Blog Post Cover Art two people mapping out a journey with a computer and paper, one person sipping coffee. Overlay text Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Recently, I was reminded about the importance of developing the process of growth and achievement.

As I was scrolling through social media, I came across the following quote:

Amateurs have goals, professionals have a process.

In the myth of new year new you, it’s popular for people to set goals. Rarely do they ever achieve those goals. Now, some are now actively warning you not to do it.

The failure to attain these goals, really to gain any motivation or traction for change, can be found in that nuance.

I’ve written before about how to write clear and compelling goals.

What makes all the difference in the world, is the process to make it stick.

Setting Goals

Here’s a quick recap on how to set good goals: S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

Specific – Is it clear?

Measurable – Can it be defined?

Achievable – Is it possible?

Relevant – Do I really want it?

Timely – When does it need to be done by?

Energy – What’s the feeling I gain by achieving the desired result?

Reward – How can I remind myself it all matters?

Notice the difference between these two “goals”

I will lose weight.

OR Blog Post Cover Art two people mapping out a journey with a computer and paper, one person sipping coffee. Overlay text Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

I will lose 25 pounds by March 15. This will give me extra energy and confidence for the cruise my wife and I are taking to celebrate our anniversary over spring break. When I lose those twenty-five pounds, I will reward myself with a new swimsuit for the trip.

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Develop the process.

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

To help develop the process in any goal you want to set, here are three quick questions you can ask yourself:

1.) Who do I need to become?

Goals, growth, and progress all require change. You cannot strive to attain something and remain the same. Identify who you need (and want) to become. Create the process and choices that will help you achieve the desired growth.

2.) What should I K.I.S.S.?

In this context, K.I.S.S. is an acronym for Keep, Improve, Start, Stop.

What is working well that I should keep doing? This is about amplifying the good.

What could be working better? This is about refinement.

What do I need to start? Action is key and sometimes we don’t get it right the first time. This is about continuous motion and improvement.

What should I stop? Not everything goes as anticipated. Sometimes, we just need to let it go.

3.) How will I avoid distraction?

We’re not perfect. I’m sure you’ve logged on to social media before to make a meaningful and business-related post only to be sucked in by mindless scrolling. It happens to everyone. Learning our personal triggers (being tired, hungry, bored, etc…) and building around those moments minimizes distractions and keeps us focused.

2022 is young and fresh. It is a year full of possibilities and I hope and pray the best for you. On your journey remember one thing:

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Develop the process.

Woman with head in hands looking in the mirror dejected with text overlay the story we tell ourselves. Blog post cover art.

The story we tell ourselves, our internal narrative about the way we are, determines the trajectory of our story.

Understanding the Programming

Early on in life, we all start to acquire an internal narrative, programming, about the way we are. This identity-shaping story becomes one of the largest determining factors in who we end up becoming. From an early age, we all start to experience those labels.

We’ve all been called things like:

worthless

good for nothing

late

nerdy

oddly small

too short

freakishly tall

too big

ugly.

The words may start off as meaningless but slowly, after hearing them enough, they become an accepted part of our worldview.

We all know the person who heard, “You’ll never amount to anything” growing up. Pretty soon, they would be saying, “I’ll never amount to anything.” In the blink of an eye, they had given up on their dreams, settled for less than they were worth, and didn’t amount to anything compared to their true potential.

It’s a heartbreaking reality for many of us.

The good news is that not only can that destructive cycle be broken, but what is true of negative stories is also true of positive ones.

Telling a Better Story

If we want to reach our dreams, we have to be willing to rewrite the story we tell ourselves.

The hard work of personal growth happens internally. Putting in the time, effort, and energy into filling our minds with good things.

It involves telling yourself:

I am competent Woman with head in hands looking in the mirror dejected with text overlay the story we tell ourselves. Blog post cover art.

beautiful

loved

admirable

strong

hard-working

driven

successful

capable.

The story we tell ourselves influences the person we will ultimately become.

The Story We Tell Ourselves

I was working with a client recently on this idea and explained to him the three camps we can fall into.

1.) We have a negative story and believe it.

This is like the first example. The story we heard growing up is the story we believe. We are somehow not enough, unloved, unworthy, or pitiful. 

In coaching, I see this story all the time. It’s one of the main reasons people don’t achieve the goals they start out with.

Why would a lazy, good-for-nothing, unlovable, unworthy, pitiful person try something as grandiose as starting their own business?

It probably wouldn’t work anyway.

In reality, they have everything they need and are totally capable of amazing success. The problem is not they have believed the lies.

2.) We have a positive story and believe it.

These are the fun ones. The easy ones. They already believe the right things. These people know that they are strong, competent, and capable. They are able to set goals and achieve them because they believe in their ability to accomplish hard tasks.

