1+1: The danger of arbitrary goals + ruthlessly eliminating hurry
Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:
1 idea: The danger of arbitrary goals
My original personal goal for completing the manuscript of Humbler Leadership was December 31, 2021. While the timeline was ambitious, I was committed to getting it done. My wife and friends kept asking, “Why are you in such a hurry to finish the book? What’s the rush?” But I pressed on. I was motivated.
Despite the progress I was making though, something felt off. During my meeting with my coach that November, I stopped for the first time to seriously consider the questions my inner circle had been asking me. Should I really keep pressing to hit this deadline?
I realized that I could totally get the manuscript done by the end of the year, but it wouldn’t be very good. Looking back over the last few weeks, I could see where I had cut corners to finish under the wire. Instead of digging deep to understand a research article, I’d merely skimmed. Rather than revise a clunky sentence that resisted editing, I’d waived it off.
In that moment, I was struck by the absurdity of my plan. I was a frustrated writer producing a mediocre book to hit an arbitrary goal. What was I doing?
With the help of my coach, I decided to change my goal to focus on the process instead of the finish line. Instead of “Finish by the end of the year,” my goal became, “Enjoy the process of writing a good book.” Removing the time constraints and focusing on the process gave me the mental freedom to slow down and do better work. I could now take time to make those revisions or track down those extra sources. I slowed from a sprint to a run.
The manuscript took an extra three months to finish, but the result was something I was proud of. And in the process, I became a writer. Because I enjoyed it, I decided to keep writing books even if no one bought my first one. By focusing on the craft instead of the product alone, I gained a love for the work itself.
Think for a moment about your own goals and the incentives they create for you:
What are the goals that you’ve set for yourself or that your organization has set for you?
What kinds of behaviors do those goals encourage?
Are those behaviors enabling you to create the kind of impact that you ultimately want to create?
1 resource: Ruthlessly eliminating hurry
One of the most impactful books for me in the last three years has been John Mark
Comer’s The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. Comer argues that hurry is the enemy of all good things. When you’re in a hurry, you can't be joyful, or patient, or kind. In other words, if we want to become people who are more gracious and wise and peaceful, Step 1 is learning how to slow down and live like Jesus lived.
You can find the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.
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