“When the going is easy and the wind is at your back, push hard. When the going gets tough, push harder!”
Have you ever had a stretch where you felt like you were hauling a piano with you wherever you were going? Where each step was a little harder, the outcomes difficult to celebrate, and progress seemed nearly non-existent? Where taking a break, spending a day doing nothing, or running away from home almost felt like the best idea? Me, too!
Sometimes the wind is at our backs and sometimes it seems like when it is in our face, we are going uphill as well. For those who bike or run, you know — nothing is more challenging than an uphill, wind-in-your-face climb.
I am in the middle of my own steep, wind facing climb right now. Finding and maintaining momentum is very, very difficult. It is not easy. And, until I reach the top of this climb, this is my challenge. I have two choices. Stop, turn around, and go back — which is not progress, it is retreat! Or, I can keep pedaling and pushing forward!! Moving forward is progress — even though, in this case it is slow, painful progress. It is progress nonetheless.
How do I keep moving even though I feel like I am not? I remember my commitment and I remind myself that maintaining some level of momentum is always progress! In last week’s article, I shared my perspective on commitment. A commitment is not breakable, especially when something happens to challenge it. A commitment is something to honor, no matter what! I am in commitment mode.
Even though everything around me feels like a challenge, an obstacle, or a distraction to my commitment, I will honor it because that is what commitments are all about. Honoring our commitments is the first half of the successful outcome equation!
The other half of the equation to successful outcome equation is taking action, getting busy, and never losing momentum! It is one thing to make a commitment. It is another thing to take action and maintain momentum to honor it. In many respects, this is simpler than we realize. The commitment is the hard part. Taking action is much easier — provided we understand the commitment in the first place.
There are three pieces to the take action, get busy, and keep moving process:
- Know where you are going: The vision of your outcome is how you define your commitment. This is not money, houses, cars, or any other material possession. They are only objects in your dream. What you need to focus on is the outcomes in your life — what will bring you peace, joy, and inner happiness. In other words, what success, accomplishment, and progress feel like and look like emotionally. Having a clear picture of that is the journey you are on.
- Believe you will get there: Successful accomplishment is all about attitude. Your self talk, your inner drive, your belief in self will define the outcome. This is why the emotional vision is so important. When you attach your heart to your effort, your mind cannot stop you. Your heart is what drives you. Celebrate the fact that you are on your way to your vision. Celebrate your progress every day with the attitude that you are always moving forward. With that you will not lose faith. Keep your head out of the conversation and let your heart lead the celebration and you will always keep moving.
- Never stop working at it: Anything worth having is going to be work and take time and effort. Progress can be, and often is, incremental. The steps will not always be big ones, the road to progress may not always be measured in miles but in paces; yet, the journey only begins when you simply take action and only continues when you keep things moving. Once it stops — you have to get it started again. Always keeping it moving means you have never stopped working on it, believing in it, or moving it forward.
There are days, like right now, where I am in a funk. I am frustrated, challenged, struggling, and having trouble maintaining momentum. It would be really easy to stop. I have made a commitment, have come too far, and have a clear vision of my accomplishment — I am not going to lose the progress I have made simply because things have become very difficult.
Instead of stopping to regroup, to collect my thoughts, or to re-examine my action plan, I keep moving forward. I push onward with my eyes, ears, and heart wide open looking for inspiration, thoughts, energy, or guidance that will flatten out the road or alter my route in a productive way. Regardless, of what I am going through, taking action and staying in motion is the only course at this time. “Life is like cycling, you have to keep pedaling!”
Dave Cooke is currently working on a bike ride across the US — 4500 miles, 100 days – where he will be speaking to young adults on this journey about the power of making a commitment to engage in positive behaviors to influence productive outcomes. To make this journey possible he is relying on sponsors and donations. To donate.