3.) We don’t know what to believe.

This is the place where my client found himself. The bad news was that he didn’t have a positive story about himself. However, the good news, was that he didn’t have a negative view of himself.

He was somewhere in the middle. Drifting in the open ocean with no paddle, he didn’t know which way to go. I asked him to come up with five adjectives to describe himself he knew to be true.

He couldn’t give me any.

It should be no surprise then, that goals have been hard for him. Without the confidence and clear direction of knowing what to believe, he has trouble setting and staying accountable to goals. Without knowing the truth about himself, he doesn’t know what direction to pursue.

The story we tell ourselves matters.

Get clear on what you believe, not just about the world, but about yourself.

Give yourself positive imagery to believe about yourself and put it into practice. How would you, the strong, competent, capable person you are solve this problem? Once you believe that, you’ll crush any goal in your path.


Accountability is important. Want help reaching your goals and changing the trajectory of your life? Try coaching!

Reach out to me to schedule a complimentary session today.

Building With Purpose Conference 2021

 

Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

I have spent much of my life in the garden. What I have discovered in the soil holds true in my soul: the time spent pruning, watering, and nurturing is never wasted.

Life in the Garden

As a kid growing up on the plains of central Kansas, I spent much of my time in the garden. My family grew a fair amount of our own food, and it was usually one of my daily tasks to spend a certain amount of time clearing the weeds from the produce.

Strawberries.

Rhubarb.

Tomatoes.

Carrots.

Beans

Cucumbers.

Peas

Corn.

We grew a whole variety of food. However, it wouldn’t take long in the humid days of summer to see weeds grow up right along with the crops.

So for thirty minutes every day, I’d be out there making sure only the good stuff grew.

As I got older, I started to hate it more. As a teenager, there were thousands of other places I’d rather be than in the garden doing work. Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

Now, as an adult, I wish I had more time to devote to my own garden. The thirty minutes a week are far too few.

However, my time in the garden has made me realize the many ways I want to cultivate a fruitful and bountiful personal life.

Here are three takeaways from my life in the garden.

1.) Remove the bad, harmful, and damaging weeds.

I’ve already mentioned my disdain for gardening as a child. Part of it was my allergies. They were so bad growing up, my eyes would swell shut and I found it difficult to breathe. There were many days where a family member would have to escort me around the house because I couldn’t see, my eyes crusted over with goop.

If it were like that inside the house, you can imagine how bad actually having my face near the plants.

However, in those brief moments where I could concentrate and focus on getting something accomplished on a row of cucumbers, I always took satisfaction in seeing progress.

Weeding gave two primary benefits: clear signs of work done, and better yields.

In our own lives as leaders, we see the same benefit. When we weed out the poor, distracting, bad, harmful, and damaging ‘weeds’ of our lives, we see clear progress and get better yields.

Our souls are full of many bad weeds.

Pride.

Arrogance

Destructive relationships.

Bad habits.

False mental beliefs.

Spending time in coaching, counseling, mentorship, business alliances, and other thought-provoking and challenging ideas weeds out these self-perceived limits and gives the good, nurturing fruit of leadership space to grow.

2.) Prune and nurture the good.

As you clear out the weeds, you give the good fruit space to grow. At the same time, this good stuff needs to be pruned, fed, and watered. Carefully cutting off areas of less productivity and overgrowth gives the main plant more time to thrive.

In the garden, watering and fertilizing your plants also leads to bigger yields.

For the garden of your soul, the same beneficial steps need to be taken.

Limit the amount of ‘good’ in your life to pursue the ‘great.’

Take control of your calendar to get more of the right things done (and not just more things).

Limit (and eliminate) time with people who drain you, your time, and your resources.

Spend time with people who bring your more life, vitality, abundance, and joy.

3.) Cultivate beneficial species together.

A lesson I learned early from my life in the garden is the power of beneficial and antagonistic plants. In my raised beds, I made the mistake of planting tomatoes and cabbage too close together.

While it seems like no big deal, in terms of plant production, it was a very big deal.

My main tomato plants, living next to beneficial plants, grew and thrived. I was harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers on a regular basis.

The tomatoes that were planted near the cabbage resulted in both plant species struggling. The cabbage never had more than a few leaves, and the tomatoes stopped growing after a foot and never produced fruit.

Thankfully, I was able to transplant the cabbage, and now both are thriving (well away from each other).

Plants need the right environment to survive. This includes their relationships with other plants.

In our own lives, we have the same problems. When we are too near negative thinking, small-mindedness, hypocrisy, anger, judgment, fear, and limiting beliefs, we start to adapt to the same. Just like in my garden, there is a general failure to thrive when we are in the wrong environments.

