May 14, 2012

Understanding Accomplishment

Accomplishment is a relentless blend of focused commitment to vision, the ability to succeed in adversity and the confidence that little steps lead to big results.

The other day I had a conversation with a person who was lamenting the fact that there a lot of people who “struggle to get the things they want in life.”  No matter how hard they try, they simply don’t achieve their goals.  And, there are others who seem to “effortlessly hit their goals and live their dreams.”

The more we talked, the more they shared their disappointment with their lack of progress in realizing the success they desired in their life.  Part of their frustration was the perceived ease with which other people go through life.  While it is true that some people are more adept at certain skills and have the ability to accomplish some things easier than others, this does not mean that they simply discovered success – they still had to work for it, struggle through failures, and maintain a focused effort.

We rarely see the challenges, struggles, frustrations and failings of those who are successful.  We only see the byproduct of that effort.  We only see and witness the outcome of their success and the momentum created by their accomplishments.

When a farmer plants his crops in the field, we see a guy driving his tractor, tilling the soil, watering his fields, etc.  It is only when he loads up his barn do we actually see the fruits of his labor.  It all looked so easy.  Anybody can plant, water, grow and harvest, right?  We all know that is not true.  There are aspects to farming that we may never see.  For example, many farmers are up before dawn.  Unless you are up at dawn you wouldn’t see that.  Sometimes crops fail.  Unless you went to the market on a regular basis, you wouldn’t know that.  There are weeds, pests, and insects that can threaten a crop.  We wouldn’t see or understand the process or the work associated with managing that.  To the ignorant eye, a farmer just tools around in his tractor waiting for his crops to be harvested.

The same is true for those who seem to ease into their successes.  There are stories, experiences, failures, and behaviors that have led to their success.  Yes, some are more talented and skilled which make succeeding seem easier.  But, that doesn’t mean it was easy.  And, you have your own unique gifts, talents, and skills that give you an edge in other areas that make things seem easier for you in the eyes of others.

When it comes to accomplishment, especially with those who are frustrated with their relative results, there are three realities:

  1. Is your goal is too “BIG”?  Everyone desires to do something amazing.  And, when many people set goals, their goals are based on incredible outcomes in unreasonable time frames.  Going “big” is a wonderful story of accomplishment when realized.  While significant outcomes are possible and achievable, all success starts with little steps, smaller accomplishments, and some sense of momentum.  Going for big is awesome – it is also a huge burden.  Building and creating momentum around smaller accomplishments builds confidence and identifies a path for a future of successes.
  2. Is your time frame is too long”? In our society we want everything now.  We want to lose weight instantly.  We want success to come quickly.  What people don’t see in those that are incredibly successful is how much time, effort, energy, and failure have been invested to facilitate their success.  I am a firm believer in creating incremental success plans in 100 Day blocks.  Focus on a single achievement in 100 Days, realize your outcome, create another, and move forward.  You will get where you desire to go provided you can maintain the focus and the commitment to get there.
  3. How clear is the vision of success and accomplishment? Finally, the goal is not the desired outcome.  It is merely a yardstick.  What drives us is a desire to feel as it relates to the accomplishment – more time, more energy, more freedom, more influence, more joy, more peace, etc.  When people get away from simple goal setting and attach a vision of what that success or accomplishment allows, they will be better equipped to work through the frustrations and challenges of time and adversity.

Accomplishment is a focused effort.  It is rarely easy.  It almost never comes instantaneously.  And, it requires a commitment to the outcome despite the perceived lack of progress.  Your successes are not defined or critiqued by how or what others do.  Your successes are defined by your vision of accomplishment, the path you traveled to get there, and the lessons learned and shared along the way.  Remember what is important to you and keep your eye on your commitment.

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.