Being able to sacrifice short term goals for long term goals can be a tough lesson to learn. Many times a new manager will struggle implementing a change that will lead to an improvement tomorrow. If you believe the change will result in better performance in the future, are you willing to miss today’s target?
In manufacturing when a piece of equipment is not running optimally, you may need to add additional people or supplies to keep production running. This increases the cost of every piece manufactured. Making the decision to stop and fix the problem can be relatively easy.
On the other hand, if you are implementing an improvement and the future results are only theoretical, it is harder to make the decision to change. You need to have the courage to sacrifice the known for the untested. Preparation, study, experience, and research can help move you forward.
My experience has taught me that once a decision is reached, it is critical to implement as quickly as possible. If you have decided, today is the time to act. Tomorrow cannot be better without action today.
When I agree to something I really don’t want to do, it can remain on my list of things to do for a long time. It can make me feel unproductive. It affects my attitude about my day.
It’s funny that most of these commitments are made with myself. Repairs around my house that I need to do. Emails that I intend to write. Books that I would like to read. You get the idea.
All of these open commitments slow me down. The more I have open the less agile I am during my day.
The lesson learned for me is to not accept responsibility until I am ready to take action. Instead I keep a list of all the things I need to do, but not yet ready to start.
Then I focus my priority on three to five areas that need my attention. This system makes me more effective. I accomplish more within a shorter period of time. As I complete one item, I add another from my list.
Too simple? It is easy to manage on a daily basis. Aren’t the best systems simple?
If you feel overwhelmed with all that is on your daily agenda, maybe a similar system will help you. With this approach, I am able to stop distractions and create a sharp focus.
In a recent interview, when asked what he does in his spare time, Elon Musk said, “usually it’s work more.” Without a doubt, success is hard work. Most of us are not willing to put in the required work to reach the heights of success like Elon Musk.
Many people I coach have specific goals they want to achieve. Some are held back contained within their comfort zone. Others never test their limits because they just aren’t willing to put in the effort.
Successful people tend to be very focused and intent on achieving their goal. What we look at someone that is highly successful, we sometimes don’t see the sacrifice they have made. They may have sacrificed time, money, relationships, or hobbies.
Successful people still have those things. But along their journey they gave up something to stay focused on their goal.
We all want success, but there is a limit to how much we are ready to sacrifice. Having a limit is fine. Knowing that sacrifice is required, and our limit, shouldn’t we be able to make better decisions?
When I was 9, my older brother was responsible for shoveling snow from the driveway after a snowfall. To me, shoveling snow looked like fun. When I asked to help, of course he said yes. But after shoveling snow for only a few minutes, I didn’t want to continue. It wasn’t fun. It was work.
If you are like me, some of the goals you have set for yourself feel as difficult as shoveling snow. We discover that some of them require a lot more work then we are willing to give.
I know that to accomplish a difficult goal, I must be willing to do the work. It can’t be any simpler. To accomplish something, I need to take action.
A few weeks ago, I was shoveling the snow from my driveway. The process was the same as it was 45 years previously. It is still hard work.
The difference now is I did not give up. I continued shoveling until I had cleared the the driveway, the sidewalk, and the steps to the front door. Why? Because it needed to be done.
It has made me reflect on my goals. Am I really doing the work required?
Sometimes we just need to get started. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it is not easy. Next time you feel stuck, remember what it is like to shovel snow for a few hours. And then get to work.