The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
There are many things that are good, but only a few that are truly important, and truly great. Many times, what stops us short of greatness and our full potential is not failure or doing the wrong things. It’s giving too much time and energy to things that are merely good.
Good is answering every email in your inbox, and promptly too! (yay inbox zero). *Smh*. Good is tidying up your workspace and making everything extra super duper organized. Good is answering every phone call and every request, living at the whims of everybody’s agenda but yours. Good is accepting every social invitation, (you know you gotta nurture those relationships). Good is…well…good. Good is normal. Good is average. Good is mediocre.
Great? Great is harder. Great requires a little more time, and a whole lot of thought and experimentation. Great is uncertain. Great is what’s truly important even though it may not scream to you with the urgency of that last email with the title ‘Re: Incredibly Urgent! ‘. Great is the work that you really feel drawn to create. Great is that project you want to undertake, the book you want to write, the business you need to redesign and optimize. Great is that sweet spot of exertion, mission, creativity and impact.
Not everything is equal. It may take the same amount of time to make those edits for that client that it would take you to draw up a strategy for your business. One will reward you right now. The other will pay you dividends for months or years to come. One is good, the other is great.
Somehow we already know this but what keeps us running on the ‘good’ treadmill instead of steadily plodding along the ‘great’ trail we ought to be blazing? Lack of focus and misplaced priorities. If you are not focused, If you have not taken the time to be self aware enough to know what you want and what is truly important, you will not make it to great. You are not working at great because you want to please everyone. You are not willing to draw a line in the sand and say NO! You think you are multitasking god. You are trying to do everything, and eventually the days will slip into weeks and the months. You suck at everything because you have not committed to one thing.
You only have so much energy and time in the day. Spend the best of it on the most crucial things. Do the one thing that sets you up for more success in the coming year. Take care of the one thing that would make everything else easier.
Don’t procrastinate your great by focusing on the merely good.
There are two qualities of important great things that make procrastination so hard to resist:
- We are not clear on what it is, what it takes and how long it would take
- The great thing seems too big and insurmountable
It is much easier to take the easy wins, answer those emails, get on those other tasks. It makes us feel productive. It is easier to get stuck on just good.
To reach for great, you need a new set of tactics
- You need to block off time to sort out or get rid of the ‘good’ stuff. Get them done, outsource, etc.
- Block off time for the important. Block off time for great everyday. This is the time you shut off from the world and work only on the important thing.
- Break it down to its component parts and work on it piece by piece.
- Meditate on your great thing. Think about it all the time. Why is it important? What do its component parts look like? Flesh it out in your mind, make it tangible.
- Just start. Once you begin, you build enough momentum to make it stick and carry you to the end.