11/22/19 Q: Do you embrace the process or do you chase external success?

Q: Do you embrace the process or do you chase external success?

The process. Every coach talks about it, but what does it mean?  In my opinion it means, showing up and working towards a goal with diligence, patience, persistence,and  presence with no thoughts of external success outside of the happiness and well-being you’re rewarded with for doing the work.

Vernon Howard in “The Power of Your Supermind”, encourages us to, “ not be impatient with your seemingly slow progress. Do not try to run faster than you presently can. If you are studying, reflecting and trying, you are making progress whether you are aware of it or not. A traveler walking the road in the darkness of night is still going forward. Someday, some way, everything will break open”, 

This echoes Coach Ghitelman’s spiritual take on ‘The Process’ is “before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water”. What it means is, to show up every day without the need for recognition. You are successful when you show up. The outcome is not important.

However, when you do the work, when you embrace the struggle, when you focus on being worthy of praise rather than the praise itself,  then the world tends to take notice!  Winning and external success is just the ancillary benefit of improving yourself.  We may never be recognized for our work, but that’not why we do it. We do it for the confidence and the well-being that we’re rewarded with when we show up and work towards a goal.

Pop culture deceives us. Advertisements sell the idea that chasing external rewards will bring you confidence and well-being, but elite performers know the secret.  They enjoy the fact that the journey to greatness has no end. They know they will never arrive, each day they must start again, that they must wake up each morning and begin ‘The Process” of “chop wood and carry water”  That is why you hear about the best NFL football players getting right back to their training after a Super Bowl win. Yes, it’s nice to be celebrated and share their success with their friends and family,  but they know this won’t bring them happiness.  They know happiness is the process; it’s not a destination that they will ever arrive at.   The only way to experience this happiness is to show up every day and “chop wood, carry water”.  This championship mindset will allow you to naturally show up with passion, trust, gratitude, honesty, and humility day after day.

If you’re lucky enough to be recognized for your hard work, it will be due to showing up day after day.  To those watching, you will appear to be an overnight success. But high achievers know the truth it’s due to this compounded, incremental growth.

Coach Ghitelman shares this idea in the parable about the bamboo farmer. He shares that “everyone in his village thought the bamboo farmer was crazy for watering a barren plot of land for several years. but the farmer ignored the critics and continued to water his bamboo. Day after day, year after year, he worked with no visible results. The critics, those closest to him laughed at him. However, in a period of one week, his bamboo sprouted to 9o feet!”

James Arthur Rays, writes in “Harmonic Wealth”, about the growth of the bamboo tree,

“Everything has a gestation period, a time period that must pass before things will come into form. If you plant a carrot seed, it takes about seven weeks for the sprout to make its above-dirt entrance. Bamboo, which can grow up to thirteen feet in as little as one week, takes up to seven years to break through the surface of the ground. But for seven long years it looks like absolutely nothing’s happening. Now that takes some commitment.”

It takes commitment to bring our highest selves to the world. It DOESN’T happen without a LOT of diligent, patient, persistent work.  The story of bamboo growth has been told across time.  We would be wise to listen to it.  We must love the process. Whatever your peak is, set a plan to reach, and then go all in chipping away at it with the joy of knowing that you will never reach this goal!

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