As we discussed in the previous article, the bobsled athlete achieves his explosive start and mind boggling speed down the track not with one massive push but trough a series of steps—each one building on the other. The sledder goes from straining to create movement off the blocks to sprinting to build momentum down the track; from brute beast to cool, calm and calculated as he navigates each corner. Success in life is the same way. It is a process. It is not linear. It has its twist and turns. Some days will start out fine and end up disastrously while others will be the exact opposite. Maybe you had a bad quarter or even a bad year but that is what you must go through in order to achieve your goals. Whether you have financial goals, career goals, goals for your business, relationship goals, educational goals, health or fitness goals—wherever your interests or desires lie— You MUST go through the process.
It is through the process that you change and grow into the person you wish to become. It is unique for every person and goal that is pursued but it allows for your skills to be perfected, honed and mastered. It is however, not instant. There is no such thing as an overnight success and you must guard against getting weary of the process.
In sports, athletes along with their coaches and trainers go through a consistent process of weight training, running or some other form of sport specific activity. The successful professional, salesperson or student follows their own unique processes in order to achieve their goals. They all understand the need to continue to work hard, keep focused and allow time for things to develop. It’s all part of the process!
The Japanese call it Kaizen- the incremental but continuous improvement in all areas of your life. When applied to the workplace, Kaizen activities continually improve all aspects of the business. Whether it is bobsledding, playing golf, being a parent or spouse, the same principle apply—you must go through a continuous process in order to improve performance.
As someone once said, “Success, to me, is what happens when you strive to be better every day. The second you stop, you’re no longer successful.”
Ultimately, our goal in life should not be just to succeed—to simply arrive. It should be to succeed continuously; to continue to grow and improve. To be the best you can be—the best in your career, industry or sport. The best friend, child, sibling, parent and spouse you can be. To reiterate, Keep On Pushing and hence, success is not a final destination—-it is progressive. It has expectations that you will move from one stage to the next, one level to the next. You’re never perfect. Your work to become a better version of yourself is never quite done.
This requires a willingness to constantly push you out of your comfort zone. The challenge for many, including major conglomerates is that they will achieve significant success and suddenly become victims of the destination disease—the belief that they have arrived and there is no more work to be done. Since success is a continuous process and your work is never done, the minute you lose the tension between where you are and where you have the potential to be, you stop improving, you become stagnant. This principle is true across the board. Just look at all the tremendously successful careers, relationships and companies who after reaching their zenith, succumbed to the destination disease and plummeted to the trash heap of “has beens”.
I think Denis Whitely said it best,”Success is a process that continues, not a status that you reach. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.”