As you’ve heard me say (and seen me write) many times, getting to black belt is typically a three-year journey, and reaching financial independence from your practice can take around 10 years.
Most of us aren’t strong at projects that run over this sort of timeframe. We haven’t built the muscles to go the distance and fulfill on long- term goals. It’s not what we evolved to do.
It’s why we say that it’s critical to do work you love with people you like the way you want. It’s just not sustainable if this isn’t a labour of love.
When we look at succeeding or failing at long term projects, many of us make the mistake of thinking that it’s about discipline. We have set out to fulfill long-term projects, failed, and then told ourselves it’s because we are weak and lack structure.
Think about the last time you set out to achieve a long-term goal (be it around your exercise, diet, relationship, career, practice, business, etc) and failed. What was your self-talk about that like?
Being highly disciplined can actually be counter-productive — it can keep us going on things that aren’t really serving us.
If it isn’t discipline that has us achieve our long-term goals, what is it? I reckon the highest leverage points are things around us, rather than what’s inside us. Specifically designing the project, creating the framework and surrounding ourselves with the right support and accountability structures.
Think about any long-term goal that you have achieved, and you will find that all these were present. You made a clear choice to go for that goal or undertake that project. You had a framework and a methodology; you knew what to do (or you learnt it along the way). You had support; there were people in your life who were on your side. And you had an accountability structure — something outside yourself.
Now think about a long-term goal that you didn’t achieve. One or more of these would have been missing. Either you hadn’t really chosen the project, you weren’t clear on the methodology (i.e. you didn’t know what to do), you didn’t have the support, or someone to be accountable.
And yet, in your mind you were probably saying it was because you weren’t good enough, you didn’t have enough discipline or you were flawed in some way. Not true!
If you are serious about getting to black belt, or to financial independence (or about any other project that matters) make sure these are all in place.