Effort Versus Results

I'm all about getting results. Set the goal, keep your eye on the prize, and go after what you want with great determination and discipline.

BUT...I also know the danger of focusing so heavily on the end result. This, as Carol Dweck notes in her book, Mindset, is called a "fixed mindset," where we are so fixated on the results that we ignore the many lessons and potential growth along the way. The journey to get to the end result is often what builds character. 

So, then how do we set goals and "keep our eye on the prize," but also focus on the amazing journey to get there? There are several ways, but here are three I have found to be very effective:

1.) Praise the effort, not the result: Instead of saying "Good job" to yourself or others, say "I worked really hard to reach my goal, despite how hard it was," or "I'm really proud of the effort you put in to reaching this goal." What we say to ourselves and others has a larger impact on our psyches than we realize. When we praise the effort, we are reconditioning our minds and bodies to forge ahead, even when we don't get the results we want.  

2.) Detach from outcome: Set a manageable goal, get very clear about how it would feel to meet that goal, envision the end result, and thenlet go. This is easier said than done--believe me! But as I mentioned last month, once you practice something over and over, it becomes much easier over time. More importantly, by detaching from outcome, you'll find yourself authentically present, enjoying every EFFORT you make to reach your goal. 

3.) Celebrate failure: This might sound contradictory to #1, but hear me out. While failure is a potential result, it's how we handle it that truly defines us. Will we use it to help us grow? Or, will we let it control us and make us bitter and resentful? Will we see it as an opportunity to be even stronger in the face of future obstacles? Or, will we give up and put in as little effort as possible, so as to avoid future failure or rejection? Instead of beating ourselves up, why not celebrate failure and reward ourselves with a little grit and resolve? 

Simply put: Shine the light on your efforts a little more, and witness your inner warrior emerge.   

Posted on November 29, 2013 and filed under Effort Versus Results.