Trust The Process
“The practice is not the means to the output, the practice IS the output. The practice is all we can control.” – Seth Godin
We can’t control the outcome, the outcome is never certain. Yet we tend to always determine success purely on the outcome. And if we try and end up “failing”, well, everything was wasted. Our time, wasted, our efforts, wasted, our money, wasted, and now even our self worth is looking questionable. “If I didn’t achieve this after all this effort, what is the point of me?” This is closed minded thinking. This close mindedness and ‘outcome focused’ mindset drastically reduces our capacity to achieve any success, in anything. Well… as long as we continue to view it that way.
Schooling has influenced this, workplaces influence this, playing a sport influences this. We have been taught that if we don’t achieve the outcome, we fail, we are not worthy, we should feel shame and we should not expect any further opportunities. When we focus on the outcome alone we feel anxious and fearful, the walls close in with perceived pressure, we panic, “what if I don’t reach the outcome?” Our panic leads to mistakes. Oh shit! The mistakes lead to more fear and panic. By this stage we have likely completely forgotten the process and the practice that we know works best and we’re just swinging and hoping. What a disaster. “What will they think of me? What does this say about me? Maybe I am not as good as I thought I was? Maybe this isn’t for me?”
What many of us don’t realise is that we have it all backwards. We can’t control the outcome, because the outcome is in the future. It is at the end. We can only control now, we can only control the process. The process is all that we know and the process is all that we can do to give ourselves the best chance of success.
Now, what we also need to accept and acknowledge is that the process may or may not lead to the desired outcome. Nothing is ever certain. But once again, this is something we cannot concern ourselves with, because we don’t have control over it. What we do need to work on is understanding that our efforts are never fruitless. Action will always lead to opportunity, whether it was the desired one or not, as long as we open ourselves to it.
The hours of study and research have developed our ability to find information, solve problems and articulate ourselves effectively. The hours of craft work has finely honed our skills that can be transferable to a plethora of situations. The hours spent of the phones and in meetings has turned us into sales beasts with impeccable social abilities. The people we have met and worked alongside are now a part of our growing social and professional network.
When we lead with an opportunistic mind, our one single desired outcome becomes 10, 50, 200 potential outcomes. Your blog writing doesn’t end up becoming a book, but it becomes a popular podcast and regular magazine spot. Your plumbing certificate doesn’t end up with your own business, but it does become a role at a major commercial company that pays 3x what you were going to earn on your own and requires significantly less headaches and responsibilities. Your PT course doesn’t end up with a job at a gym, but you do develop one of the best online businesses in the country, saving you 50 hours on the gym floor a week slogging through early mornings and late nights, giving you more lifestyle flexibility than you could have ever imagined.
The scary thing about having no certainty of our outcome is that we don’t know what will come, when it will come, and what form it may take. But what you can be certain of is that taking no action, avoiding the process, forgetting to trust the process, and/or placing all your chips on one sole outcome is far more likely to end up in disappointment. 100% we should all aim high and aim for something in particular. But let’s not forget to both enjoy the journey to get there and be excited about what other potential opportunities may arise as a result of our commitment to a process.
An outcome will eventually show up, but it cannot without the continuous and consistent action of doing the process. No process, no outcome.
“If you are using outcomes that are out of your control as fuel for your work, it’s inevitable that you will burn out. Because it’s not fuel you can replenish, and it’s not fuel that burns without residue.” – Seth Godin