Came across this after a recent conversation about commitment & followthrough. It sums everything up quite nicely.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Logan Marshall of The Free Life Project.
The deafening roar of the crowd grew steadily louder as I erupted from the woods in third place, two runners fast on my heels. My heart pounded in my ears as I tore up the hill, my legs heavy from exertion. Rounding the crest, my coach shouted above the roar, “400 meters left! GO NOW!”
As the pace started to increase for one final sprint to the finish, old mental patterns set in. I began to fade, giving my competitors a five meter lead.
The colorful flags of the finish line waved in the distance as I gritted my teeth against the pain. Then something amazing happened.
Running on the edge of collapse, giving every last drop of energy I had, I blasted through the shoot and crumpled to the ground in a muddy trembling heap.
Laying in the damp grass, my chest rising and falling erratically in an effort to catch my breath, sweat soaking through my jersey, I smiled…for I knew there was nothing more I could have done.
When I think of the happiest moments in my life, the moments I am most proud of, that high school cross country meet immediately surfaces. Not because it was my fastest race, not because I won, but because I didn’t hold anything back.
The Decision to Live All Out
I’ve always been driven. In high school, I would wake up at 5:30am to run miles through the predawn streets–anything to get an upper-hand on my competition.
However, come graduation and the culmination my competitive running career, this unstoppable motivation seemed to fade.
While I spent countless hours “working” on my online businesses, my efforts were weak and unfocused. I logged countless hours at my computer, but what did I have to show for it? I told myself I wanted to succeed, but my actions didn’t reflect this belief.
Then one day I had an epiphany.
Walking across campus after another painfully ineffective work day, my head spun with frustration and thoughts of self pity. I had slipped into the fog of defeat I’d been lost in for weeks, cursing myself for my lack of self discipline.
Suddenly I stopped.
In an eerie flashback, the same questions that surfaced at the end of my championship race materialized on the screen on my mind:
“Why are you holding back? What is stopping you from living the life you’ve imagined for yourself? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you decided to whole-heartedly commit yourself to achieving your goals?”
Standing in the middle of the quad, I felt that the fog had lifted and left in it’s place an intense clarity.
I suddenly realized that the pain of half-heartedness was far greater than my fear of failure. In that moment, I made the incredibly liberating decision to release the breaks I had been unconsciously pressing for months and commit to pure unshackled effort.
I decided to go for it.
Are You Interested Or Committed?
Too many people stroll passively through life, intrigued by a whole slew of possibilities but not committed to making any of them a reality.
What’s the difference between interest and commitment?
Interest reads a blog post; commitment applies that post day after day.
Interest works an hour a day on your business; commitment works whenever time permits.
Interest procrastinates; commitment focuses on what’s important.
Interest makes excuses; commitment constantly acquires new skills and solutions.
If you’re struggling with this issue, ask yourself the same questions I asked myself:
Why are you holding back? What is stopping you from living the life you’ve imagined for yourself?
If you want it bad enough, if you’re committed, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
If the thought of slaving away in a cubicle for the rest of your life is a powerful enough motivator for you to work your ass of in order to escape it, I invite you to join me… and go for it.
You Know Enough
The biggest complaint I hear is this: “I would take action and get started, but I just don’t know enough yet. I’m just not ready yet.”
To this I have two responses:
1. There is always more to learn.
The amount of information on the internet is equivalent to a stack of books stretching from Earth to Pluto 10 times! If you keep waiting until you finish that book, podcast or video course, if you keep waiting until you are ready, you will never be ready.
2. You learn far more from experience than consumption.
I learned more during my first product launch (1 week) than I did during the prior 6 months of ravenous information consumption. Concepts are introduced via information; skills are honed through action.
Now, I’m not saying you should blindly act for the sake of action, not at all. In fact, if you want to be successful, learning MUST be a continual process. After all, it’s hard to create value if you don’t know what you’re talking about.
The key is to distinguish between the kind of compulsive, ineffective learning that so many new marketers struggle with and learning for the sole purpose of taking action.
So don’t wait to get started. Start now and correct your course as you go along.
You know enough.
How To Go All Out:
4 Steps to Unshackled Commitment
Are you ready to go all out? Are you ready to throw off the bowlines and fully commit yourself to achieving a life of freedom and adventure?
If so, here’s how:
1. GET YOUR MINDSET RIGHT
Success in any aspect of life starts with your mindset. Faulty beliefs and assumptions are like powerful headwinds halting your progress and blowing you off course.
In order to truly “go all out” and make unprecedented progress, you must make the decision at a core level to hold nothing back. You must take a good look at your life and decide that nothing is going to stand in your way of success.
Back in high school I made the decision that no one was going to beat me to the finish line. I made a commitment at a fundamental level that I was going to do anything it took to achieve my goal.
This kind of raw, unrestrained dedication is extremely powerful. Trust me.
2. REFINE YOUR GOALS
It’s hard to commit yourself to something if your finish line is just a nebulous point off in the distance. So before you do anything, get ruthlessly clear about what your ultimate outcome looks like. Nail down exactly what you want, how you are going to get there and on what sort of timeline you plan to reach your destination.
For me, I want to have the freedom to pay my way through college, go to Alaska next summer and help build a school for 100 orphans in India.
This is what motivates me to continuously give my all. Your goals will undoubtedly be different, and that’s fine.
The key is to sculpt a vision that is so freaking awesome you are willing to do anything to achieve it.
3. FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT
While the right mindset will give you the motivation you need to bring your A Game, if you focus on unimportant activities you still aren’t going to get anywhere!
“Going for it” doesn’t mean quadrupling your work load. Work for the sake of work is not the goal.
The goal is to live and work on your own terms.
This is especially significant if you already have a busy life full of responsibilities. In order to achieve freedom and escape the trap of selling your time for money, you must be ruthlessly selective about what you work on and what you ignore.
What should you work on? It all depends upon what stage you are on right now.
But if I could work on just one aspect of my business, creating invaluable content would be it. No question. Hands down.
In fact, I’ve restructured my days so that creating value is the vast majority of what I do. Inspired by Pareto’s 80/20 principle, I now spend 70-80% of my time creating content “systems” and only 20-30% networking and promoting my business.
4. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Unfortunately, personal drive usually isn’t enough. It may be enough to get you started, but after a week or two the “new years resolution effect” begins to set in and your initial enthusiasm slowly begins to fade.
In order to stay committed, you need a way of holding yourself accountable.
How? Here are my top three ways:
Use the Weekly Daily Goals system to keep track of your most important tasks. At the beginning of each week, write down your top goals for the next 7 days. Before you go to bed each night, write down 2-3 key tasks that, if accomplished, will leave you satisfied with your day. Once you complete your goals for the day, stop guilt free.
Tell others what you are doing. At the very least, tell your family about the goals you’re trying to reach. Even if their reactions are less than supportive, getting your ambitions out in the open will help you stay committed.
Join a community. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are rooting for (and expecting) your success can be extremely powerful. It can provide you with the confidence and motivation you need to take your business to a whole new level.
If you’ve been putting off anything in your life, I invite you to ask yourself why. What are you waiting for?
If you’ve been waiting for the stars to align in your favor, if you’ve been waiting for that perfect moment to arrive… I’ve got some news for you:
It will never come.
There will always be a new problem standing in your way. Something you need to do before you can fully commit yourself. As William James once proclaimed, “To change ones life – start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.”
Life is short.