I’m excited that this post is coming out before the New Year because we all know what’s going to happen as the year turns over? Resolutions… Declarations that serious changes are going to made… Goals are going to be established… Targets are going to get aimed at… People are going to get down about the goals that they didn’t achieve this past year and others will commit to not having any goals at all because they don’t want to deal with the disappointment of failure… We are fickle creatures…
One day we are with it and the next day we are not. What is ‘it’? It’s the stuff that you would like to have happen in the future: weight loss, debt repayment, savings, a new home or car, a better job, marriage, a business, a successful business etc. Here’s the understanding that I believe we have to master in relation to our desires: There is the required process that leads to what we want in our future and, there is how we feel (emotion) about engaging that process in the present moment. The two will often not be in agreement. Especially in the beginning when we are adjusting habits (ie overcoming life inertia). Failure is a part of the game but the question is, are you willing to keep failing until you get it?
Now, I have to be careful here because I am quick to tell people, “I don’t care about how you feel, get up and execute!” The truth is, I do care about how you feel. It hurts to see people lack confidence because their life has been stuck in the same place for years. I hate seeing people quit on goals because loss after loss has sapped them of all willingness to try. People, I get it. I’ve been through it in every part of my life. I have learned to embrace failure and cherish difficulty. There are things that come out of a driven individual during these times that wouldn’t otherwise surface. The key word there is ‘driven’. In the Fall ‘17 quarter of Mental Toughness Monday’s at UW Tacoma, I was challenging people to think hard about their ‘why’ for getting up everyday and engaging the processes that lead to the things that they want out of life. In the video linked above I’m reminding those in attendance that you have to practice your motive. You have to regularly remind yourself of why you started. Why? Our emotions can easily cause us to deviate when we lose sight of why we began in the first place. Our behavior becomes inconsistent and the results we were looking for begin to feel impossible to achieve. “Business is easy, but human beings are complicated.” Is your motive deep enough to keep you moving forward when life hits you hard and difficult emotions come? Be advised, when things get boring and mundane in the process of chasing a goal, I believe that’s still life ‘hitting hard’.
Life is bigger than any single one of us. Life hits harder than any single one of us. You have to be driven by something bigger than yourself if you want to push past the heavy weight blows that life is going to deliver. I know you want to find a job that pays you more so you can go on a nice vacation but for a lot of you, that job is going to be tough to get to. It may involve going back to school (Of course we aren’t going to take out loans for that. We’ll pay as we go). Maybe taking a paycut in a new industry that has a greater financial upside long term. Maybe moving. Maybe starting your own business (again, upside, but you are going to take a paycut initially). Those things are challenging enough in and of themselves but what about when life happens in the midst of those things. I’ll say it again and again… A sudden death of a family member doesn’t care that you’re going back to school and it’s an inconvenient time. Marital problems that center around finances don’t care that you want to take a paycut and your spouse is already pissed at the fact that your family can’t ever go on vacation.
The critical tasks are to do the fundamentals of life well and have a deep intrinsic motive that will aid you in engaging the fight that’s in front of you. Strong motive. Strong Commitment. “I just want to be able to go on a nice vacation.” People, if that’s all you wanted when you began that uphill climb to a better financial situation, then when life punches you in the face, you are going to lay down and stay down, unless you find something deeper and bigger to push you towards that goal. Something that goes beyond yourself. Who are you doing this for? Who’s going to benefit from you being in a better place financially? What problems would you be able to solve in your neighborhood or city? Our motives include our own personal well being for sure, but it has to go beyond that if we’re going to stick out the process and overcome our fickle human emotions.
Emotions go up and down, but our behavior has to remain consistent for long periods of time if we are going to see big shifts in life. Colorado River focus, leads to Grand Canyon outcomes. I want to see you win and, in order to win, you can’t be dominated by your emotions. I’ve learned that when we pursue a vision for our future, catalyzed by a strong motive, over time our emotions start to come into agreement with the process. Our present day emotions start to chase what we want in our future.
Here are a couple of questions to meditate on this month: Do I regularly display the ability to overcome my emotions in the moment in favor of the future that I want? Is my day-to-day, moment-to-moment behavior, consistent with the future that I want for myself (physically, financially, relationally, vocationally etc.)?
I love you! God Bless You! Have a Merry Christmas and I’ll see you in the New Year!