What’s More Important, to Get Started or Succeed?

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect, to think back over the year, the high’s the lows’s and all the bits in between.  I have a tendency to focus on what I haven’t achieved for the year, the things I didn’t’ do rather than the things I did do.  Then I read one of James Clear’s blogs and it made me realise something I had forgotten, so I thought I would share it with you.

Why Getting Started is More Important Than Succeeding…

In 2012, James Clear met Lindsay Davenport, for those of you who aren’t tennis fans, Lindsay Davenport played her first professional tennis match when she was 15, was ranked Number 1 female tennis player in the world 8 different times and over the course of her career earned $22 million in prize money.  He asked her:

“Lindsay, sports can teach people a lot of lessons.  What lessons did you learn during your time as a professional tennis player that you didn’t learn as an amateur?”

She started answering this question by saying how she had to grow up fast and learning how to live her life in front of a crowd.  She then went onto to talk about the lessons of competition, perseverance and hard work, which she said were learn’t long before she became a professional.  So for Davenport, she didn’t have to be a professional athlete in order to learn the most important lessons in sport.

James Clear believes this concept can transfer over into our everyday lives and I whole heartedly agree, that “you’ll learn more from the process of pursuing excellence than from the products of achieving it”.

We seem to be living in a world where comparison and validation are becoming ever more important, where ‘if you can’t be the best then what’s the point’.  The lesson we could take from this is, and I certainly will, ‘it’s more important to start than succeed’, because you will probably learn more from the process of pursuing a goal than actually achieving it.  A lot of the time, emphasis is placed on the value of achieving and the importance of the journey in pursuit of that goal is being forgotten.

It’s okay not to succeed…as long as you get started!

We aren’t told that it’s okay not to succeed very often, we jump to conclusion that if it’s not very likely we’ll achieve excellence then what’s the point of staring.  We become scared of failure, so we end up not doing what we want to do out of fear, a fear of not succeeding but it’s okay not to succeed because what you could learn through the process of striving to achieve that success offers more value than the products of achieving it.

How will you get started?

So what I’ll take from this year, are the lesson I’ve learnt from the pursuit of my goals.  Some of my goals I achieved and some I didn’t, and thats okay because what I learn’t from the process of both are equally valuable to me.

So next year I will continue to get started, to have the courage to not let fear stop me from pursuing excellence because I believe, what I’ll learn on the way will be more valuable to me than the products of achieving it.  How will you get started?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Elizabeth Donegan Cognitive Hypnotherapy