Coasting Won’t Get Us There

Success is a peak experience. Nobody just drifts up a mountain

Behind every person who makes a success of something, you’ll find a long, rugged trail of effort and persistence. Somehow the world knows. It can tell who’s paid their dues and who’s just coasted along, putting in the time but not the blood, sweat and grit.

Of course, we sometimes see an exception, a person who rides in on a connection, a coat-tail or a coincidence. But if they didn’t really earn it, their flash across the sky is brief and soon forgotten. Call them what you wish, one-hit-wonders, one-movie duds, or one-sale-burnouts, they don’t know what they did, so it’s a non-repeatable thing.

The true achievers, however, havelearned the basics of their trade or their craft. They endlessly review and drill and practice until it’s as natural as breathing. Then they go after even greater skill. They don’t just start out hungry, they stay hungry, constantly fanning the flame of their own passion for doing what they do.

Many folks, when they see this level of commitment, are intimidated and they shy away. “Aw man, there’s no way I could measure up to what she did.”

Or maybe it’s, “That makes me exhausted just hearing it.”

Well, here’s a little secret. So-called “high achievement” is sure to be intimidating when we look at the wrong side of the equation. If the only thing we focus on is the work involved – the price we’d have to pay – then of course it feels overwhelming.

But what happens when we turn our attention to the other side of the balance sheet? Like, when we focus on the results, the wins, the benefits, the love of stretching ourselves to try and do something as well as anybody in the world could do it.

High achievers do what they do for the sheer satisfaction. There may well be other factors, too, but that’s the biggie. They’re constantly stretching themselves to do more and do it better.

Average achievers, meanwhile, don’t stretch much, even though they may be convinced they do.

Not sure which group you fall into? Answer this: how’s your performance compared with others in your work group, team, or competitors. I’m not talking about the pay you receive. And I don’t mean how hard you’re “trying.” I mean actual numbers. What’s your productivity? How much more skilled are you than anybody else in your office? How often do you run to your boss, co-worker, or subordinate for help getting your work done, rather than bearing down and figuring it out for yourself?

If you’re middle-of-the pack or below, you’re just coasting. If you’re low man in your work cohort, you may not even be coasting.

But if you’d really like to change that, here are a couple of simple things to do (maybe not easy, but simple).

Get your attention off how much effort you’re going to have to “pay” and on to how it’s going to feel moving up through the pack and becoming one of the best. Focus on the pay-off rather then the pay-out.

Stop believing your own excuses. Sure, you need to spend time with family, but six-eight hours a day? Of course you need a car and clothes and a home. And you deserve some time off, the occasional vacation to unwind. But c’mon … might you be overdoing it on some of those things?

And if you’re not quite sure what you need to work on, go find some help. Just a word of advice, though. Don’t try this at home. Nor with friends or co-workers. Find someone without a vested interest in your place in the pecking order. Shopping around and hiring a good coach can be a very smart move.

Get this right, and the coasting will just fade away in your rear-view mirror. Not to mention changing your life.

Cheers from sunny Japan,
Charles


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Success is a peak experience. Nobody just drifts up a mountain

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