Do you equate achieving your vision with more hard work?
I don’t blame you.
In our work-focused culture, there’s often this idea that if you just work harder you’ll get to where you want to go. We think the harder we work, the better results we’ll get.
But this often isn’t the case.
Today, I want to flip this belief on its head and talk about a different way to approach getting results.
I want to talk about how you can achieve your Vision while using LESS energy.
The danger of more, more, more
Before we get into some of the strategies, let’s explore a common mindset so many of us adopt when it comes to achieving our goals.
Do you ever feel like you’re always focusing on the ‘next thing’?
As a society, we’re often told to climb the ladder. We hit a goal, and then we barely even give ourselves a chance to celebrate before we’re on to the next.
So many leaders I’ve talked to left their careers to start businesses, in part because they wanted to ‘stop climbing the corporate ladder’. However, they then get into entrepreneurship and begin running their businesses the exact same way.
They wanted to start businesses to create their own path and have more freedom, but then they pushed themselves so hard, going for milestone after milestone, without even pausing to think about where they were going.
We do this not only in our careers, but in all aspects of our lives.
In relationships, that could mean rushing to get married and have the classic 2-child household – even if you’re not really sure if that’s what you want.
In your health, it could mean trying to eat “perfectly” or meditate every single day so you can be the MOST relaxed.
We are always striving.
We are always searching for more, better, faster.
We might even compare our achievements to those around us.
The more you look outside yourself, the more you begin to get pulled in so many different directions.
Pretty soon we’re trying to “get to the top” in all of these areas of our lives…
It starts to feel like it’s never enough.
We hit that goal and realize it doesn’t even give us the fulfillment we’ve been seeking.
Instead of stopping, pausing, reflecting, and celebrating, we simply reach higher and higher.
So, what is the solution to all of this? What is the answer?
It hit me the other day in a very unexpected way.
I had an ‘aha moment’ about how we can achieve our Vision without getting exhausted by the more, more, more phenomenon. A group of people showed me how we can create the future we want while intentionally preserving our energy along the way.
That group of people?
What rock climbers can teach us about Vision
A while back, my husband and I joined a rock climbing gym (if you’re wondering, yes, that was part of my Vision!).
The gym has a whole bunch of different routes for varying levels of difficulty.
As I went up on the first wall, I was incredibly determined. Determined to make it to the top.
I was trying to grab onto any hold I could get my hands onto. I was flailing, grunting and tiring myself out fast. I hardly made it a third of the way up.
Once I got back down to the bottom, I began to look around and see how the advanced climbers were doing it.
You would think that the expert climbers would just constantly be climbing, right?
But it’s actually the opposite.
A ton of the work is actually done before they get onto the wall. They sit down at the bottom of the wall, analyzing where they’ll go. They strategize their placements. They contemplate their route.
And then, even when they do get on the wall, they’re not constantly moving. They’re carefully considering their next move.
They move quietly and with intention
Essentially, the exact opposite of myself who tried to scramble noisily up the wall with no strategy in sight.
So I went up to the lady at the front desk, who was quite the climber herself, and I asked her:
I’m having a lot of fun…but what am I missing? What are they doing that I’m not?
And she said, in the nicest way possible, “Yeah, what you’re doing is fun – but it’s kind of sloppy.”
She went on to tell me that if I truly wanted to work on my technique, I’d need to learn how to become patient and purposeful.
They take frequent breaks
The next thing I noticed was how often you’d see these climbers taking breaks.
They regrouped and recalibrated before making their next move.
They conserve their energy
Expert climbers are PROS at conserving their energy. They only use as much energy as they need to rather than trying to get to the top by brute force.
They say no to a lot of things. They stay away from holds that won’t serve them. They KNOW the most efficient way for their body to move.
Lesson #1 – YOU get to define your version of success.
We’re conditioned by society with all sorts of messages about “getting to the top”. But the key is defining success for YOURSELF.
You get to decide what your definition of success looks like at a specific point in your future.
As I was watching these amazing rock climbers, it became so clear that success for them wasn’t just about getting to the top. It was progression.
But what if your goal IS to grow super fast? I often work with Visionaries who say their goal IS to get to the top. They haven’t just been pressured by society, they don’t want it just because it’s the default…that’s genuinely their goal.
And to that, I say, fantastic! But how can we get you to the top in a way that feels intentional and proactive?
I remember working with one Visionary who had a growing healthcare business.
Around the time he had his first child, his business was growing like wildfire. And while he loved all of the growth, he wasn’t around much for his kid. Specifically, he started missing out on bathtime.
