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Do You Want to be an Overnight Success?

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""There are no quick wins in business - it takes years to become an overnight success."               ~ Sir Richard Branson

When we’re trying to implement a personal or professional change, we will often establish goals for ourselves. Goals are outcomes we aim to achieve in the future and, according to the prevailing wisdom, achieving success is all about the goals you set.


In reality, what drives real, sustainable change is not about the outcome itself. For example, if you have a bad back from many years of sitting at a desk (writing blogs about goals, for example), you could decide to set yourself a goal to resolve your back problems. You could then set out to achieve this by:

 – Booking an appointment at a local chiropractor, where they will happily twist you in all kinds of unnatural ways for $150; or,

 – Setting aside 10 minutes every day to do some yoga, redesign your desk environment to ensure it promotes good posture, and ask Siri to give you a nudge every hour to stand up and walk about a bit.

Both approaches will probably achieve your desired outcome. The first might even do it during your first session, and you’ll skip out feeling taller and pain free. The second however will almost certainly take much longer, and in the early stages it will be challenging, painful, and require sustained commitment and accountability to yourself every day.


The difference is in what happens next. With option 1 you’ll almost certainly be back where you started once you stop going to your sessions. With option 2, assuming you continue your routine, you will see the benefits indefinitely, and many more besides.


Sustainable change requires ownership and accountability, to both the outcome and the process to achieve it. If you’re deferring ownership of the process to someone else, as in option 1, it might work for a while, but as soon as your goals diverge (for example, when you stop paying them), you’re back where you started. With option 2 you’re owning both the outcome and the steps to achieve it. You’re owning the process.

This week’s inquiry…

Where are your outcomes focused on achieving the quick win vs building consistency over time?

Dive Deeper…

Simon Sinek, as he usually does, captures the topic ever so eloquently in his talk on Intensity v. Consistency from RSA in London.

“Great culture, no matter where we are, no matter how big the organization, is not about intensity, it’s about consistency.”

The book, “Atomic Habits:  Tiny Habits, Remarkable Results” by James Clear reveals practical strategies that will teach you how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

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