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Trust the Process: Part I

“Most people fail not because of a lack of desire but because of a lack of commitment.”

-Vince Lombardi

Can you believe it? February has arrived, and with it a whole host of midwinter delights — Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day (chocolate!), the Oscars (competitive ballot-populating!), President’s Day (three day weekend!). And, of course, Super Bowl LIII. Maybe you tuned in to see the commercials, maybe you tuned in to see Adam Levine, maybe you even tuned in to see the actual sportsball contest itself.

Whatever your reason for watching, you surely shared this thought with the rest of the viewing public when Tom Brady took the field: that guy became one of the winningest athletes in history by taking just one lesson on how to throw a football. Good for him!

What’s that? Nobody was thinking that? Why not?? Oh, right. Because it’s completely, absolutely, unquestionably false.

Love him or hate him, we all know that Tom Brady has achieved his enviable level of success only through thousands of hours of consistent effort and the assistance of numerous coaches (and Gisele Bündchen, obviously). And he’s not alone — Olympians train for years. Karate Kid had to paint that fence. And Beyonce did not, in fact, wake up like that. No matter the goal, there’s a process involved in reaching it.

Say, for example, you want to become a concert pianist. You’re going to need piano lessons — lots and lots of piano lessons. And each lesson is going to build upon what you learned in the previous one. First you’ll learn to locate the all-important Middle C, then you’ll move on to playing scales, then chords, then chord progressions and eventually on to playing something that sounds like actual music. Every step is crucial - mastery of one is required before taking on the next. Skipping even one lesson will make reaching your goal nearly impossible.

You may already know that your success depends on committing to some particular process. Yet, like many of us, you still find yourself struggling against that process more than trusting it. Sometimes we just want what we want when we want it. Sometimes parts of the process don’t feel like they’re even remotely related to our end goal. When you pictured yourself tickling the ivories on stage at Carnegie Hall, your vision probably didn’t include the hours/days/weeks of banging out boring scales that would precede it. And sometimes we just think we know better than those who have gone before us (spoiler alert: most of the time, we don’t). Patience and passion don’t always go hand-in-hand.

But struggling against the process, or trying to skip steps, just ends up costing us time and energy — resources that we need to propel us across that finish line. By focusing our efforts on committing and embracing each step along the way, we recognize the value in each lesson and carry it forward so we can ultimately reach our full potential. Whatever we set out to accomplish, we give ourselves the best chance of succeeding when we accept the building/learning/training process and allow it to work for us.

Ready to channel your inner Tom Brady? Start here:

1. Choose a target. Pick a goal, any goal! But challenge yourself to take on something that will require you to learn and grow. Think more Carnegie Hall, less binge-watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones before the final season starts.

2. Come up with a game plan. And commit to it! This is a good time to enlist the help of a coach/mentor/pseudo-Gisele to help you see the bigger picture and chart the right course to your next step, and to your ultimate goal. They can offer you valuable expertise, encouragement, and an added layer of accountability.

3. Trust but verify. Trusting the process is not the same as blindly following the plan you made on Day 1. Check in along the way to make sure you’re still on track and adjust when it makes sense to do so. Take more time when necessary to ensure you’ve mastered one step before moving on to the next.

MVPs know that being prepared is an essential part of winning — stay tuned for my follow-up piece on what to expect as you lean in to trusting your process.

PS - I’d love to be on your team! Click here to book a 1-hour coaching strategy session (first time clients only).

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