Removing that negativity from your life and exposing yourself to like-minded people and beneficial thoughts results in more of the same.

Expose yourself to positive and be positive.

What about you? How have you seen one of your hobbies benefit you in your professional life?

A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

That’s why it’s so important to slay your giants while you’re young.

Her words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Not only is she incredibly beautiful and funny, she’s also really, really smart.

I’m lucky she’s my wife.

We were talking about the importance of marked leadership growth and reflecting on the life of King David in the Bible.

Setting the Stage

I was walking her through a talk I was getting ready to give, and we were reflecting on what David’s life might have been like as he neared the end of his life.

A Forgotten boy to a ruler.

From shepherd to king.

Giant-slayer to sage. A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

Desert dweller to palace ruler.

As he neared the end of his life, he had to spend time reflecting on all that had transpired. A surprising amount is written about David in the Bible. We see his faith and folly as he is featured across the pages of Scripture.

Someone described as “a man after God’s own heart” has killed giants, led a country, been to war, stolen another man’s wife, committed murder, written songs, and experienced rebellion and treason from his own family.

Throughout it all, he remained committed to God and in trying to understand how to lead well.

And as my wife and I were discussing this, we were talking about the many ways in which his experiences of God may have changed, but the need behind them hadn’t.

That was true throughout the Israelite story.

It’s true for us as well.

Having Experiences

We all have a quest and desire to connect with God.

Unfortunately, we also want to keep having that same experience.

When the Israelites that saw God in the pillar of fire still wanted to see him like that. The problem is that as circumstances change, so do the experiences.

That’s why it’s important to slay your giants while you’re young.

David experienced God when he slew the giant Goliath. But he was never supposed to become a perpetual giant killer. Once he accomplished that mission, it was time for a new one.

Slay Your Giants While You’re Young

As leaders, we are all called to progress.

Grow.

Adapt.

Change.

Overcome.

In new ways, every day.

Far too many of us, however, take pride in slaying the same giants over and over.

Battling with addiction instead of getting help.

Hiding behind our fears and weaknesses instead of soliciting a mentor to overcome.

Engaging in the same pointless battles again and again.

I’m reminded of a story I heard once. An elderly leader was being interviewed about his life and influence. Having just passed 80 years old, he had a lot of wisdom to share with the crowd.

The interviewer asked him, “What’s one battle you regret not winning?”

Immediately, the 80-year old replied, “Porn.”

At 80, he was still trying to slay the same giant as his teenage self.

Instead of being able to be a person of wisdom to his community, he was stuck in a cycle of shame.

Don’t fall victim.

Slay your giants while you’re young.

foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

In coaching, I’m willing to do anything I can to help you reach your goals. The one thing I can’t do, however, is make you want to change. That’s why I ask all potential clients, Do you want to change?

The Origin of the Question

While walking the earth, Jesus performed lots of miracles, engaged in teaching the masses, and healed people. In one such instance, he asked the man, Do you want to get well?

It seems rather odd, that question.

Who wouldn’t want to get well?

Well, it turns out, quite a few of.

In fact, quite a few of us like being sick in one way or another.

We feel comfortable where we are stuck. In the small beliefs we hold. We see it in the minor discomforts of life, that one way or another, we are all stuck and most of us like being there.

It’s safe.

Comfortable.

It’s also killing us slowly.

Jesus asking, do you want to get better expresses the true desires of our hearts.

Do you want to let that burden go?

Are you willing release your doubt and fear?

Do you want to experience something different?

Because if you do, he offers to help. But if you like where you’re at, he’s also willing to leave you there.

In coaching, I’ve seen the same thing happen.

Do You Want To Change?

Whenever I meet with a potential client, we spend a little bit of time getting to know each other. I need them to trust me and give them space in our first session to ask anything they want about me. I’ll disclose (within reason) whatever the need to feel comfortable.

It’s also a time for me to see where they are at. It’s a chance to make sure they are willing to engage in the process with both their head and their heart.

And one question I ask everyone is, “Do you Want To Change?” foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

I can do a lot for you: provide excellent coaching, recommend books and other resources, give you extra time, and other tools at my disposal.

The one thing I can’t do for you is make you want to change.

That’s the one thing you have to bring to the relationships: you have to want to change. To get better. To experience life anew.

If you’re unwilling to do that, there’s really not a lot I can do.

But if you honestly bring that one thing to the table, everything is suddenly a possibility.

Relationships renewed and restored.

Businesses thrive.

Health improved.

Lives impacted.

All because you agreed to show up fully in the world and agreed to change.

But it all starts with the question:

Do you want to change?