Practice Isn’t Perfect

Photo by Carlos Esteves on Unsplash

This week I started reading Zig Ziglar’s Over the Top.

I bought the book 8 years ago. I had good intentions. I was going to read it before the end of 2013.

I didn’t.

For the first time in my adult life, I have written goals. And not just for one round. I’m in my second round of goals now. And it’s not because I didn’t know better. I just thought I could wing it. I believed I could read all the self-help in the world, store it in my brain, and access it whenever I needed to.

That’s a start, but it won’t carry you far.

It was only when I started setting goals that I truly began to understand their power.

Try has gotten a bad reputation

Tell your parents or your friends you’re trying to do something. Maybe you want to quit smoking, lose weight, or learn to meditate. It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re trying.

Then when you fail, you can always say, “Well, I tried.”

The truth is you can’t do anything without trying. Trying isn’t giving up. Trying is movement. Trying is fed by persistence. So long as you have the will, you’ll keep trying.

You make trying more powerful by adding direction. What do you hope to achieve? Who do you want to become? It may take a while to get there, so you’ll have to try until you succeed.

Trying isn’t bad unless you frame it as an easy out.

If the word “try” puts a bad taste in your mouth, use the word “persist” instead. Persistence is like driving with an always full tank. It’s not full because you’re not using any energy. You’re just committed to refilling before you run on fumes.

Persistence combined with improvement will move you with a power that is almost impossible to stop.

Growth isn’t linear

Growth is only linear because it moves from left to right.

The journey can look like a row of mountains that are all different sizes and have the most jagged peaks you’ve ever seen.

Growth is movement. It needs a destination on the right side of the graph for persistence to survive. You don’t go on vacation to a spot on the road where you get tired of driving. You go to a particular beach, amusement park, or mountain range.

Dale Carnegie said growth comes in spurts. One day you might go a mile. The next you’ll move an inch. You never know what a day may bring. All you can do is commit to move.

Lest you think the small steps don’t matter, you still have to take them all to get where you’re going.

Movement is a win. Don’t trust your feelings on this. Celebrate any step forward. If you find yourself stepping backward, stop. Take a moment and check your compass. Find your true north and adjust your steps in that direction.

Even grieving is movement

Life is messy. 2020 is overwhelming proof of that. People have gotten sick. Some have died. Others have lost their jobs;.

And we’ve all lost a bit of our freedom.

You can’t gather in groups. And when you do meet someone, you have to keep your distance. You have to wear a mask everywhere you go. And you have to wonder whether the other person is going to make you sick.

Life as we know it has been disrupted in just about every way imaginable.

Still, life goes on.

Even grief is movement. While losing a job, a friend, or a family member can hurt worse than a thousand needles in your eye, facing that pain is the only road to healing.

If you’re hurting, please don’t walk that road alone. There are still people who care and want to walk with you. Hire a professional if you need to. Just move, one step at a time.

I can’t promise the road will be short or easy.

I can promise that if you’ll do what’s hard now, life will be easier later.

Set a goal. Pick a destination. Commit to move. When you do, you can make a mess into a masterpiece.

Writer. Teacher. Bestselling Author. Shy Kid turned Fear Fighter. I write about communication, business, and personal growth.

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