what you're doing.

People - Use your people. Ask for help when you need it, lean on them for support and network to always expand your personal web. It is for sure the greatest resource we all have so leverage it for all it's worth.

peaks and valleys - This is related to the the point above: people. Stay humble during your peaks and lend a hand to those in need. This will come in handy when you reach your own valleys.

performance - are you a sore loser? When you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel do you keep at it? When something is not working are you willing to listen and change your strategy? Only those who are most adaptable will succeed in the end.

Path - Seth Goding put it most beautifully:

"the ardent or insane pursuit of a particular goal is a good idea if the steps you take along the way also prep you for other outcomes, each almost as good (or better). If pushing through the Dip and bending the market to your will and shipping on time and doing important and scary work are all things you need to develop along the way, then it does not really matter so much if you don't make the goal you set out to reach."

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