Lesson 3 – Focus on the process, not the results. Because even when you follow the process, the results aren’t guaranteed.
The world is filled with stories of stuff that didn’t work. Failed inventions. Business ideas that a person poured their heart and soul into, only to see that the market didn’t support it. Sometimes, we even use those stories as a reason not to try.
I loved Seth Godin’s book, What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn). It very eloquently describes the exact phenomenon I experienced as part of the process. There is no guaranteed, tried-and-true method to create a #1 song, a bestseller, or a viral sensation. But wanting these results often changes our approach. We try what worked for someone or something else and hope it will apply to us. And it’s disappointing when that doesn’t work.
But the value is in the process itself. To quote David Whyte, “Good work, done well for the right reasons and with an end in mind” is the reward. Not the positive or negative reviews from others.
It’s about putting your best into the end product authentically, regardless of how it’s received by anyone else.
An awesome friend and fellow writer helped me keep my eye on the process every single time I got distracted by fear of possible results. Sidebar: if you love football (and who doesn’t really?!?!), check out his books on the NFL draft and free agency.
So what sorts of fears were distracting me? Fears like: What if everyone hates it? They might. What if no one buys a copy? Definitely a possibility. What if I spell a word wrong and get a bunch of negative reviews and angry emails? Some people do get upset with poor grammar.
All of those things I listed are possibilities. There are lots of others too, like selling a million copies or becoming a New York Times bestseller (funny how we don’t worry about those positive results like we do the negative!). Either way, I don’t control the results. So I can’t let it change what I’m doing or how I’m doing it or why I’m doing it!
Easy to say… much harder to let go of the results when we’re in the thick of things at work. Sometimes we need the results in order to earn a bonus or reward. Sometimes we need the results to keep our jobs. It can become high stakes, high stress really quickly.
The interesting thing is that when we keep our focus on doing good work for the right reasons, the results often follow.
#PositiveAction What results or fears do you need to let go of so you can focus your attention on the process of doing good work?