When he came to me, this time during the birth of his second child, he told me that he wanted to continue the rapid growth of his company, BUT he wanted to spend more time raising his child. He wanted bathtime back!
We altered his Vision to include more family time in his definition of success, and together we made it happen.
He could never get those memories back with his first child, but he made sure that for the second time around, he would NOT be missing out on bathtime. And he didn’t!
So again, decide what success looks like to you, and then be proactive and intentional along the way to make it happen.
Lesson #2 – Pausing is powerful.
Watching the expert rock climbers made me realize just HOW necessary breaks are.
Breaks allow us to recharge our battery.
So many of us feel like we have to keep going, going, going.
There’s a fear that someone will hurtle past you if you take a step back while they keep moving forward.
I worked with one Visionary who was always super busy. She spent days trying to get through the 8 million things she piled onto her to-do list.
It turns out that she was doing something I actually like to call “productive procrastination”.
She was getting caught up in all of the busy work rather than truly strategizing about where her business was going. She also held a deep-seated belief that she couldn’t stop. She was constantly on the move.
Together, we worked on getting her to a place where she was able to step back, take a break and allow her mind to decompress and recover. Because often, that’s when we get our best hits of inspiration. It’s when we pause that we come up with new and creative solutions for the challenges in our lives.
Taking a break doesn’t always mean taking a two-week vacation.
It could simply mean taking a break from all the busy work, from all the minutia and the struggle over the to-do list.
When we’re able to pause and step back, we can reexamine our definition of success and the most effective path to get there.
Skilled rock climbers show us that we don’t need to know every step along our route. But we do need to slow down long enough to figure out our next steps of action.
My client decided to pause, recenter herself, and take a break from all the busy work. She majorly cut down on her crazy to-do list.
And what she realized during this pause was that a lot of the work she was doing was completely unnecessary.
She discovered that about seven out of her ten meetings a week were not helping her get to where she wanted to go. They weren’t helping her get to HER version of success. She was just going to them simply because she felt like she should.
We can use our Vision as a filter. It helps us to know where we’re going, and quickly assess what’s an opportunity and what’s a distraction disguised as an opportunity.
When you start saying ‘no’ to those distractions, you’ll see just how much time and energy you reclaim.
Lesson #3 – Don’t forget to celebrate.
The last lesson I want to mention is that when we mark those moments of getting to a new vantage point, we have the freedom to think about what our NEXT definition of success looks like.
Most people would think that the goals themselves are the toughest things to achieve. But what I find my clients struggle with more is actually coming up with celebrations for when they hit those milestones!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard:
“Why should I celebrate? It’s my job, I should be doing it anyway.”
Have you ever had this mindset?
If so, listen up.
We SO often don’t give ourselves the credit necessary for taking these huge leaps. We also don’t give ourselves credit for continuing to maintain what’s working for us.
We need to make sure we’re celebrating ourselves, both in times of growth and maintenance.
Celebrating yourself doesn’t necessarily mean throwing some crazy party.
It’s about taking the time to step back and acknowledge how far you’ve come. To reflect on all the challenges you’ve had to overcome along the way. To truly mark your milestones.
When leaders don’t do this, they wake up one day and we think, “It all feels like a blur. Where did the time even go?!”
When we intentionally celebrate, we can clearly see all of the progress we’re making and we see how much it adds up, even after a shorter period of time.
I’ve had Visionaries who tell me that their idea of a celebration is sitting by the fire with their favorite drink in hand and just having time to themselves.
During that decompression time, they get a moment to soak up and synthesize everything they’ve gained by hitting that particular milestone.
And not to use TOO many metaphors on you, but it’s a little bit like the Savasana pose in yoga, which literally means corpse pose. It’s lying down on your back, and while you’d think that would be the easiest pose in the world, it can actually be the toughest because so many of us struggle to stay still.
Oftentimes, yoga teachers say that it’s only by going into stillness at the end of the class that you experience the real benefit of your practice.
- Take the time to intentionally think about what success means to us
- Move with patience and purpose, taking the time to pause so we can strategize before our next move
- And truly CELEBRATE all of our successes to give us that incredible vantage point of where we want to go next
We have an incredible opportunity to move closer to our Vision in a way that actually gives us energy rather than draining it.
Did this resonate with you? I’d love to hear in the comments.
And if you want further support with clarifying your own definition of success and how you can achieve it in the most sustainable way possible, I’d love to chat.