“When you learn to stop stopping you will achieve virtually any goal you ever set.”
Dusan Djukich, Straight Line Leadership
The path to accomplishing a goal is rarely a straight one.
It's perfectly normal to go ‘off course’, because how can you anticipate everything that can happen in future before it has happened?
Sometimes the obstacles are not of our own making. Lockdown (and the impending second lockdown for many of us) is a prime example of this.
No one had this written into their plans, and it's probably true to say that most existing business plans look like works of fiction right now.
There are also times where the obstacles are self-created, yet we don't always realise this.
The miracle of time and attention
A client of mine is running a non-profit organisation, and like many such organisations the lifeblood is the money raised through donations.
Money was short and it was very hand to mouth. There was a lot of stressful thinking around the situation.
So, we talked about what was going on and it occurred to me that something vital was missing around fundraising.
It is one of those immutable laws of success:
If you want to build a better business, give it time and attention.
If you want to improve your health and fitness, give it time and attention.
If you want to make more money, give it time and attention.
So, why is it that we can have a goal and yet sabotage our results by not doing the obvious?
I asked my client why the most important activity for his organisation was being pushed way down the queue of things to be done?
He said: “I do not like asking for money.”
It felt uncomfortable for him and he had a story about why he didn't like asking for money.
In our own way, we all do this. We get lost in a story about why we cannot do, be or have something.
Dr Martin Seligman is known as the founder of Positive Psychology and he coined the phrase 'learned helplessness'.
This is when a person comes to believe they are unable to change a situation (even when they can), so they do not even try.
While speaking with my client a thought came into my mind and I asked my client if I could share it.
I said: "You're like an athlete who wants to compete at the Olympics, but doesn't want to do any training!"
He thought about this for a moment and then we both burst out laughing. This is what we do when we see the absurdity of the stuff we make up in our thinking.
You transcend it. It no longer controls you and your limitations fall away.
So what happened?
He got out his electronic schedule and put in an hour a day, every single working day for the rest of the year devoted to fundraising.
This may or may not be enough, and there is also the question of making sure the time is well leveraged.
But when you give your time and attention to something, it grows. Just like a garden does when you tend it well. If you don't tend to it, the weeds easily take hold.